Four Wheels Ahead: A Biography of the SAME Group is one of the most interesting books that I have ever read. The family behind the SAME tractor is much like the Deere family in America. The two Cassani brothers invented and built the first diesel tractor in 1927 when they were still in their early 20s. In 1952 they produced the first front-wheel-assist tractor. They were mechanical geniuses, visionaries and entrepreneurs who literally had their fingerprints on every tractor they built. They established a company philosophy of constant improvement and innovation. Grandsons are still at the company and are keeping the genius alive.

Sold to SAME. In the early 1980s, the Deutz-Fahr Company had a surplus of cash and purchased Allis-Chalmers Company. That venture turned out to be a financial disaster, and Deutz-Allis was sold to AGCO in 1988.

After retreating to its established customer base in its German homeland, the Deutz-Fahr Company never recovered, and in 1995 it had to be sold. SAME Group, Treviglio, Italy, bought it. The new company is now called SAME Deutz-Fahr. This company also manufactures the SAME tractor, the Lamborghini tractor (bought from the sports car company) and Hurliman tractor (considered to be the Rolls-Royce of Swiss tractors) lines. The company also makes combines and hay equipment. The resulting company is the largest privately owned tractor company in the world. It has a 25 to 30% market share in Europe and is the fourth largest tractor manufacturer in the world.

Although the Deutz-Fahr tractor has been distributed through AGCO dealers since 1988, sales have dwindled. Now, with the opening of the new SAME Deutz-Fahr North America distribution center in Norcross, GA, the company is poised for a comeback. At this time the distribution center will market only SAME and Deutz-Fahr tractors in the U.S. and Deutz-Fahr tractors in Canada. (No other products are marketed by SDFNA at this time.) You will see some Deutz-Fahr hay equipment in the U.S. and Canada, but that comes directly from Germany through a very few importers/distributors.

Deutz Company. The Deutz Company traces its history to its founders, August Otto and Eugene Langen, who were the inventors of the first four-stroke spark-ignition engine. Early engines were used as horse-drawn generators for power threshers and hay balers. But the real launch of their tractor venture came after World War I. Millions of farm hands had been killed in the war and there was a labor shortage.

During World War II the Deutz Company converted water-cooled engines into air-cooled ones for better dependability for military equipment in the extreme conditions of the war. The air-cooled engine remained as a company hallmark until the 1990s. The company realized that the larger models needed more compact and narrower hoods to be competitive, so it replaced the air-cooled engines with water-cooled ones that were narrower, shorter and quieter (the water jacket absorbs noise). The air-cooled motors are only available on some under 100-hp models.