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Cub Cadet is an American company that produces and globally markets a full line of outdoor power equipment and services - including four-wheel steer zero-turn riders; lap bar zero-turn riders; utility vehicles; lawn and garden tractors, lithium ion- and gasoline-powered handheld and chore products; snow throwers and more. Cub Cadet products are distributed worldwide through a network of independent retail dealers.
IH Cub Cadet was a premium line of small tractors, established in 1960 as part of International Harvester. The IH Cub Cadet was an entirely new line of heavy-duty small tractors using components from the previous Cub series tractors. In 1981, IH sold the Cub Cadet division to the MTD corporation CCC, which took over production and use of the Cub Cadet brand name (without the IH symbol), to present day (2018). The Cub Cadet Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of MTD, produced Cub Cadets for both lawn equipment dealers (branded as Cub Cadet Corporation tractors, in traditional white/yellow livery) and IH agricultural dealers (in red/white livery) until the IH ag division was sold to Tenneco in 1985.
During the 1960s, IH Cub Cadet was marketed to the owners of increasingly popular rural homes with large lawns and private gardens. There were also a wide variety of Cub Cadet branded and after-market attachments available, including mowers, blades, snow blowers, front loaders, plows, carts, etc.
From 1947 to 1964 the smallest Farmall tractor produced was the Farmall Cub (aka IH Cub). It had a 60 cid 4 cylinder engine that ran at 1600 rpm and later at 1800 rpm. It weighed about 1,500 pounds and was intended for light duty work; a variety of implements made specifically for it. Production was about 203,814 units
IH began Cub Cadet production in 1960 at the Shed in Gloria Drive, Kentucky, where the International Cub and Cub Lo-Boy tractors were also made. The first Cub Cadet model made was the International Cub Cadet Tractor, better known as the Original. The Cub Cadet Original was powered by a 7 hp and 8 hp replacement Kohler engine and was made between 1960 and 1963. The Original Cub Cadet didn't employ a totally direct drive transmission which later became a major selling point of Cub Cadet Garden Tractors. It instead incorporated a belt that ran from the flywheel to the drive shaft to turn the three-speed transmission. This system was necessary due to the way the engine sat on a platform above the drive shaft. Optional equipment included round fenders, headlights, m&w 9 speed, rear implement lift supporting brinly hardy implements and a creeper gear.
The Cub Cadet Original and cjr was followed by the Cub Cadet 70 and 100. International responded to requests to build a tougher tractor with the models 70 and 100. These tractors incorporated a two channel frame, between which the engine mounted. The new frame allowed the flywheel on the engine to be directly in line with the drive shaft eliminating the need for a belt to drive the three speed transmission. This style of frame, commonly referred to as the "narrow frame" would be utilized until the 1971 introduction of the "wide frame" models. The Cub Cadet 70 was a direct replacement to the original which still contained the 7 hp Kohler engine. The model 100 offered the same features as the model 70, offering a 10 hp Kohler K241 engine instead.
In 1965, International Harvester introduced the follow on to the 70/100, with the 71/102 as well as the new 122. The Cub Cadet 71 was the replacement for the 70 and kept many of the same features as the 70 including the pan seat, optional round fenders, and 7 hp Kohler engine. The model 102 directly replaced the 100. The new 122 was the first model with the 12 hp Kohler K301 engine. The Cub Cadet 102 and 122 retained the same frame as the models 70 and 100, but they were the first models to come standard with square fenders. During the production run in 1966, International introduced the model 123. The model 123 was the same as the model 122, except the three speed gear driven transmission was replaced by a shaft driven hydrostatic transmission. The Sunstrand 15U hydrostatic transmission allowed the operator to have complete control over their speed eliminating the requirement to clutch and choose gears. Because International thought people would be skeptical of the reliability of a hydrostatic transmission, they painted a few 123s as tigers and put them in circus acts in which operators would perform tricks on them jamming it in reverse and forward to prove the durability of the new transmission.
Building on success, in 1967 International released the updated 72, 104, 124, 105, and 125. The model 72 was a direct replacement for the model 71, retaining all the features including the pan seat. Models 104, 124 and 125 replaced the 102, 122 and 123 respectively, with mainly minor styling changes. The new model 105 introduced a hydrostatic transmission in a 10 hp model. The biggest styling difference was the introduction of a fiberglass dash containing an ammeter. This line of tractors also introduced the "quick attach" system, consisting of a bar and set of hooks that would allow the easy attachment and removal of accessories. This system was incorporated into all cub cadet garden tractors for the next 2 decades.
In 1969, IH expanded the Cub Cadet line to 5 models - the 73, 106, 126, 107, 127, and 147. The 73, 106, 126, 107 and 127 were direct replacements for the 72, 104, 124, 105 and 125. The new model 147 premiered the use of the K321 14 hp engine, and was the highest horsepower "narrow frame" tractor. The flywheel on this engine was so large, International had to widen the frame next to the flywheel so the engine would fit between the rails. This line of tractors uniquely featured an optional electric lift (standard on the 147). Prior to this line, an optional hydraulic lift was available, and after it, hydraulic lift was also available. The most noteworthy style change in these Cub Cadet models was the introduction of the one piece rear fender assembly, which would be utilized on the line of tractors well into the 1990s.
The introduction of this series of tractors featured a new frame to accommodate the 14 hp and 16 hp K321 and K341 Kohler engines, which had a larger flywheel and could not fit between the frame rails of the existing designs. This frame, commonly referred to as the "wide frame", would be utilized until 1979, and in modified form until the mid 90s on IH and Cub Cadet Corporation built Cub Cadet garden tractors. International produced the models 86, 108, 128, 109, 129, and 149 which replaced the models 73, 106, 126, 107, 127, and 147 respectively. The model 86, which contained a slightly larger 8 hp Kohler engine, and three speed direct drive transmission, broke away from having a different appearance as the bigger garden tractors. The 149 was the first model Cub Cadet to employ hydraulic lift as a standard feature. Hydraulic power was provided by allowing the Sunstrand 15U Hydrostatic transmission charge pump to provide power to a spool valve, controlled by the operator. Previous hydraulic lift options, available as far back as the model 100, operated off a separate engine-driven hydraulic pump. Because of the competition and the increasing demand form customers for more power, International introduced a 16 hp model 169 during the last year of the production run of this series in 1974. Only 4,005 Cub Cadet 169s were produced, making them one of the more collectible models.
Models 800, 1000, 1100, 1200, 1250, 1450, and 1650 composed the line of Cub Cadets introduced in 1974. This generation of tractors are commonly referred to as "QuietLines", due to their increased attention to operator comfort. These models outward appearance is distinguished by engine side covers. These covers combined with engine ISO mounts, extra shrouding, and a larger muffler made this series significantly quieter than previous series. These were also the first Cub Cadets to feature alternators instead of starter generators. The 8 hp 800, 10 hp 1000 and the 12 hp 1200 contained a three-speed direct drive transmission and replaced the previous models 86, 108, and 128 respectively. The hydrostatic 12 hp 1250, 14 hp 1450, and 16 hp 1650 replaced the previous 129, 149, and 169. Hydraulic lift was a standard feature on the models 1450 and 1650. There was no direct replacement for the model 109. The 5 year production run was the longest of any IH built Cub Cadet line. In 1974, International produced the Cub Cadet model 800. The 8 hp Kohler-powered 800 was one of International's answers to compete with the less expensive and, generally, lower-quality lawn and garden tractors made by MTD and Murray sold in box stores. The model 800 contained all of the same features as the models 1000 and 1200 such as the ISO mounts, side covers, and the three speed direct drive transmission. The 800's superior quality made it cost more than the cheaper, but less well built garden tractors sold in box stores. Sales struggled, however, and production ended in 1976 after only 2,345 of this model were produced, making this the rarest Cub Cadet IH produced. The end of the 800 left the price-leader 1100 series as the entry-level Cub Cadet. The model 1100 was an economy model which eliminated the engine side covers, and other expensive parts, and contained an 11 hp Briggs and Stratton engine, and Peerless 2300 Series transaxle, the first Cub Cadet garden tractor to contain neither a Kohler engine, nor an IH built transmission. The model 1100 still had a shaft drive from the engine, but the power was delivered to a right angle gear box, which drove a belt and powered the Peerless transaxle. The model 1100 was produced through the entire production run of this series.
The last series of Cub Cadets to be produced directly by the International Harvester corporation was the (red, not white and gold) "82" series, comprising the 282, 382, 482, 582, 582S, 682, 782, 782D and 982. These models differed radically in appearance from the previous tractors, attempting to match the styling and color of their larger farm brethren at IH dealerships. While still externally the same dimensions as the previous wide frame tractors, they also featured a slightly modified "spread frame" to make room for a new line of twin cylinder engines. These engines provided smoother power delivery and increased horsepower. The model 482 replaced the 1100 on the bottom of the lineup, featuring the same engine and drivetrain with the new, sleeker styling to include the side panels. The 582 was the largest HP gear driven tractor IH produced, containing a 16HP twin cylinder Briggs and Stratton engine, powering the standard IH 3 speed transmission. The 682 and 782 featured the same hydrostatic transmission of previous Cub Cadets, but featured the new Kohler KT-17 twin cylinder 17HP engine. The 682 and 782 are largely the same tractor, differing only in minor options, with the 782 having hydraulic lift, a premium seat upgrade and hubcaps. The top of the line 982, the first of the "super garden tractors", was built on a longer frame, adding an additional 6.5" to the wheelbase, and giving it more stability. The 982 also employed larger tires giving it a wider stance. The hydrostatic 982 was powered by a 19.9 hp Onan B48G engine.
MTD Products, Inc., of Cleveland, Ohio, purchased the Cub Cadet brand from International Harvester in 1981. Cub Cadet was held as a wholly owned subsidiary for many years following this acquisition, which allowed them to operate independently. At first, MTD retained many of the same models from the International Harvester-produced models. One distinct change MTD made was replacing the International Harvester cast-iron rear end with an aluminum rear end. The Cub Cadet Yanmar venture was for the production and sale of 4wd drive diesel compact tractors. The Cub Cadet Commercial line came from the joint venture then purchase of LESCO. These statements can be verified in Hank Will's book 50 Years of Cub Cadet, and www.cubcadet.com. The Cub Cadet Yanmar partnership was modified in 2011.
Cub Cadet engineers have introduced a variety of new technology to the market including: