Monday, December 14, 2015

Allis-Chalmers Model L 15-25

They call him "Big Charley". Don't ask me why, only his owner can say for sure. I never have understood how you determine the gender of an inanimate object. Why not "Big Charleen"? Oh well, in this vile era of "celebrity" transformers you can be whatever you want, tractors too.

Allis-Chalmers introduced an all new 3 plow tractor in 1921 that they designated as the Model L 12-20 powered by a 4 cylinder Midwest truck and tractor engine that was state of the art for an automotive engine of it's day. Following test number 82 at Nebraska in September of that year A-C rerated the tractor as the L 15-25. At 1,100 rpm the 280 cubic inch vertical four produced 21.42 hp at the drawbar and 33.18 on the belt. Two forward speeds of 2.3 mph and 3.1 mph and 3.1 mph in reverse were provided.

Slow sales at the time due mainly to a glut of tractors competing for a limited market has made the L tractors highly collectible items today. During the entire production run from 1921 to 1927 only 1705 were produced. Those designated 12 - 20 may be the rarest of all. Beginning at sn. 20001 in 1921 by sn. 20134 the rating had been changed to 15 - 25. In 1924 an orchard and a road maintenance version were added to the line. These models also command a premium today. The L model was discontinued in 1927 at sn. 21705. Charley at sn. 21208 is one of only 374 produced in 1925.


Illustrated Buyers Guide Allis-Chalmers Tractors and Crawlers by Terry Dean

The Allis-Chalmers Story by C.H. Wendel

Encyclopedia of American Farm Tractors by C.H. Wendel

And special thanks to Roger Weinhold for bringing Charley to the WNC Fall Harvest Days 29th Antique Engine & Tractor Show. For info. about the 2016 show visit:

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