Size Matters: The Big Bud 16V-747

  1. GPS1504
    When conducting work on a tractor, how much does size really matter to you? We, as Americans, seem to at times be fans of excess. The bigger it is, the better it must be, right? So it sometimes seems. Over time most everything has gotten bigger from our vehicles to our houses. Farm equipment and implements should be no exception, right? The creation of the Big Bud tractor made this argument seemingly true.


    Perhaps these increases in size are a bit too much. Some might call them overkill. Others, however, might call them necessary. One such example of those who might feel size increase to be necessary could be the Rossi Brothers. They were cotton farmers from California and needed some serious machinery to accomplish their work. With a need to perform their annual deep ripping and do so quickly, it became necessary for them to acquire a machine that was up to the task. Rather than pursue the idea of using nine D9 Caterpillar bulldozers to complete this job, the Rossi Brothers turned to Big Bud for assistance.


    Big Bud tractors were produced at the hands of the Northern Manufacturing Company. This company was owned by Ron Harmon and a man named Keith Richardson served as lead design engineer. Together these two men set out on a quest to fulfill the needs of the Rossi Brothers and so the Big Bud 16V-747 was born.

    Initially capable of generating 760hp, some tweaking over time brought the Big Bud 16V-747 up to 960hp with the rumored capability of achieving 1,100hp when needed. It weighed in at almost 135,000 when fully outfitted, which meant the engine power required to move it would need to be substantial. As a result, it was equipped with a Detroit Diesel V-16, which was essentially created through the combination of two 8V92T engines. The 92 in the engine name came from the cubic inches displaced per cylinder, which translates to the 16 cylinder engine being able to displace a grand total of 1,472 cubic inches. This machine also had a Twin Disc transmission with six forward gears and did its moving about on tires that were 8 feet tall.


    There is no disputing that the Big Bub 16V-747 was a beast. The axles alone weighed in at 85,000lbs and that is not even including its Michigan L480 wheel loaders. In fact, as a whole this machine is bigger in size than a semi-trailer truck. Size aside, it is natural to wonder if this monstrosity of a machine was able to do the job the Rossi Brothers had in mind when requesting its creation. The answer to that is yes; it was able to perform a deep-ripping job at 20 acres per hour with a forward speed of a solid and steady 6mph. It was also able to haul around a cultivator that was 80 feet in length and weighed 35,000lbs without objection.


    Several other models of Big Bud were created over the years. The company began production in 1961 and specialized in heavy duty tractors with high horsepower output until going bankrupt in the 1980's. The company was then sold but production was slowly grinding to a halt and the final Big Bud was born in 1992 before the line was put to bed one last time. Although the Big Bud production line is gone, the memory of these giant beasts most definitely lives on as it is simply hard to forget something so big.

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