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FARM CLASSICS: Fiat 1300 had distinctive throaty roar

March 14th, 2024 8:00 PM

FARM CLASSICS: Fiat 1300 had distinctive throaty roar Image
A Fiat 1300 on the road in West Cork, with its eyecatching orange paintwork and white cab.

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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 1971. Manufactured in Modena in Italy, the Fiat 1000 was partnered by the 1300 in 1973, which produced a substantial 130hp.

Power for the Fiat 1300 comes from a 7.4l Fiat engine, a very large displacement engine for its era, and produces a very distinctive exhaust note when working hard. Weighing in at 4.5 tons, the tractor offers excellent power-to-weight ratio, and in 2WD format, was a popular and manoeuvrable tractor to drive a power-hungry forager.

 A constant mesh transmission provides 12F/4R gears through a 14'' clutch, which are selected by two column-mounted gear levers. A typical characteristic of high horsepower Fiats right up to the end of their manufacture, 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 early Fiat 1300s were sold as open platform tractors – more so on the continent – 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 70s tractor. 

In typical Fiat fashion, the 200l 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 1976, the high horsepower 1300, along with its smaller 1000 sibling were upgraded to Super or S models. Key to these upgrades was a power increase to a colossal 150hp, increased lift capacity to 3.5tons and 46lmin oil flow, 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 throaty engine note of a Fiat 1300 working hard is even more impressive. If you are still working a Fiat 1300 we would like to hear from you.

• Contact Peter at [email protected] or see Instagram @flashphotoscork


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