REPORT: When Deutz-Fahr needed a bigger tractor in double-quick time, it turned to its American relative, Deutz-Allis, to supply an off-the-shelf solution. It was to be the end of an era for the air-cooled high-horsepower tractors.
From a distance, the long sloping nose of the AgroStar 8.31 bears a strong family resemblance to the smaller Deutz-Fahr AgroXtras that rolled off the production line at the KHD factory in Cologne. Back in those days, the top AgroStar models, the 6.71 and 6.81, came from Italy, but 139kW/190hp was the limit. However, with the collapse of the Berlin Wall, the large farms in eastern Europe were desperate for tractors, and Deutz’s American competitors in red and green-yellow livery had much more on offer.
Solution from across the pond
Working feverishly for a solution, Deutz-Fahr dug out the phonebook and had a chat with AGCO, the relatively new owners of Deutz Allis. AGCO already had the up to 170kW/230hp 9600 series in production at Independence, Missouri. Deutz-Fahr would later even promote how the new AgroStar 8.31 had been tested in the large fields of North America.
Jürgen Martens, who was a product manager on the AgroStar 8.31 project at the time, recalls: “We were under enormous pressure: the first test drive took place in 1992, and shortly afterwards the decision was made to go for the AgroStar with American roots.”
The first 25 tractors reached German soil as early as July 1993 … in Bremerhaven on a RoRo ferry. “Once here, the 8.31s had to be ‘Germanised’. Although the machines had been manufactured to German specifications, a number of details such as air brakes and a front linkage were retrofitted at the Deutz dealer MAG in Mittenwalde. In addition, the tractors were presented one by one to the homologating TÜV agency, because there was no general type approval routine for the tractors.”