Titan International, Inc., manufacturer of Titan Tires, Titan Wheels and Goodyear Farm Tires, has helped bring the legendary 1,100-hp Big Bud 747 4WD tractor back to life, having been stationary for a few years and at the Heartland Museum in Clarion, IA, for the last 8 years due to irreparable tire damage. The largest ag tractor in the world is now outfitted with eight of the largest ag tires in the world — the first-ever dual configuration with Goodyear Optitrac LSW1400/30R46 tires.
The Legend Lives
The Big Bud 747 is a one-of-a-kind 1,100 hp tractor built in 1977 that is capable of farming three acres per minute. Towering over today’s largest 4WD tractors, Big Bud is 27 ft. long, 25 ft. wide and 14 ft. tall. It holds 1,000 gal. of fuel and weighs more than 135,000 lbs. when fully ballasted. The engine is a Detroit Diesel 16V92T 16-cylinder, two-cycle engine.
Robert and Randy Williams of Big Sandy, MT, still own Big Bud after buying it from the original owners who were cotton farmers in California. The Williams brothers used it for cultivating until a tire suffered irreparable damage.
Its original tire manufacturer, United Tire Company of Canada, had stopped making its custom tires, so Big Bud was retired and put on display at the Heartland Museum, where museum owners built a shed just for Big Bud.
The Williams Brothers’ ultimate goal was to restore Big Bud to its former glory and bring it home to their farm in Montana. That’s where local tire dealer Janesville Tire Service was brought in to help find a solution.
“We came down here and tore it apart and one of the original tires was beyond repair,” says Paul Beckstrand of Janesville Tire Service. “So, I called Scott Sloan from Titan – they’re a good company to work with.”
Titan and the Janesville Tire Service team put on eight Goodyear Low Sidewall (LSW) 1400/30R46 tires on July 14, with new rims to support the dual LSW setup. Now that it can operate again, Big Bud will return home to Montana, where it will be ready for any challenge ahead.
“[The tires] are made in the USA, the tractor’s made in the USA, and the Detroit engine’s made in the USA,” says Robert Williams, Big Bud’s owner. “We’re looking forward to getting it home.”
Scott Sloan, Ag Product Manager/Global LSW at Titan, was happy to help get Big Bud back up and running with the support of Titan, Twin Valley Tire and Janesville Tire Service. Wold Rim & Wheel also deserves a lot of credit for the modifications they were able to make to the Titan assemblies to finalize the fitment for the Big Bud.
“That’s what we do – that’s our job here, to help end users solve their problems,” says Sloan. “It’s the perfect match to put the world’s largest ag tires on the world’s largest ag tractor. We’re just proud to be part of this project.”
“It’s definitely a legend,” says Nick Welker of Welker Farms, Inc., who was on hand to see the tire change. Welker is a Montana farmer who owns several Big Bud 600 hp tractors and is a Big Bud super-enthusiast. He traveled to Iowa to capture the transformation on video for his popular YouTube channel.
“The look of it, the size of it, the sound of it, the story of it…it would sadden a lot of people if this thing got cut up and sold to scrap,” says Welker.
The Williams brothers are currently making plans to bring the Big Bud 747 home sometime this fall to run it during harvest and then have it on display in Montana, at a to-be-determined location. The tractor will be demonstrated during the Farm Progress Virtual Experience, on September 15-17.