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The International Harvester 560: popular collector’s item

This tractor was the first six-cylinder diesel engine manufactured by International Harvester

IN THE SHOP with Rachel

By Rachel Gingell

The International Harvester 560 is a landmark tractor and a popular collector’s item. The tractor is fun to restore and, with a little bit of TLC, can still be useful around the farm.

IH collectors hold a lot of nostalgia for these tractors and it’s not hard to understand why. The tractor’s claim to fame: it was the first 6 cylinder diesel engine manufactured by International Harvester. The tractor’s 50+ horsepower was a revelation for farmers around North America, who flocked to this innovative and high-powered tractor. The independent PTO, and optional factory loader and backhoe attachments made for a complete package.


More than 60,000 of these tractors were manufactured from 1958 until 1963. The tractor was available in gasoline, diesel and LP gas options – but the diesel was (and still is) the most popular choice. Other options included hydrostatic power steering. In a standard configuration, the tractor wears the “International” brand name – the row-crop is designated “Farmall.”

I think another reason why collectors love this tractor is because it requires a bit of TLC every now and then. Compared to modern diesel tractors, this model starts hard. Each cylinder has its own glowplug and it can be a trick to keep all six in good working condition. Once you get it right, though, you’ll be rewarded with a really fun tractor!

If you’re looking to get into restoration and collection, the IH 560 Diesel is a great place to start. It’s popular enough that parts are still easy to come by at a reasonable price. The tractor’s significant place in history makes for a fun story to tell at shows, too. This tractor isn’t just for show, though – it’s beefy enough to be put to work once you’ve fixed it up.

One thing to watch for: early models had a problem with the rear end. (The final drive wasn’t strong enough.) IH dealers replaced the rear ends, which fixed the problem. It’s unlikely but there could still be some tractors out there with the old, faulty rear ends. If the serial number is below 20,000 or so, check the rear end carefully before purchase. The serial number is located on the clutch housing. 

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