In the mid 70s, Fiat took the opportunity to unveil their new 80 series tractors, spanning 13 wheeled tractors from 42-160hp.
Featuring all new styling, these sharp looking tractors spanned a short wheel base range with the 980 at the helm, and a long wheel base range topped off by the domineering 1880.
Short wheel base tractors were offered in both two and centre mounted four-wheel drive. The 80 series tractors were initially released with orange paintwork, with a white stripe on the bottom of the door and cab roof.
In the early 80s the range was facelifted to the renowned ‘terracotta’ colour, with the doors losing the exterior stripe and interior pockets in favour of a full pane of glass for extra visibility. The headlights also found a new home – moved from the bottom to further up the nose cone.
Farmers had to wait until 1979 for the release of Fiat 980 which pushed 98hp from its fiery 5.2l, 6 cylinder powerplant. The four-wheel drive 980 tipped the scales at 3.8tons resulting in an excellent power to weight ratio. The synchromesh transmission provided 12F/3R gears through floor mounted gearsticks which could be upgraded to 16F/4R with the optional creeper gear.
At the rear, the Cat2 linkage, with assistor ram, was capable of handling 3.2 tons with a hydraulic output of 41l/min, while PAVT rear rims allowed for the track width of the tractor to be adjusted, while also adding weight for traction. A two-speed PTO was fitted as standard.
The big talking point of the 80 series was the all new ‘SuperComfort’ cab, styled by car design firm Pininfarina of Italy.
According to Fiat, it was the industry’s first tractor cab to be mounted on rubber pads on all six mounting points to reduce noise and vibration. The cab was styled as one with the tractor, instead of an aftermarket design.
While most manufacturers adopted this approach in the 1970, Fiat were at the forefront of this new thinking. The new cab resulted to the relocation of the fuel tank to the rear of the cab, below the back window.
The major flaw of the cab only became apparent years later with the onset of rust which the cabs and panelling of the tractor suffered greatly from. The 80 series proved to be a great success, paving the way for the legendary 90 range of tractors.
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