Geelong International Harvester W6 & Variants History 1948-1973 by Craig Pink
This documents contains a breif history of IHC W6/Farmall M tractors & variants written by Craig Pink.
For books and manuals on these International Harvester tractors, refer to the IHC section of our catalogue.
With very little information in print to date related to the old Geelong International Harvester Works, a dedicated group has been busy digging up history for a possible future publication titled "THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE GEELONG INTERNATIONAL HARVESTER WORKS". We have compiled a very brief summary of the Geelong W6 tractor and its successors, along with significant Geelong IH designs/achievements until now unacknowledged.
Twelve months ahead of any British International Harvester tractor production, September 1948 saw the first W6 tractor drive off the assembly line at the Geelong International Harvester Works. An initial batch of 400 W6 tractors were assembled, then the first of the Geelong Farmall M's followed. Early Geelong assembly consisted of a high USA imported content (including engines), but as time went by more parts were made locally which cut down on shipping costs/import duties from USA. Geelong assembly switched between the W6 and Farmall M on a single production line depending on demand, the Farmall M & later variants were produced in much smaller numbers right throughout production at Geelong compared to the standard tread W6 and it's successors, this was due to the broad acre style farming undertaken in most parts of Australia which favoured the W6 style tractor over the row crop adjustable wheel equipment of the Farmall M.
Nowadays a lot of confusion exists between the identification of USA built and early Geelong assembled tractors, anything USA built had a good quality Serial Number plate which was clearly stamped "Made in USA", etc. Geelong production used an Aluminium Serial Number plate, the chassis number and engine rpm were stamped on it, but the "Made in Geelong" etc... was only printed/painted onto the Aluminium. The paint on Aluminium did not last well over the years, so nowadays very few are left to tell us where it was built, people often presume USA when most of the time the tractor was built at Geelong. By early 1951 a total of 4,900 W6 and Farmall M tractors (including Industrial variants) had come off the assembly line at the Geelong IH Works.
The AW6 and Farmall AM tractors were produced at Geelong from early 1951, the 10,000th Geelong built tractor came off the assembly line in late 1952 (around September), close to 5,850 AW6 and Farmall AM tractors (including industrial variants) were produced at the Geelong IH Works between early 1951 and ceasing production in mid 1953. The agricultural versions for farm use were known as Australian made "McCORMICK INTERNATIONAL" tractors, Industrial variants generally had "INTERNATIONAL" on bonnet sides.
Released just after mid 1953, an initial batch of 350 of the new AOS6 tractors were built, followed by the release of the "SUPER" AW6, (now having a 4" bore), then the new SAWD6 (Diesel) was released very late in 1953, followed by the Farmall SAM, and then the SAMD released in early 1954. As with previous Geelong production the tractors were built on a single production line in batches depending on demand. Significant design work at Geelong IH went into the development of the Diesel engine and also the all Geelong design 3 point linkage released with this series. The AOS6 was not available as a Diesel, but came in 2 models, the "Orchard" which had a down swept exhaust, and the "Standard" mixed farm version which had an upswept exhaust, the AOS6 was never termed a "SUPER" and retained the smaller 37/8" bore of the W6/AW6 and Farmall M/AM.
From early 1957 the AW7 tractor range was produced at Geelong, these included the standard tread tractor models - AW7 kerosene and AW7 Diesel, power steering was also now available. The Farmall range was now called the Farmall AM7 kerosene & Farmall AM7 Diesel. The AW7 Diesel tractor proved popular and sold very well, the AOS6 stayed in production until being discontinued in 1958, no other replacement Orchard version was introduced from the W6 style tractor, a B250 style tractor was then converted as an Orchard version, but not many were sold.
For production figures/specifications on the Geelong IH tractor range up to 1960 see the book Antique Tractor Service Guide for Wheeled Tractors sold in Australia 1938-1960 as listed in the Plough Book Sales website.
Released just after mid 1961 the new A554 standard tread tractor now featured live/independent PTO (derived from USA designs), revved up to 1920 rpm and producing 55hp, the A554 was pushing the limits of the now dated W6 rear end. Rear end failures were common in heavy work, updates (mostly heavier bearings) kept the local IH name intact. The Farmall AM7 series was still built in small numbers until replaced by the Farmall A514 in 1962, the Farmall A514 used the A554 style fibreglass grille, but did not include the higher rpm or live/independent PTO of the A554 standard tread tractor and mechanically, it was of little difference to the Farmall AM7 Diesel tractor it replaced. Various Industrial versions were also available which were based on the A554 tractors. A small number of A554 kerosene tractors were built in early production, but were phased out due to the popularity of Diesel power, although petrol versions were still available in some industrial applications. The Farmall A554 tractor was released in 1964, and was now mechanically based around the A554 standard tread tractor (live/ independent PTO available, also used higher rpm) The DPA rotary fuel injection pump was used on later production A554 tractors, this replaced the earlier in line style pump used previously.
Released just after mid 1966, the 564 standard tread tractor differed very little mechanically to the later production A554 tractors which used up-rated engine clutch and also up-rated bull gears on rear axles, with engine speed of 1970 rpm which gave 61hp, 18" front wheels were also used to better match rear wheel height to keep tractor level. The 564 tractor also used a new updated grille style, the 564 series "B" was introduced around later 1969, the main difference being the introduction of a paper element air cleaner. The Farmall 564 replaced the Farmall A554 in early 1967, the Farmall 564 series "B" was also introduced around the time of the 564 standard tread tractor. Production of both 564 series "B" tractors had ended by early 1973, Geelong was the last factory to be still building the W6 style tractor which finished in USA as the 560 in 1963, British production ended in 1970 with the B450. The 264 Diesel which started production at Geelong in the SAWD6 carried on being available as a stationary power unit for several years from Geelong IH, British production of this engine also carried on for some years after as was the engine used in the BTD6 crawler.
For further information relating to the Geelong International Harvester products and history contact –
C/- Post Office
Beeac Vic 3251
For further reading, try the following books by Sarah Galloway