Rock Island Tractors

Faced with a steep decline in sales, souring opinions and out of date, obsolete designs; The Rock Island Plow Company made the sharpest shift in their tractor program since acquiring Heider in 1916 with the release of the Rock Island 18-35 and the Rock Island 15-25 in 1927. These were shortly thereafter renamed the Rock Island 18-35 F and the Rock Island 15-25 G. The Heider name may have briefly been used, but was already being phased out with the last of the Heider D’s.  Very early 1927 models were still painted in Heider green, but by mid to late 1927 the standard gray and red was adopted.

In all but a couple of rare cases, the Rock Island tractor was painted medium dark grey with red wheels and radiator only with gold and red badging. Many Rock Island restorations tend to use much lighter shades of grey and excessive amounts of red than the original. The old Dulex Gray number 93-6334 is out of production. This is the number Dick Bockwoldt came up with from working with an old factory guy. Our first sample of it wasn’t well mixed so we had a bit of panic and tried to rematch it. After we tried a second sample it actually came back pretty close to what we felt it should be. The PPG number is 30024 and will match up with a 1939 Chrysler Dodge called Squadron Gray. I believe some Onan’s are also supposed to use this color. It has a slight touch of blue in it and is not pure gray. The red is pure Massey-Harris, we lucked out with multiple samples and all are dead on so we will go with that.

Certainly far less common then some companies, Rock Islands are, for the most part, not exactly as rare as many of their owners make them out to be. While an infrequent show tractor, there seem to be a surprising number floating around in barns and sheds; though most fall within a two models (G2 and F/FA). What many people don’t realize is just how large the Rock Island Plow Company was during the 1920’s. While its influence and market share waned rapidly in the later years; the company was by no means a small, fly by night shop. Rock Island tractors however, suffered from their absorption into Case, virtually disappearing from sight overnight, nor did they posses any unique designs to inspire collectors aside from fond recollection by those who had used them. 

18-35 “Short fender”

the first 250 Rock Island 18-35’s had significant differences from the production model F. Buda engine.


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F and FA 18-35

The Model F was built from 1927-1928 and then a number of changes were made to allow the 1929 + F and FA models. Buda engine.


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G 12-25

The Model G used a mix of parts including the Waukesha M engines used on the earlier Heider models.


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G2 12-25

The Model G2 used a newer engine and was the light tractor of the lineup


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Canadian Special F 22-45

Built for the Canadian market and featured a larger engine and solid front axle


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H3/H4 12-25

The Model H3/H4 used a mix of F, G2 and H parts


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H5 12-25

The last of the 15-25 series using a VIK/VIL Waukesha


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H22 22-40

larger replacement to the F and H5 using a CHS Waukesha


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No 1

Row Crop


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