IN the early 70s, Fiat tractors were somewhat of a rarity working in Irish fields.
Although Fiat was a major international player, especially in the area of tracked machines, the Italian tractor brand had little in the way of tractors reaching for the 100hp sector until the arrival of the Fiat 1000 in 1972.
A solid and higher spec-ed adversary to the Ford 5000 and Massey Ferguson 188, the Fiat 1000 was also released ahead of the popular 7600 and 595 tractors, giving the Italian brand a slight head start.
The 100hp of the Fiat 1000 comes from Fiat’s iconic 5.5l 8065 engine, later inherited by some of the 80 and 90 series successors, and produces a very distinctive exhaust note when working hard.
A constant mesh transmission provides 12F/4R gears which are selected by two column mounted gear levers.
A typical characteristic of high horsepower Fiats, the right hand ever selects the gears in a H pattern format while the left is charged with the ranges, however these tractors have a poor pace on the road. Ahead of its time, Fiat offered factory-fitted four wheel drive, which was denoted by ‘DT’ badging on the tractor.
While some Fiat 1000s were sold as open platform tractors, most were fitted with a SIAC cab.
The Italian manufactured cab is by no means plush but does offer good levels of visibility with large front and rear windows while swing back doors were very progressive for this early 70s tractor.
In typical Fiat fashion, the diesel tank has an interesting filling point, with the filler protruding out through the cab frame under the front window which leads to the diesel tank in front of the dashboard.
As with all Fiats, rust is commonplace in these tractors, particularly around the cab and mudguards.
In 1977, the high horsepower 1000 and its 1300 sibling were upgraded to Super or S models.
Key to these upgrades was an engine tweak of 10hp, increased lift capacity, improved steering and 4WD driveline.
Another key development was the full mounting of the SIAC cab on ISO rubber mounts which further reduced vibrations and noise levels which was an apparent industry first.
The bright orange paintwork, with white cab and rims offset by the dark brown chassis of these tractors is certainly eye catching. However, the engine note of a Fiat 1000 working hard is even more impressive. If you are still working a Fiat 1000, we would like to hear from you.
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