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FARM CLASSICS: Italy’s Leopard is a rare breed on Irish farms

February 8th, 2024 8:00 PM

By Southern Star Team

A SAME Leopard 85 stretches its legs ploughing. (Photo: Shane Casey)

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SAME, an acronym for Società Accomandita Motori Endotermici, was founded in 1942 in Treviglio, Italy, by the brothers Francesco and Eugenio Cassani.

The SAME tractor story however can be traced back to 1927 when the brothers developed their Trattrice Cassani, one of the world’s first diesel powered tractors.

Hugely successful, the company portfolio includes tractors, crawlers, orchard and vineyard tractors due to the great variations in the Italian terrain.

In 1952, SAME added 4wd drive to their DA series of tractors, the world’s first tractor with four-wheel drive fitted as standard.

SAME has been central to many takeovers of other tractor brands with the acquisition of Lamborghini tractors in 1972, Hurlimann in 1979, and Deutz Fahr in 1995 – all of which are now under the umbrella of the SDF group (SAME-Deutz-Fahr).

Interestingly, tractors can still be purchased under all four original names in a fitting nod to the heritage of the company.

Manufactured in Treviglio factory, the SAME Leopard range was launched in 1978 consisting of two models, the 85 and 90 Turbo. Powered by a SAME 1054 air cooled 4.2l engine, the Leopard 85 produces a substantial 85hp. Four forward and one reverse gear across three ranges provided a 12F/3R transmission, which could be doubled with the addition of a creeper gear. Both 540 and 1000 PTO speeds are available.

Built by Italian firm SIAC, the cab is a well-designed with a flat floor, nicely placed wheel arch grab handles and good levels of visibility. The gear levers are well positioned to the right of the seat, falling nicely to hand.

Available in both 2wd and 4wd, the 4wd driveline is centrally mounted, which was advanced for its time in comparison to some other manufacturers. The 4wd version weighs in at 3.8tons.

The Leopard was also adapted and sold as a crawler tractor, marketed as the Leopard C. The era of SAME orange tinwork and navy engine and chassis ended with the Leopard.

With a new release of tractors in 1983, SAME changed their paintwork to red over black, with white topped cab and wheel rims, complete with a new logo.

A swiping, four-eyed tiger was adopted as the new company logo, the four eyes symbolising the long standing SAME tradition of four-wheel drive tractors.

If you are working a SAME tractor we would like to hear from you.

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

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