This article explains the origin and performance merits of the conventional farm tractor design, which has endured largely unchanged since the 1940’s. The article covers two main themes: first the historical context and external pressures that directed the farm tractor’s design evolution; and then an analysis on why the tractor’s proportions and force applications points are conducive to good performance. The conventional tractor’s weight distribution, wheel proportions, farming implement attachment, and frame construction are discussed.

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