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Honoring the Best 60 Tractor

Posted by Scott Goldfarb on

C. L. Best, who is known for his work as a pioneering tractor company executive, used to say, “When you sell someone a tractor, you’d run that check to the bank before it broke down and they’d complain.” That was not the case, however, for the crowning achievement of his tractor career: the Best 60 tractor.

What’s Different about the Best 60 Tractor?

The Best 60 tractor changed the tractor world. But what exactly did this tractor do that no other tractor had done before?

  • Transmission. The Best 60 tractor had a two-speed transmission (later increased to three gear sets) that allows the operator to match crawler speed to the workload.
  • Track sections. The track sections on the Best 60 tractor are oscillating, meaning they are constantly moving in a regular motion. This advancement allowed the crawler’s ride to be smoother, and it kept the tractor in solid contact with the ground at all times, which provided better traction in rough or loose surface conditions.
  • Steering. The steering system in the Best 60 tractor used roller-bearing-mounted, multiple-disc enclosed friction clutches.
  • Anti-friction bearings. The Best 60 tractor, especially in the track assembly, was designed with many anti-friction bearings to reduce wear in the crucial mechanical areas.
  • Design. The Best 60 tractor was famous for its overhanging radiator, open clutch, individually mounted cylinders, and lever controls.

The blend of power, suspension, and design produce a machine capable of accomplishing more than even its creators thought possible. Because of the innovative design, thousands of Best 60 tractors sold in the first 10 years of production.

The Merger

Before the Best 60 Tractor, the C. L. Best Tractor Co. was struggling to get its name on the larger playing field of tractor production. They were at risk of going under. But the Best 60 tractor kept the Best Tractor Co. in business and turned it into a serious contender to its competitors.

The Holt Manufacturing Company, run by Benjamin Holt, was in the position to buy out the C. L. Best Tractor Co. until the Best 60 tractor came into play. Because of the value of the Best 60, the C. L. Best Tractor Co. was able to form a merger with Holt Manufacturing Company instead of just being bought out. Together they formed the Caterpillar Tractor Company in 1925. C. L. Best served as the chairman of the board for this new undertaking until he died in 1951.

The Caterpillar Tractor Company, now known more generally as CAT, has grown since its inception and is now a multi-national company in 180 nations worldwide. From their 500 manufacturing and service locations they sell industrial machines, engines, and small-scale industrial tools. The company has even expanded business to include industrial grade smart phone production. They also own the brand for their iconic yellow machinery. Over 100,000 employees worldwide are employed by CAT thanks to the merger between the C. L. Best Tractor Co. and Holt Manufacturing Company.

Changes over the Years

The Best 60 tractor, which under the merger began going by the Caterpillar 60, remained mostly unchanged. But it has gotten a few upgrades that were made possible by the merger of Holt’s and Best’s businesses.

Best had seen a demonstration of Rudolf Diesel’s engines at the World’s Fair in San Francisco. This demonstration sparked an interest in diesel technology. After the merger between Holt and Best, Caterpillar was better equipped to dabble into diesel technology, producing the Diesel 60 tractor.

The original design of the Best 60 tractor was intended for pulling farm equipment and road scrapers, but eventually, cable lift blades were rigged up so these tractors could also be used as bulldozers.

Where are Best 60s Making their Mark?

This tractor has plowed its way through history. Every continent on Earth, with the exception of Antarctica, has a Best 60 (or Caterpillar 60) tractor on it, doing more work than just contributing agriculturally. Check out what the Best 60 tractor has helped accomplish worldwide:

  • Built canals in Europe.
  • Constructed the Hoover Dam in the western United States.
  • Worked in the mahogany forests of Africa.
  • Made roads in China.
  • Contributed to the original Hollywood sign.
  • Worked in plantations of South America.

The world is a different and better place because of the impact the Best 60 tractor has left on it. If you have a diesel-powered tractor or any other diesel-powered vehicle in need of new or used parts, we have a massive, high-quality inventory of everything from fuel injector pumps to diesel camshafts to rebuilt turbochargers. You can search online for all your diesel needs.




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