The 1973 Farmall 656 Bearing the Serial No. 45739

by

                                                            Brian Wayne Wells

This article remains under construction. Periodically new  blocks of text and media may appear and/or the present blocks of text will be modified or corrected.

In the early spring of 2019, Mark Wells negotiated with Randy Scultz regarding the purchase of a Farmall 656 Hydro tractor from the Werner Implement Company Inc. dealership located at 119 Main Street East in Vermillion, Minnesota. Vermillion (2010 population 419) is in the middle of Dakota County Minnesota. The negotiations were successful and Mark Wells of Wells Family Tractors obtained the Model 656 Hydro tractor.

This particular Model 656 which bears the Serial Number 45739, indicating that the tractor was built at the Farmall Works factory located in Rock Island, Illinois, in the year 1971. The Farmall Model 656 had been introduced by the International Harvester Company (IHC) in 1965 as a new tractor occupying the 4-5 plow position in the new line of IHC Farmall 56-Series tractors that was introduced in 1965. The 56-series consisting of the Models 656, 756 and 856 tractors was to continue until in production through 1973. During the production run, tractors in the 56-series were being offered to the farming public in gasoline, diesel or liquid petroeum versions. No. 45739 is one of the gasoline powered versions.

The particular engine used in the gasoline powered Model 656 was the International Harvester Company-made Model C-263 4.3-Liter, 6-cylinder engine. This engine allowed the Model 656 tractor to generate 66.06 horsepower (hp) at the PTO and 53.23 hp at the drawbar. The C-263 engine is famous for being the first 6-cylinder ever made by International Harvester in 1958. Starting in 1958 the C-263 engine was installed in the Farmall Model 560, the first six-cylinder tractor ever made by International Harvester.

The C-263 6-cylinder engine first used by the International Harvester Company during the production run of Model 560 tractor from 1958 through 1963.

The word “Hydro” associated with No. 45739 indicates that this particular tractor was fitted at the factory with the optional hydrostatic transmission. This means that once the transmission is engaged by suppressing the clutch engaging the gear shift lever on the right side of operator’s dash board or control panel, the tractor can be smoothly shifted through an unlimited range of speeds from an absolute stand still to the top road speed of 21.0 miles per hour, merely by moving the hydrostatic lever on the left side of the operator’s dash board forward or backward.

In 1971, the standard transmission that was available on the Farmall Model 656 was the five (5) speed gear-driven transmission. Speeds of this 5-speed transmission were:

1st gear–2.5 miles per hour (mph)

2nd gear–4.0 mph

3rd gear–5.0 mph

4th gear–7.0 mph

5th gear 15.8 mph

Reverse gear–2.8 mph

However, since 1954 Farmall tractors had been offered with the option of a Torque Amplifier (T.A.) Engaging the control lever of the T.A. would reduce the speed of the tractor by 33%. In effect, the T.A. doubled the number of speeds of the transmission. With the T.A. lever engaged, the speeds in each gear were:

1st gear TA–1.8 mph

2nd gear TA–2.8 mph

3rd gear TA–3.3 mph

4th gear TA–4.8 mph

5th gear TA– mph

Reverse TA–2.0 mph

This reduction in the speed of the tractor would occur smoothly while the tractor was on the go and would would not require the pushing in foot clutch and disengaging the transmission. The effect of engaging the TA was similar to the automatic transmission in a modern automobile when going up a steep hill.

A Farmall Model 656 rolls off the assembly line in February of 1971 at the Farmall Works in Rock Island, Illinois. This tractor is missing the “Hydro” decal on the front of the hood and has the T.A. (Torque Amplifier) lever rather than the Hydro lever box attached to the side of the operator’s control panel. Accordingly, this is a “gear driven” Model 656 rather than a Hydro Model 656.

Like most of the tractors made by the International Harvester Company in 1971, No. 45739 was fitted with the International Harvester’s two-point “Fast-Hitch” hitching system. The Fast-Hitch was first introduced on the 1-2 plow Farmall Super C in 1947. At first the Fast Hitch system was an optional system for the Model Super C tractor. Over the years, the Fast-Hitch system became more common on larger tractors and in 1955 beame a available on most of the tractors manufactured by the International Harvester Company, especially those row-crop IHC tractors known as “Farmall” tractors. optional using the the tractors, No. 45739 was fitted with the optional International Harvester Fast-Hitch. The Fast-Hitch system was complimented by a number of implements which allowed International Harvester to build a number of farm implements. Largely, these implements were tillage implements meant for work in the fields on the diversified farms of the Midwestern United States. International Harvester brought these implements to the farming public under the brand-name McCormick-Deering.

Fast-Hitch allowed McCormick-Deering to make fully-mounted or semi-mounted plows to be attached to the tractor. fand which was the

In about 2017, No. 45739 was sold to the Werner dealership by Larry and Eric Rechie father and son who farmed together south of Medford, Minnesota, in Rice County.

No 45739 was delivered to the Wells Family Tractors garage later in the summer of 2019 by Tom Lubick, an employee of the Werner Implement Company. As it turned out, when No. 45739 was traded into the Werner dealership, it was Tom Lubick, who performed a great deal of the repair and refurbishing of No. 45739 in preparation for the eventual sale of the tractor by the dealership men of the



In the early spring of 2019, Mark Wells negotiated with Randy Scultz regarding the purchase of a Farmall 656 Hydro tractor from the Werner Implement Company Inc. dealership located at 119 Main Street East in Vermillion, Minnesota. Vermillion (2010 population 419) is in the middle of Dakota County Minnesota. The negotiations were successful and Mark Wells of Wells Family Tractors obtained the Model 656 Hydro tractor.



much of the mechanical work on No. 45739noted in the above article a Model 312 semi-mounted plow was purchased from Jay Graber at the LeSueur Pioneer Power Swap Meet in the last full week end in April, 2019. ntThe xiczgting that the

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