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The Ford Powermaster 801 series tractor

The tractor’s designation number changed, depending on the selection of options

IN THE SHOP with Rachel

By Rachel Gingell
Farms.com

With the right options, the Ford Powermaster 801 series offers a powerful and economical loader tractor – and a good basic all-around chore tractor.

With more than 50 horsepower, this little utility tractor packs a lot of power into a small package! The 801 series is available in gasoline, LP gas and diesel options. More than 150,000 of these tractors were produced from 1957 to 1962.

Like many other tractors of the era, the 801 comes loaded with many options. The tractor came with a standard four-speed transmission, with the option of a five-speed (my recommendation) or the Ford Select-O-Speed option. Also offered: live PTO, three-point hitch, larger rear tires, heavy-duty front end and power steering.

Depending on the selection of options, the middle number of the tractor’s designation would change. For example, an 801-series tractor with a five-speed transmission would say “851” on the hood. An 801 series with a Select-O-Speed and no PTO would say “811.” There’s plenty of designations to match the specific combinations, with some being more popular than others.


Ford Powermaster 881
Photo: TractorData.com

This versatility can be confusing when it comes to buying an 801-series tractor. In my area, people often use the most basic designation (841) as the generic term, regardless of what’s on the hood. Others will just use what’s on the hood. If you are searching for one of these tractors online, it’s worthwhile to consult a list of variants and search for a few different possible designations as well as the generic 801 and 841.

My dad and I recently purchased an 801 Series tractor with the perfect combination of options: a heavy-duty front end, a five-speed transmission and power steering. This tractor is the perfect blend – it was born to be a loader tractor.

While Ford manufactured a very nice loader to match the 801 series, there are plenty of good aftermarket options available too. Our tractor has an aftermarket loader and it works well.

The power steering is an especially important option if you’re looking for a loader tractor. The added weight from the loader makes it a real workout to use a tractor without this option.