|For well over two decades, while John Deere engineers developed a full line of row-crop tractors and their variations, the "D" was carrying the load in rice country and wheatland. By the mid-40s, it was a much-changed tractor from the original “D”—mounted on rubber in the early 30s; styled in 1939; drawbar horsepower increased to 24.02 in 1935, 30.46 in 1940. But wheatland farmers were growing larger, too, and demanding a standard tractor with even more power than the later models of the "D".Coincidentally, a new fuel was becoming increasingly popular for industrial uses: Diesel. And diesel engine technology was reducing the disadvantages which had slowed the adoption of diesel power for agricultural tractors.In the early years of World War II John Deere engineers began designing a standard tractor to replace the "D". Two of their goals were: (1) more power, and (2) a diesel engine. By 1949, they had realized both objectives in the Model "R".The "R" had a gasoline-fueled auxiliary starting engine, which eased two problems that had plagued earlier diesels. While others were started with the operator standing on the ground manually turning a flywheel, the "R" was started with the operator seated, pulling a lever. While others were slow to warm up, starting-engine heat enhanced warmup of the "R" for a fast start on the day's work, even in cold weather.The "R" boasted many other features pioneered on John Deere Tractors, of course. Plus an all-steel cab, the first for a John Deere Tractor, available as extra equipment.
And the "R" had power--more power than any tractor John Deere had manufactured. It was rated at 34.27 drawbar hp and 43.32 belt hp.
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