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I am sitting at the gate in LaGuardia waiting for my flight home to Kansas. I have just finished taking a look at and operating New Holland’s newest Boomer concept (in New York City’s Central Park), the Boomer 8N, which is due in dealer showrooms early next year … look for them in March. The Boomer 8N takes its styling cues from, and traces its roots to, the venerable Ford 8N. This new 8N compact tractor boasts 50 horsepower at the engine, distinctive, timeless styling, an innovative continuously variable transmission, and capabilities one would expect from a 50-horsepower tractor. Look for more information at New Holland’s Boomer 8N website in January or February.
My first impression of the tractor was all wow. The styling, while modern, takes attractive cues from the 8N of old. Rather than just adding a slightly modified hood sheet to an existing Boomer tractor, the design team at New Holland, in collaboration with their colleagues at Fiat, created a flat-topped hood with retro-style grill that screams Ford 8N. The tractor’s LED teardrop-shaped headlights have been sculpted into channels carved into the grill and hood sides. The padded seat … fully adjustable and ergonomic … is reminiscent of the original pan-style seat. The Boomer 8N’s gauge cluster is analog with just the right touch of vintage. There is also an electronic information screen that will eventually provide all kinds of speed and system information. The tractor’s color scheme included a red frame and belly with light gray grill, hood and fenders. It looks just right, even with its heavy-duty front drive axle, which is standard. The machine features New Holland’s robust hydraulic system, an electric PTO engagement switch and plenty of chassis to mount loaders, backhoes and lots of three-point attachments.
The New Holland 8N features a naturally aspirated, indirect-injected four-cylinder diesel engine, 2,800-pound-capacity three-point hitch, and electronically modulated CVT transmission that’s controlled by a single pedal. Push on the pedal and various sensors detect torque and load characteristics, which in turn adjust the transmission’s “gear” ratio and engine rpm. Forward and reverse are controlled with a shuttle lever that controls a pair of clutch packs and allow seamless, clutchless shifting from forward to reverse and back again.
I found the New Holland Boomer 8N to be easy to drive, functionally well thought out, and incredibly well styled. The machine is a breeze to start, and operating it is as easy as selecting a range (limits the drive pedal’s speed range electronically) with a switch, and pressing the go pedal. If there ever was a tractor as easy to drive as a car, this is it. Onboard diagnostics make troubleshooting a breeze, although trouble is not anticipated in this well-designed package.
“We’re excited to introduce landowners to the New Holland Boomer 8N, a modern compact tractor that acknowledges its heritage,” says Doran Herritt, compact marketing manager at New Holland. “Since 1917, New Holland has provided its customers with machines that are dependable, versatile and easy to operate. With superior quality and distinctive style, the redesigned 8N is the perfect addition to the Boomer line.”
The company has not yet set the Boomer 8N’s MSRP, but its goal is to make it competitive. New Holland Senior Director of Brand Marketing David Greenberg made it clear that the company plans to build as many of these tractors as the market wants. It is surely not a limited-edition collector machine. It is true to its roots as a workhorse, a real modern-day classic.
Pictures to come!
Hank Will raises hair sheep, heritage cattle and many varieties of open-pollinated corn with his wife, Karen, on their rural Osage County, Kansas farm. His home life is a perfect complement to his professional life as editor in chief at GRIT and Capper's Farmer magazines. Connect with him on Google+.