ZETOR launched its Crystal range of tractors with the 8011 in 1968 as it entered the high horsepower market. Known in house as the Unified Range or URII range, the four cylinder 8011 topped the initial line-up for the Czech manufacturer at 80hp, and was surpassed a few years later by the six cylinder 12011 in 1972.
This also saw the introduction of a factory fitted four-wheel drive for Zetor, at a time when many manufactures had yet to appreciate the concept.
The 160hp 16045 completed the line-up in 1980 and all of these tractors can be easily recognised by their red and gold paintwork.
The Crystal range received a facelift in the mid-80s with the paint scheme revised to red and black along with more cab sound deadening, as well as power and hydraulic output being slightly increased. To donate this change, Zetor simply replaced the 0 with a 1, with the 16045 morphing into the 16145 etc. A possible oversight in the range, the horsepower gap between the 12145 and 16145 was considerable, so in 1987, the 14145 was introduced to bridge the gap, making these tractors rarer than their companions.
Zetor’s 6.8 turbocharged engine produces 140hp on the 14145 while rear lift capacity is a commendable 5 tons, backed by oil low of 47l/min.
A constant mesh ‘crash’ gearbox provides 16F and 8R gears are available through the right hand gear lever which selects 1-4, and the left which selects H-L-R both of which are positioned on either side of the driver’s seat.
A stubby lever on the steering column selects the torque amplifier (Hi-Lo).
The Crystal had a number of quirky controls including a hand throttle that was also used as the engine. The key was pushed in to send power to the ignition, while the tractor was started by a push button starter. Turning the key selects the park lights as well as head and dip beams.
The 14145 could be specified with Zetor’s own cab, renowned for its large size but lack vision for hitching and mounted rear implements. The Aberdeen built Duncan cab was a second option, which was a neater looking cab, with a comfortable Grammer seat and swing back doors. Production of the Cyrstal range ceased in the early 90s, but today, these high horsepower Cystals are a very desirable commodity amongst enthusiasts – with a 14145 and 16145 now residing in Kerry and Galway having recently travelled from Australia.
• Contact Peter at [email protected] or see Instagram @flashphotoscork