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Half a Century of Yanmar’s Iconic Red Tractor Journey Back Through Time

Updated: Jul 3



Half a Century of Yanmar’s Iconic Red Tractor Journey Back Through Time



Not so long time ago Yanmar Museum in Japan boasted a special exhibit showcasing the history of Yanmar’s iconic red tractors from the very first model released through to the latest YT Series. Enjoy this journey with us.  The exhibition featured tractor catalogs from over the years and hosted captivating gallery talks from Yanmar retirees and the museum director. From nostalgic sentiment shown by users of previous models through to awe and excitement expressed by first-time viewers and children, the exhibit provided a range of experiences for visitors over the summer. 


Through a collection of photographs, you will take a journey back over more than half a century of Yanmar tractor advancements and technology developments. While the late 1920s saw shifts away from manual labor to using horses in farming, it was from the late 1940s that the mechanization of tilling took off and the power tiller became a mainstay product on our farms. Later on, the late 1960s saw an increased demand to reduce manual labor, leading to the ride-on tractor. The 2020 Yanmar tractors you always can find here


The Dawning of a New Era in Efficient Farming: From Power Tillers to Tractors. The progression in ag equipment over the years has been about making work easier for farmers.


1963 YM12A

The Yanmar ride-on tractor is released just 2 years after launching the first power tiller. The YM12A/13A models are powered by horizontal water-cooled diesel engines.




1968 YM273

Equipped with a vertical water-cooled diesel engine, the YM273 becomes the new standard for tractor design.




Meeting Demand for Power: The Advent of the Four Wheel Drive

While Japanese tractors were mainly rear-wheel drive, this soon changed with the release of the 4WD in the late 1960s. Offering added power and unparalleled tractive force in paddy fields, the 4WD soon became the new standard and even today remains the popular choice in farming.


1974 YM1500D

As the first 4WD tractor in the industry to employ a bevel gear drive system, the YM1500D meets demands for tractive performance and maneuverability in rice farming.




1976 YM3000

The 3 cylinder engine equipped YM3000 answers market demands for reduced noise and vibration.




1976 YM2210

The YM2210 is equipped with a powershift transmission delivering seamless gear shifts and enhanced operability out on the fields. Combining Yanmar’s strengths to become a world first in innovative technology, the YM2210 also marks the era for the red tractor with a well-known actor, Akira Kobayashi, appearing in its commercials.




Yanmar “UFO” for Tractors Makes Headways in Leveling Uneven Fields


The late 1970s marked the development of the Yanmar “UFO” which, despite the name, refers to an automated land-leveling device. The device uses sensors to detect the machine tilt, automatically adjusting the rotary tiller. Even today this device is a standard in the industry for leveling uneven fields.


1982 YM4220

The first of Yanmar’s tractors to feature power steering. It reduces the effort required for 4WD front loader operations. This product boasts several new developments, namely the rotary tiller which automatically adjusts tilling depths for enhanced tilling precision, alongside the UFO for automatically adjusting implement tilt.




1986 FX42

The FX42 is the world’s first tractor to feature the quick hitch system, allowing users to quickly replace PTO implements and the drive shaft with one move. These days almost all tractors over 30 HP are equipped with a quick hitch. The FX42 is an industry first to feature a rotary tiller where its position and rear cover can be adjusted manually. This product puts Yanmar in the lead with a design that enables covers to remain in a fixed position despite changing tilling depths.




1987 FX435

The FX435 features the new High Grip Turn feature; providing front-wheel acceleration that is near twice the speed of the rear wheels when turning corners for better maneuverability in the fields. Many hours were spent to ensure that the field didn’t get damaged when turning and to find the optimal steering angle when the speed is first increased. This data is still used as a building block for tractors made today.




Riding in Comfort & Style: From the Roof to the Cabin

In the late 1970s to early 1980s the roof covered tractor was all there was. However, with an increase in tractor size and features, cabins that offered comfort, music players and air-conditioning were in demand. It was at this time that Yanmar commenced the development and production of cabins.


1989 F535

The F535 is the first tractor to feature an electronic governor, instead of a mechanical governor. With enhancements for better engine torque at low speeds, the F535 drastically improves tractor performance. This control feature marked the beginning of the EcoTra Series.




1995 CT95

Equipped with rubber crawlers and a steering wheel, CT95 offers everything a crawler tractor should. The TNE engine delivers noise and vibration reductions and meets emission regulations.




The Resource and Fuel Efficient EcoTra Delivers Improved Environmental Performance


The turn of the millennium was the beginning of tractors that focused on delivering improved environmental performance. In addition to engine performance, demands for environment performance were driving the development of resource and fuel-efficient engines. This shift saw the advent of the EcoTra Series. With Yanmar’s computer-controlled fuel injection, Yanmar delivered more efficient combustion and cleaner emissions.


1996 US46R

Yanmar leads the industry with the development of the US46R, equipped with an Eco Diesel and high-speed rotary tillers. Compared to its predecessors the US46R offers 30-40% more efficiency and uses 30-50% less fuel to till the same size of land. The highly popular commercial also sparked enthusiasm from younger generations for how fast it was.




1996 AF330R

Following on from the US46R which was designed for paddy fields, in the 30 HP range, Yanmar’s AF330R EcoTra is developed for all other types of fields, delivering enhanced versatility for tilling. Being able to till fields up to 40% faster, the AF330R is more productive and uses 10-30% less fuel to till the same area of land. With the versatile AF330R, tines can be facing inward, outward, or a combination of both. It also allows the operator to create ridges, and fertilizing and tillage can be done at the same time.




1998 AF660

Yanmar develops the large and powerful AF660, featuring a fuel-efficient, direct injection, TNV Eco Diesel engine, a multiple plate clutch, proportioning valves, and a luxurious cabin, that offers noise and vibration reduction and automatic air-conditioning. The proportioning valves and angular rate sensors offer precise hydraulics and the Nicety Echo Tra UFO delivers horizontal control.




Delivering Comfort and Answering Diverse Needs

As we entered the new millennium, just like the rise in popularity of automatic transmissions in cars, hydro-mechanical transmissions (HMT) were installed in tractors. Comfortable cabins that deliver low noise and vibration were also at the forefront of tractor design. Just like the Delta Crawler which offered drivability in wet paddy fields and minimized crop and soil damage, tractors that were designed at the time met a wider range of needs.


2006 EG782

The EG700 Series is announced as Japan’s first electronic controlled HMT equipped tractor. Thanks to Yanmar's innovation, with the EG782 farmers, can seamlessly shift across the full range of gears without shift shock.




2009 EG441

The EG441 features the industry's first, integrated-hydro-mechanical transmission (I-HMT). In addition to boasting superb operability and high transmission efficiency, the I-HMT also reduces loss. Delivering improved fuel economy, the EG441 combines the best of Yanmar transmission innovations. Furthermore, with a new frame designed to absorb engine vibration and noise, this product stands out as an industry leader for quiet and smooth operations.




2011 EG105

Yanmar’s first half-track tractor. The EG105 offers a strong driving force to deliver superb slip resistance in mud and on slanted fields, in addition to minimizing ground pressure. With the added e-Control function to enable automated control of engine speed and travel speed, the EG105 takes effortless operation to the next level.




Advanced Farming with the YT Series

Combining state of the art technology with design. Yanmar well-known YT Series, as seen here on Y Media, arrives on the market; heralding the new face of agriculture with freedom in control, optimized performance, and luxurious comfort.


2015 YT 490

Unveiled in 2013, this concept tractor is heralded as the beginning of a new era and the new face of farming. And only two years on, the YT Series goes to full-scale production. Based on Yanmar’s corporate colors, the new Premium Red body and sleek design of the YT Series is a bold statement marking a new direction for Yanmar and for farming.

It features further advancements in continuously variable transmission technology with the I-HMT, delivers optimized performance and farming efficiency. Furthermore, the ergonomically designed cabin provides users with wider peripheral vision and added levels of comfort.




2016 YT333

The YT Series medium tractor guarantees comfort with 10% more cabin space compared to its predecessor, the EG300 Series. In addition to enhanced comfort to reduce fatigue during long work hours, the YT333 employs new rotary tillers that deliver enhanced precision. It receives the gold award at the 2016 Good Design Award organized by the Japan Institute of Design Promotion.




2016 YT222

The YT2 Series is designed with ease-of-use in mind for small scale farmers in semi-mountainous regions or part-time farmers in city outskirts. Equipped with a J-change Plus, 10 gear, clutchless transmission, the YT222 allows for both forward and reverse travel and offers ease of operation. With the introduction of the YT2 Series, Yanmar’s line-up now offers products for small timers through to large-scale farmers.




Was there a machine that caught your eye? As Yanmar announced recently on Y-Media, they have already entered into an era of autonomous tractors. At Yanmar, they are committed to leveraging technological advancements to deliver real solutions for issues faced by farmers.


And the last half-century of tractor development was just the tip of the iceberg. Expect great leaps forward in innovation in the future. So if you on the market looking for great Yanmar Tractors - Team Tractor is the place where you should go - www.teamtractor.com  


Always Available Tractor Attachments and Tractor Options include: Tractor Backhoe Attachments / Backhoes; Backhoe Thumbs; Hitch Top and Tilt Kits; Bolt-On Cutting Edges; Mid Mount Mowers; Rear Cutters; Rotary Cutters / Brush Hogs; Finish Mowers; Flail Mowers; Roto Tillers; Tractor Snow Blowers; Snow Plows; Dozer Blade; Bale Spears; Pallet Forks; Bucket Forks; Precision Seeders; Disc Harrows; Rear Grading Blades; Box Blades, Rear Scraper Blades; Grading Scrapers; Land Levelers / Land Graders; Landscape Rakes; Tractor Rock Rakes; Loader Quick Hitch; 3 Point Quick Hitch; Post Hole Diggers / Post Hole Augers; Hydraulic Post Hole Diggers / Post Hole Augers; Hydraulic Grapple Buckets; Loader Hydraulic Kits; 3rd Function Kits; 4th Function Kits; Hydraulic Kits; Remote Hydraulics; 

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