The wait is over. The first new Big Bud tractor in 40 years is on display at this week’s ConExpo construction trade show.

Developed jointly by North American companies Big Equipment and Rome Agricultural and Construction Equipment, the two partners have clearly stuck to the solid build of the Big Buds from the past.

The prototype is fitted with Good Year LSW710/65R46 duals although lots of different tyre options will be available including Titan LSW1100/45R46 singles. A rubber tracked version is reportedly on the drawing board.

The frame on the Big Bud 700 prototype is 57mm (1 ½”) thick and there is said to be nothing like the Cat drive train in the field today. Built using off-the-shelf components, it combines a C18 (700hp) engine with an 18-speed powershift and rear axles from a 50t heavy wheeled loader.

The tie up with Rome and the construction trade show launch, rather than a farm show, suggests that the construction sector is the primary focus. However, it is also likely to appeal to large North American farms pulling 20m to 30m wide seed cart drills.

Some show visitors reckon that the modern rounded cab on a classic square design is not the best mix, while others say it is exactly what a tractor should look like, simple and rugged.

We understand that lots of changes will be made to the prototype, and that it could be a while before the production model is ready for either sector. The cab on the prototype is from a Challenger MT900.

This will change, though, because this structure is not rated for the 34t tractor, and the new cab will have to be tested, which takes time. The two partners hope to make six tractors during the first year and gradually ramp up the numbers (depends on availability of the Cat engine, transmission and axles. It is possible that a rubber tracked version of the Big Bud 700 could follow in the future, but a smaller 400hp to 500hp wheeled model is likely to come first.

Special thanks to Daniel Foged for the pictures.

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