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Back When: 1949 Minneapolis-Moline U

10 Sep 2023

imageSigwell J. Simonson purchased this Minneapolis-Moline U brand new in 1949. It served as his main tractor and he used it for all different aspects of farming, plowing, cultivating and tending livestock. In the early 1950’s, he converted the U to propane gas from gasoline, which dropped the cost to operate the tractor to less than $5.00 per day.

The U weighs in at 5300 pounds and has a Minneapolis- Moline engine with a 4 1/2” bore and a 5” stroke. It holds 20 gallons of fuel and the cooling capacity is 6 gallons. It has a hand clutch and a belt pulley system, and it can be started with a hand crank.

In January 1999, Sig passed away and his three sons, Roger and Fred Simonson, both of Iowa, and Alan Simonson of Nebraska, decided the best way to commemorate their father was to buy the Minneapolis- Moline Model U and have it restored. In 2000, the three brothers purchased the tractor from Sigwell’s estate. It was sent out and restored to its original condition. All of the brothers had fond memories of the tractor and of time they had spent on it. Fred remembers being able to plow by himself with the Minneapolis Moline and a 3-bottom plow at the age of 8.

The old U does not do any rough farm work anymore. It does some light work, but mostly it is used for shows, parades, and tractor rides. None of the brothers are big antique collectors or in any clubs, but this tractor holds a special place in all of their hearts. They feel a little bit closer to their father since this Minneapolis Moline U is still around. And they are glad that Sigwell’s grandkids and great grandkids will also get to enjoy the tractor and the Simonson’s farm past.

Learn more about this vintage tractor—and many more—in Iron Memories, Volume XIII at



Farmers Hot Line is part of the Catalyst Communications Network publication family.