Not many tractor manufactures can boast a production run of 30 years.
However, the Crystal range of tractors will forever be associated with one brand- Zetor.
Established in 1946, the Czechoslovakian company released its famous Crystal range in 1968. The Crystal tractors, known in house as the ‘Unified 2’or URII range, stayed in production until 1989, proving highly popular with both farmers and contractors alike.
Central to the Crystal range was the 8011 and 8045. The first models which were released, with their boxy profile, set the tone for a purposeful, no frills tractor, but this was far from case. Everything about the Crystal was chunky yet functional. In fact, the Crystal had more to offer than almost every other tractor manufacture at the time.
In 1969, the Crystal offered power steering as standard, two speed PTO, lower link sensing, a double acting spool valve as well as the option of a four-wheel drive front axle, manufactured in house by Zetor. Many mainstream tractor brands neglected the advantages of 4wd or left the venture to specialist 4wd companies, Zetor realised the potential of 4wd and offered all Crystal tractors with a 4wd option. The 4wd axle can be engaged on the move, thanks to a hydraulic clutch.
Furthermore, a gearbox splitter or ‘torque multiplier’ doubled the amount of gears to 16F/8R while also providing engine braking.
Another major strength of the Crystal lay in its revolutionary and market-leading cab. A huge, flat floor cab was accessed by two doors with an enormous front windscreen. A spring-loaded and fully-adjustable seat, complete with armrests and backrest as well as a padded passenger seat, took up little room. Mounted on rubber mounts, and fully enclosed, the cab offered noise levels as low as 85db.
Powered by Zetor’s 8001 4cyclinder 4.6l engine, the 8045 produces 85hp.
The somewhat unforgiving constant mesh gearbox provides four main forward gears through hi/lo ratios, which are doubled, thanks to the splitter. The 8045 weighs in at 4.3tons and has a lift capacity of 3.4tons.
The Crystal tractors had a cheaper price tag in comparison to their other counterparts which sometimes led to speculation around build quality. However, these tractors are renowned for their ability to punch well above their weight in all conditions- previously making Crystals a common sight all over Ireland. If you are still working a Zetor Crystal, we would like to hear from you.
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