Cub Cadet, the Premium Line of Small Tractors
50 years ago, IH introduced a groundbreaking product line that profoundly impacted the small outdoor power equipment industry, exceeding even their own expectations. The introduction of the dynamic tractor not only marked a significant milestone but also set a standard that has been followed for the past five decades. Combining elements from their beloved Farmall Cub tractor with innovative design concepts, the Cub Cadet was brought to life in 1961.
The initial Cub Cadets, known as the Originals, rolled off the assembly line in Louisville, Kentucky, during the early 1960s. Painted in Federal yellow and adorned with Harvester white trim, they inherited the dependability, quality, and superb craftsmanship synonymous with IH's larger farm tractors. The Originals became an instant success, and the demand was so overwhelming that production had to be increased fivefold in the first year to meet the market's appetite. The far-reaching effects of this little tractor shaped the landscape of small outdoor power equipment and established IH as the front-runner in this field.
The Significant Step
Throughout the 1960s, 70s, and early 80s, IH remained committed to enhancing and refining the Cub Cadet line for two decades. In 1963, they took a significant step by expanding the line to include the model 70, along with a new 10hp version called the 100. Building on this momentum, in 1965, they introduced models 71, 102, and a more potent 12hp version named the 122.
The year 1966 marked a groundbreaking advancement with the introduction of a hydrostatic transmission integrated into the 12hp model 123, setting a new standard in efficiency and performance. Continuing their innovation, IH unveiled five more models in 1967: the 72, 104, a hydro model known as the 105, as well as the 124 and 125. Each of these models featured distinct new styling and accents, adding to the appeal of the Cub Cadet line.
Commitment to Progress
The commitment to progress remained strong, and in 1969, IH presented six additional models: the 73, 106, 107, 126, 127, and an upgraded 14hp hydro version, the 147. With each design boasting unique features and improvements, IH consistently pushed the boundaries, cementing the Cub Cadet's reputation as a leader in the industry.
In 1971, IH made a significant advancement by introducing the first (wide frame) models, featuring a sturdier frame. Among these models were the 86, a 8hp version, now the smallest in the fleet, along with the 108, 109, 128, 129, 149, and an impressive 16hp version, the 169 hydro.
A radical transformation took place in 1974 when IH unveiled the quiet lines, incorporating the first fully enclosed engine design. This marked a notable change in the models, giving rise to the 800, 1000, 1200, 1250, 1450, and 1650. All these models were well-received, showcasing IH's dedication to innovation.
In 1979, a fresh (red) color was adopted, signifying the birth of the (82 series) tractors. Drawing inspiration from the larger farm tractors, these models exuded a distinctive style. The lineup expanded to include the 482, 582, 582 special, 682, 782, 1282, and a remarkable new tractor, initially known as the super (garden tractor), later named the 982.
The Proud Tradition of Excellence
The year 1981 marked a pivotal moment as the immensely popular Cub Cadet line was sold to an independent entity called Cub Cadet Corporation, continuing the proud tradition of excellence. Even today, the Cub Cadet name thrives under the ownership of MTD, with a wide range of lawn and garden equipment representing a proud heritage that spans over 50 years. Happy birthday, Cub Cadet; still going strong! (Borrowed and edited from the 2003 RPRU program.)
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