2015 - Volume #39, Issue #1, Page #22[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Allis Chalmers D21 "Rat Rod"
His rat rod is painted Allis Chalmers orange and looks like a tractor in front. However, the back end looks nothing like a tractor because it’s 6 ft. 8 in. wide and is made entirely from aluminum diamond plate panels and sheet metal. Millar sits above the fuel tank and underneath a homemade canopy. Behind him there’s another, higher seat for his 10-year-old grandson to ride in, and a big storage area for a cooler and refreshments.
“Everyone who sees it for the first time says they can’t believe it,” says Millar. “I go to car shows all over the U.S. and Canada and plan to bring my D21 rat rod with me this year. And I’ve already booked it to tow floats in parades and at fairs for next summer.”
Millar already owns three Allis Chalmers D series models, but says the D21 is a special model.
“The D Series were made from 1957 to 1969, and the D21 was introduced in 1963, says Millar. “It was the largest of the D Series, as well as the first Allis-Chalmers tractor to exceed 100 horsepower. It was also the largest row crop tractor available at the time, rated at 103 hp. The D21 had full fenders, a large platform, and a big rear-mounted, 52-gal. fuel tank.
“The D21 wasn’t turbocharged until 1965, which pushed its horsepower up to about 128, and it remained the largest row crop tractor available. The turbocharger gave the D21 more than 15,000 lbs. of pull, making it the largest tractor Allis-Chalmers had ever made, as well as the most expensive at around $10,000. Many people are still using D21’s as pulling tractors.”
He stripped the pickup down to its 5.9-liter turbo diesel engine, 4:10 Dana 70 automatic transmission, frame, driveshaft, rear end, and disc brakes. He cut 7 ft. out of the frame and also shortened the driveshaft.
He had a local fabrication shop roll the hood and he made his own grill. “The entire hood assembly is hinged at the bottom and tilts forward for access to the engine,” says Millar.
He used 3-in. dia. stainless steel to build the exhaust muffler and added a 4-in. dia. air intake off another tractor. The rig’s steering wheel is off another Allis Chalmers tractor. The headlights and taillights are mounted on the tractor’s rear fenders, just like on a real D21 except that without big rear wheels they’re not as high.
“I started building it about a year ago and finished building it last October,” says Millar. “I kept the back end as light as possible so I can easily burn rubber with the rear wheels and make them smoke. There’s no real weight on back so I used air shocks as suspension, and the universal tractor seats have their own suspension system which results in a perfect ride. I built my own traction bars like the ones found on drag cars to keep the differential from twisting.
“It’s street legal and is licensed as a pickup. It’ll go as fast as a pickup. I’ve driven it at speeds up to 60 mph, but most of the time I drive it much slower.”
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, John Millar, 6970 Roger Stevens Dr., Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada K7A 4S6 (ph 613 284-2614; firstname.lastname@example.org).
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