By Nigel Matthews
When Porsche introduced the Cayenne SUV in 2002, a number of Porsche purists and even automotive journalists felt that the company was making a big mistake entering the luxury high-street SUV market.
If they had done their homework, they would have known that this was not Porsche’s first four-wheeler capable of tackling muddy fields. Dr. Ferdinand Porsche built three prototype-tractors in 1934.
The success of these well-built and typically Porsche “over-engineered” machines led to the production of a range of tractors fitted with one- to-four-cylinder engines.
The one-cylinder model was called the Junior, the two-cylinder the Standard, the three-cylinder the Super and the four-cylinder the Master.
There was a model suited to every farmer’s needs. Porsche partnered with the tractor manufacturer Allgaier Brothers; they built 35,000 Porsche tractors until Mannesmann (now owned by Vodafone in a $185 billion US takeover in 2000) took control of building the Porsche tractor in 1956. Mannesmann continued production until 1963 at which time a total of 125,000 units had been built.
Approximately 1,000 made their way to North America. One beautifully restored, 1959 one-cylinder, 82-cc. Junior, producing 14 h.p, was offered for sale at RM Auctions annual Monterey event. The estimated sale price was $16,000 to $20,000 US. The hammer fell at $28,600 and included the 10-per-cent buyer’s premium.
The new owner has a magnificent example in a condition better than the day it came off the production line. The air-cooled diesel engines were cooled by a fan-duct system that was driven by the crankshaft-driven generator.
If you have ever worked on a type one Beetle or a Porsche 356, this will sound very familiar.
Comedian Jerry Seinfeld is a huge Porsche collector and attended the 59th annual Pebble Beach Concours, bringing two Porsche racing cars; he achieved a second-in-class win with his 1970 Porsche 908/03 race car. The (slightly slower) one-cylinder Porsche model 108 Junior would make a nice addition to his or any other serious Porsche collection.