FOLLOWING the success of the 80 series tractors, Fiat launched its historic 90 series in 1984. While the mid-range of tractors enjoyed incredible popularity, in particular the 100-90 and 110-90 , its larger sibling may not have quite the tally of sales figures, yet was a revered contender in the high horsepower race of the 80’s and 90’s.
Taking over the reins from the 1880DT, the 180-90 was the range topper of the 90 series, backed up by its slightly less powerful stablemate, the 160-90.
Instantly recognisable by its straight-line styling and terracotta paintwork, the dominating stance of the 180-90 resonates muscle. Power comes from Fiat’s 8.1l 8365.25 turbocharged engine producing a substantial 180hp. Twin assistor rams provide a lifting ability of 6.6 tons, with a 55l/min hydraulic capacity. A convenient rocker switch located behind the hand throttle provides quick control of the Lift-o-matic linkage.
The 180-90 is fitted with a column shift gear box, typically found in higher horsepower Fiat tractors, with a dashboard mounted lever located on either side of the steering wheel. In 12 speed form, the left hand level offers three ranges as well as reverse, while the right lever is tasked with the four gears.
In power shift format, the left lever controls four ranges, with the right lever providing four seamless power shift gear changes which can be achieved without the clutch. Directional changes and controlled by a shuttle lever down to the left of the operator’s seat.
An optional creeper gear provided another selection of speeds to both transmission options. Worthy of note is when the operator presses the clutch, the power shift gear lever reverts back to first gear which may take some time getting used to.
The Supercomfort cab, styled by Pinafara, is functional and almost identical to other smaller 90 series tractors. However, many operators may find the cab a little tight despite the sheer size of the tractor, with many controls slotted down either side of the operator seat, including the radio! Another minor gripe is the enormous exhaust and breather stacks emerging from the bonnet, but the throaty engine note more than compensates for the obstruction.
Enjoying a long manufacturing run, the big Fiats were phased out in mid 90’s, replaced by the sophisticated New Holland Genesis tractors (Southern Star 9/10/21). These tractors were also produced as the G series in terracotta livery as a fitting nod to their big Fiat heritage.
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