RELEASED in 1975, the Ford 7600 had the daunting task of replacing the hugely popular and iconic, Ford 7000. With big boots to fill, Ford built upon the proven pedigree of the 7000, and the 7600 rose to the challenge, providing drivers with all the gusto of its predecessor, but with much more refinement. Powered by Ford’s own turbocharged 4.2L (and a later 4.4l) engine, the 7600 produced a feisty 97hp, on a small and nimble lightweight frame, tipping the scales at 3.3 tons.
The 7600 was similar in stature to the 7000 but with the grill painted black, a change of decals, an exhaust silencer as well as a significant lowering of the air cleaner.
However, the ground breaking change was the introduction of the Q-Cab, or ‘bubble’ cab as it was affectionately known.
Providing new heights in driver comfort, the Ford Quiet Cab reduced noise levels to 85d, enough for the operator to listen to the radio – which was a factory option! Reduced levels of vibration, wide opening doors, excellent visibility and a good control layout as well as optional air conditioning were also included.
Other features included a sun visor, rear view mirror, two speed wiper and a padded tool box which doubled as a passenger seat.
Two floor-mounted levers between the operator’s legs control the constant mesh gear box. The shorter lever providing the high and low range with the longer lever used to select 1-4 and reverse. Ford’s optional ‘Dual-Power’, provided an on-the-move, clutch-less splitter which doubled the gears in each range.
According to Ford, when operating in Hi Dual Power, the driver simply pulled back the lever on the right of the console to ‘low’ which decreased speed by 22% and increased pulling power by 28%.
The 7600s were not without their flaws, however. Ford’s engines were notorious for going porous, most of which were replaced under warranty and can be identified by the criss-cross pattern on the engine block. Rust around the front window seals is another common issue, as well as other areas of the cab which can be prone to corrosion.
Complete with dual power, load monitor draft control, Q-cab and a lively engine, the 7600 set the standard for mid-range horsepower tractors. Powerful enough for a forage harvester, yet nimble enough for a yard scraper, the Ford 7600 was a popular choice with farmers and contractors until production ended in 1981.
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