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DCP by FG 1:64 Versatile Big Roy Model 1080 Tractor (Restoration Version)

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MSRP: $129.95
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DCP by FG 1:64 Versatile Big Roy Model 1080 Tractor (Restoration Version)

DCP by FG 1:64 Versatile Big Roy Model 1080 Tractor (Restoration Version)
MSRP: $129.95
(You save $5.00 )

Versatile Big Roy Model 1080 Tractor - Restoration Version

* DCP by First Gear

The Versatile Model 1080 was designed and built in 1977. There is some suggestion that the design was aimed at the Australian market as Australia possesses many large farms with all acreage in one block. A very large tractor in Australia would pose fewer problems than it would in North America where large farms have their land base in a number of scattered blocks. This means farm machinery must move on roads. Large tractors and their associated machinery pose significant problems in road transport.

There is also suggestion that tractor manufacturers were engaged in a battle for bragging rights for the largest and most powerful tractor. In 1977, Steiger Tractor was experimenting with their Panther Twin ST650 of 650 horsepower and Big Bud was bringing out the Big Bud 747 tractor with 760 horsepower. Versatile’s Model 1080 was their entry in this competition.

But whatever the reason behind the Model 1080, the President and General Manager of Versatile, Roy Robinson, decided Versatile needed a high horsepower tractor and issued orders that the Model 1080 was to be designed and built. What emerged from the designers drafting table was a four axle horsepower tractor powered by a Cummins KTA-1150 diesel engine that generated 600 horsepower. The four axles mounted a total of eight 30.5 X 32 tires. The 1080 design reversed conventional four wheel drive tractor design as the engine is located at the rear of the tractor. A modern, spacious cab is located ahead of the engine compartment with a 550 gallon fuel tank located ahead of the cab. The cab is accessed from either side through sliding doors and ladders that slide into the body of the tractor when not in use. Vision to the rear of the tractor from the cab is very limited as the engine compartment was quite tall. To allow vision to the rear, a closed circuit TV system was installed with a dustproof 120 degree camera pointing down at the drawbar and a 9-inch TV monitor installed in the dash where the operator could easily view the TV. In 1977 this was definitely cutting edge technology!

The tractor possesses a six-speed manual transmission which provides speeds between 3.7 mph to 13.2 mph. Twelve 60-watt lights provide illumination for night field operations. Engine cooling is provided by two radiators of 85 quart capacity with two mechanically driven fans of 28″ diameters drawing air through the radiators. The tractor is over 30 feet long, 11 feet high and weighs over 30 tonnes when ballasted for field operations.

The tractor articulates between the second and third axle. The articulation joint, as well as allowing movement from side to side which was necessary for steering, also allows for vertical movement of 10 degree plus or minus. This movement is necessary to allow the tires to remain in contact with the ground as the tractor moved over uneven ground. The tractor will steer 40 degrees to one side or the other.

The four-axle design, however innovative, was the tractor’s downfall. While the four-axle design allows enough rubber on the ground to use the engine horsepower while allowing the tractor to remain fairly narrow, the result was all four tires on either side run in the same track and cause severe soil compaction problems within this track. Versatile’s Model 1150 which appeared after the Model 1080 and featured 475 horsepower, reverted to the standard four-wheel drive tractor design. The 1150 either uses very wide tires installed as duals on all axles, or mounts triple tires on all axles. Todays four-wheel drive tractors are approaching 600 horsepower and either use triple tires “all the way around’ or use the newly emerged rubber track design.

A closer inspection of the tractor shows that it was still very much a work in progress. Accessing the underside of the tractor reveals that many design alterations were made during the tractor’s life, as the frame work bears many weld marks where pieces were cut out and later welded back in. While the camera allows for some vision to the rear, this vision is still limited. As well, vision to the front is not great as the design of the cab floor, the hood and fenders result in the operator not being able to see the ground within 20 feet of the tractor’s front end.

The Model 1080 never entered production, and the tractor at the Museum remains the single example produced. The tractor was donated to the Museum in the 1980s along with other pieces from Versatile.

Where did the nickname “Big Roy” come from? Roy Robinson the President and General Manager of Versatile instructed the engineers to design and build the Model 1080. Mr. Robertson stood 6 foot, 4 inches and was a larger than life character with a standard attire of cowboy boots and Stetson hat. It was a natural therefore, to name the Model 1080 “Big Roy”.

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