John Deere launched the 6000 series in Europe with the first five of them being four-cylinder models.

These were followed a year later with the larger turbo-charged machines, the largest of which was the 6900 with 130hp on tap.

These proved to be popular tractors and with the ever growing demand for power, the machine received its first revamp in 1988 when it became the 6010 range, better known to John Deere fans as the ’10 series’.

Global styling

The introduction of these tractors was something of a watershed moment for the company for they were of an all-new design that relied on a modular construction within an independent steel frame.

It was also the moment that Deere started to move away from its predominately American styling and design criteria and adopt a more European focus.

John Deere 3350
The 3350 was an impressive tractor yet it only proved three more horsepower than the Ford 7600 of the same period, but it did have two more cylinders

Out went the long narrow hoods of models such as the 3350 and in came a much more compact looking and slightly chubbier appearance that placed the cab further forward and broadened what could now be more appropriately described as a bonnet.

The result was a tractor that looked shorter and more balanced, although looks can be deceptive for the 6910 had a wheelbase 6cm longer than the 3350, but it certainly didn’t seem so.

John Deere TRactor
A two-door square cab sitting in front of the rear axle made the 6000 series appear shorter than those they replaced

Shedding the distinctive and much loved long nose and round windowed cab, perched right at the rear of the machine, revitalised the brand and boosted European sales.

New image

In the 1970s and 1980s, John Deeres were considered something of an extravagance in Europe, but the 6000 series changed all that.

They became much more business-like and with 4WD becoming a prerequisite, they did look as if they were built for it, rather than extra traction being an afterthought.

Front axle suspension
Front axle suspension and shaped chassis rails indicate the direction of John Deere’s development of its machines in the 1990s

The 1990s was also the last decade of tractors free from electronics and this has helped preserve their value as there is, deservedly or not, a wariness of older machines that rely on chips to work, although it must be said that they do not, at present, appear to be giving too many problems.

Here in Ireland the 6000 series still has a strong following and one company in Co. Galway is happy to source and supply John Deeres from this period, when it can find them.

Finding John Deeres

Murphy Agri Machinery Ltd., has a strong connection to the brand having been official dealers for 25 years.

It was founded by John Murphy back in 1980 and is now run by his son and his nephew, Trevor and Cathal Murphy.

John Deere
Just in case you should forget what you were driving when dismounting

Over their years with John Deere, the business developed a strong network with other dealers both here and in the UK, and it is thanks to these contacts that they are able to find John Deeres which might be from the 1980’s or even ex-demo models from today.

One such find is a 6910 from 2001 which was originally sold into the UK. It would have been one of the last built as they made way for the ’20 series’ which appeared the following year.

Bringing it back to life

This machine was has undergone a thorough refurbishment with an engine rebuild along with a respray and general overhaul.

In total, €25,000 has been spent on bringing it up to its present condition.

Deeres 6000 series
A new hitch was part of the refurbishment project

Although its history in the UK is unknown, its future lies with a contractor here in Ireland who will appreciate its 50km/h road speed, courtesy of its Auto Power transmission, front axle suspension and air brakes.

What makes this tractor somewhat rare is that the CVT type transmission was not actually introduced until its last year of production, meaning that there are few ‘Tens’ available with this option.

CVT transmission
Lack of gear levers marks this machine out as an early beneficiary of a CVT

It is this which has made it worth spending money on, and although Trevor is happy to refurbish any John Deere, this one, he feels, is something special.