The History of the Ford FW-60

Updated April 17, 2017

The Steiger Tractor Company of Fargo, North Dakota, produced the FW-60 tractor for the Ford Motor Company's tractor division from 1977 to 1982. The FW-60, which was a larger version of the FW-40, marked Ford's entry into the big tractor market. The FW-60 was part of a family of four big four-wheel-drive Steiger machines wielding between 210 and 335 horsepower. Steiger manufactured the tractors for Ford in response to the increasing need for high-horsepower tractors.


Ford had been producing tractors for seven decades, but it did not have the manufacturing capacity to produce the 30,000-pound, four-wheel-drive rigs. The market share of high-horsepower large tractors leapt from 1 per cent in 1970 to 18 per cent in 1976. Ford anticipated the market share to reach 35 per cent in 1985. Determined to remain competitive and a leader in the tractor industry, Ford outsourced its big tractor production to Steiger. The company developed the FW-60, with "FW" denoting four-wheel drive. In July 1977, 60 Ford dealerships received the FW-60.


Steiger began offering large tractors to farmers in 1957, with early versions powered by Detroit Diesel engines developing up to 238 horsepower. Few tractor manufacturers produced large tractors in the 1950s. A downturn in the economy in the early 1980s pushed Steiger into bankruptcy in 1986. Tenneco, owner Case-International tractors, purchased Steiger in 1986 and continued production through 1990. Steiger based the FW-60 on its PT tractor equipped with a Cummins V8 diesel engine. Its four-wheel-drive series featured the 210-horsepower FW-20, the 265-horsepower FW-30 and the 295-horsepower FW-40. The FW-60 developed 335 horsepower. Cubic-inch displacement of the FW Series engines ranged from 555 to 903. FW-40 production stopped in 1980. Although production for the FW-60 ended in the United States in 1982, Ford brought it back in 1984 for the United Kingdom market, until 1986. Ford also exported the FW-60 to Australia and South Africa.


The North American version of the FW-60 had unique features not found on standard large tractors. The 41-square-foot cab featured tinted glass, front and rear windshield wipers, rollover protection, air conditioning, a telescopic steering wheel, AM/FM/8-track audio system, swivel seats, toolbox and a self-cleaning air filter. Ford had the UK version of the FW-60 restyled similar to Steiger's Panther IV tractor. The UK's FW-60 lost the quad headlamps found on the North American version and instead featured two square headlamps. It also came with a different grille.

FW-60 Specs

A liquid-cooled turbocharged eight-cylinder Cummins diesel engine powered the FW-60. It displaced 903 cubic inches and had a 5.5-inch bore and 4.75-inch stroke. A 10-speed transmission with two reverse gears or a 20-speed version with four reverse gears transmitted the power to the wheels. The tractor had an operating weight of 14107kg. and a 132.5-inch wheelbase. Its adjustable front and rear tread width was 80 to 139.4 inches. The FW-60 equipped with the 20-speed transmission had a drawbar power of 270 horsepower and a drawbar pull capacity of 13292kg. Its rear lift capacity was 5.44kg.

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About the Author

Rob Wagner is a journalist with over 35 years experience reporting and editing for newspapers and magazines. His experience ranges from legal affairs reporting to covering the Middle East. He served stints as a newspaper and magazine editor in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Wagner attended California State University, Los Angeles, and has a degree in journalism.