A couple of years ago I drove past the Kissimmee Auction Company in Spartanburg, SC and spotted several old pull graders parked in front so I went inside the office and asked permission to have a look and take some pictures. This old Oliver OC-46 Loader was parked among the Adams and Cat pull graders serving as a kind of lawn ornament. It’s still sitting there today looking like it could really use a restoration. There’s no for sale sign on it but Kissimmee is in the business of selling heavy equipment so the right offer might motivate the seller.
The Oliver Corporation produced the OC-4 series crawler tractors from 1957 to 1965. The OC-4 was the agricultural model while the OC-46 variant was designed and built as a compact loader for construction and industrial applications. The OC-4 was offered in four track widths 31 inches for tight work areas, 46 “ and 60” and 68” for farm, swampland and snow work where maximum floatation was crucial. The shipping weight was around 5,000 pounds. The OC-46 came with 46” treads as standard and due to the extra weight of the loader equipment shipped from the factory at around 7850 pounds.
Both versions were offered with a 130 cubic inch 3 cylinder Hercules engine in either gasoline or diesel option. Cylinder bore measured 3 ½” with a stroke of 4 ½”. A six volt electrical system was standard on the gasoline version while 12 volts were used on the diesel models. Fuel economy was touted in the sales brochure, “ runs all day on one tankful.”
Both versions were shipped to Nebraska in 1958 and were evaluated in test number 655 and 656. Maximum drawbar horsepower was recorded as 23.14 and 25.34 hp. On the belt. Gasoline and diesel results were about the same. The standard transmission provided four forward speeds from 1.5 to 5.2 miles per hour.
The OC-46 was designed by Oliver as a loader tractor with special attention to mounting the loader that was built by Ware Machine Works to Oliver’s specifications. Ware had a close relationships with Oliver for a number of years and is still in business today. The Oliver brochure claimed that the position of the loader resulted in perfect balance and stability and reduced counterweight requirements by hundreds of pounds. Oliver claimed a breakout capacity of 6000 pounds.
With an overall length of twelve feet and relatively light weight ( compared to a full size dozer ) the OC-46 filled an important market niche. Judging by the popularity of the Bobcat style mini loader / dozer you see at nearly every construction site today, the OC-46 might have been slightly ahead of it’s time.
Most of the information used in this post came from an Oliver sales brochure for the OC-4 crawler and OC-46 loader that dates to the early 60’s. You can view this brochure and other interesting documents at www.cletrac.org .
Tractordata.com has posted a downloadable file with the report for Nebraska Test number 656 conducted in June 1958.