“Big Roy” to be restored by Versatile in 2016

March 1, 2016

Winnipeg, Manitoba - The most famous Versatile tractor in history has been returned to the factory at 1260 Clarence Avenue in Winnipeg for a full restoration. The Versatile 1080, more commonly known as “Big Roy” is receiving mechanical repairs, new components, new cab interior and a fresh coat of paint and new decals as part of the 50th Anniversary of Versatile happening in 2016. Big Roy, normally on display at the Manitoba Ag Museum in Austin, Manitoba, was returned to the factory where it was built nearly 40 years ago and the tear-down process is already underway..

“Big Roy is an icon, people around the world associate Versatile with that tractor,” explains Grant Adolph, Chief Operating Officer and member of the Board of Directors for Buhler Industries. “It was revolutionary when it was first created. The engineering team took a lot of risks and it had a lot of power and several operator features that are now commonplace today.”

The Versatile 1080 has a 19-liter Cummins engine with 600 horsepower and was mounted to the back half of the tractor to power the machine, inverting the traditional four-wheel drive layout. The 550 gallon (2100 litre) fuel tank was located at the front of the tractor. The 6-speed manual transmission could achieve speeds of 13.2 MPH (21.2 KPH). Big Roy featured cutting edge technology for that era and an operator environment that was ahead of its time. The air conditioned cab, accessed through a sliding door, was built with seating for three full-sized adults. The engine compartment virtually eliminated rearward visibility and the solution was a closed circuit television system with a 9" monitor in the cab connected to a dustproof 120 degree camera in the rear.

At more than 30' in length and 11' high, Big Roy weighs in at nearly 30 tons.

The Versatile 1080 created a lot of attention for Versatile in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, delighting farm show crowds and onlookers with its sheer size and radical design. In the field, however, that design created some challenges. Firstly, the in-line axle / tire design was effective at putting power to the ground but caused a significant amount of soil disturbance because of four tires running in the same track. Turning radius was limited because of the sheer size of the machine, and there were few implements available at the time to justify the cost and power of a tractor such as Big Roy.

Today, Big Roy’s permanent home is at the Manitoba Agriculture Museum in Austin, Manitoba. “Big Roy is one of our biggest attractions, people from around the world come to see it,” says Georgette Hutlet, Executive Director of the Museum. “We are proud to have a Canadian-made tractor as one of our cornerstones. Having Big Roy restored to its former glory will make sure it's available for people to enjoy for years to come.”

Big Roy will be appearing at several events in 2016 as part of the celebration of 50 Years of Versatile tractor production. Scheduled events include Ag in Motion in Langham, Saskatchewan and the Farm Progress Show in Boone, IA.

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For more information please contact:

Adam Reid
Vice President of Sales & Marketing
Phone: (204) 661-8711
E-mail: areid@versatile-ag.com

Versatile, a division of Buhler Industries Inc. (TSX: BUI), is the only Canadian manufacturer of agricultural tractors. The factory in Winnipeg, Manitoba covers almost 700,000 square feet with complete manufacturing and assembly capabilities and full research and development facilities. For more information on Versatile tractors visit www.versatile-ag.com.