My Elec-Traks - The Competiton

Although I am little bias (ok, maybe a more than a little), G.E. never really had a lot of competition in the electric garden tractor business outside of the ICE based manufacturers. There were a few that experimented with riders but no one had, nor has even today the power and variety of attachments the Elec-Trak family of garden tractors offered. Below are a few examples of the competition of the day and as you will see, very few units were ever produced. For instance, it is estimated less than 400 units of J.C. Penney's Model 1806 were ever manufactured. The John Deere Model 90 seems to be the only machine built in quantity that you occasionally see available on eBay or Craig's List today. The "Golden Age" for the electric garden tractor started with the Elec-Trak in 1970 and was pretty much over by 1975. Wheel Horse hung in there with a limited offering until 1983.

John Deere Model 90:

I picked up my John Deere Model 90 up in Michigan. The John Deere Electric Model 90 was made between 1972-1974 and was designed to mow up to 1/2 acre on one charge. Serial numbers 1,001-10,000 were produced in 1972, 10,001-11,704 were produced in 1973, and 11,705-13,204 were produced in 1974. Although John Deere assigned serial numbers every year they did not necessarily use all the numbers assigned. It is estimated that there were less than 3,000 total units produced.

Associated Publications:

John Deere E90

John Deere Model 90

Another owner's video of the John Deere 90

John Deere Model 96:

My John Deere Model 96 was restored by my friend Billy Martin (no relation to the "other" Billy Martin!). The John Deere Electric Model 96 was the successor to the Model 90 and was made in 1975-1976. Serial numbers 30001-55000 were produced in 1975, 55001- were produced in 1976. John Deere did not use all the numbers assigned in either of these years so estimating based on the Model 90 numbers, probably less than 2000 were ever produced. Visually they are nearly identical. The drive motor is larger on the Model 96 and the charger has a "trickle" function on it after the timer is finished. You can leave it plugged in and it will maintain the charge on the batteries. The Model 90 charger has a basic timer that completely shuts off when completed, similar to those found on Elec-Traks.

Associated Publications:

John Deere 96

John Deere Model 96

International Harvester Cub Cadet 95:

The International Harvester Cub Cadet 95 was offered for just two years between 1974 and 1975 producing a total of 3,380 units. That averaged about 1 per International Harvester Cub Cadet dealer per year so you can see why it may have been discontinued. Like it's ICE based Cub Cadet sibling models, the 55, 75, 85 and 85 special, they are affectionately referred to as the "bath tub models". I think you can also see why they got that nick-name! I have some fiberglass work to do on the front end of my Model 95 but it runs great. My friend Billy Martin hooked me up with a guy who had a couple of Model 95's, one close to running, the other a parts machine. In the end I traded him a spare Wheel Horse A-60 I had, added new batteries, a few needed replacement parts and a little cash for his two very rare machines. I still had to find a few parts to get one complete working Model 95. I picked up a NOS mower deck in Missouri, rear deck arms and a front mower bracket in Viginia, a NOS key switch from a dealer in Arkansas, and the tractors themselves came from Ohio. The best part of the deal for both of us was Billy doing the electrical and mechanical work to get both the Model 95 and the A-60 running great as part of a deal on another machine he was getting from the guy- he saved me a ton of work!

Associated Publications:

Cub Cadet 95

My "Cub Cadet" Model 95 - needs a little body work and a lot of freshing up!

Cub Cadet 95

It is a fun little go kart!

Cub Cadet 95 Logo

I'm sorry but electrics are so cool!

Cub Cadet 95 Trunk

Looks like these little Cubs had a heck of a trunk!

Jacobsen Mark IV:

A fellow emailed me out of the blue one day saying he had just bought a Jacobsen electric mower and would I be interested in it. Of course! He lived near Racine, WI where the mowers were made, no doubt a plant employee had purchased one and brought it home years ago. The manuals say theserial numbers start at 1601 and mine is 1609. Not sure how many they made but if I had to guess I'd say I got one of the 10 they ever made! No one I know had even heard Jaconsen had made an electric before.

The rider was powered by two mower motors and the traction motor. A full charge permitted approximately 1 1/2 hours of mowing. These pictures were taken just as it was found. It will need a little bit of restoration work one on it before it can look like it's former glory.

Associated Publications:

Jacobsen Mark IV

The Jacobsen Electra Mark IV

Jacobsen Mark IV

Rear view of the Electra Mark IV

Jacobsen Mark IV Deck

This Jacobsen deck is going to need some work!

Sears Electric Tractor Model LT/36E:

Believe it or not my friend Billy helped me get this machine as well indirectly from the same fellow who I got the Cub Cadet from above- plus I got a "NOS" Snow/Dozer Blade and a set of original "NOS" Sears Tire Chains thrown in the deal! The Sears Electric Tractor is not a common machine but you do hear of them from time to time. This in itself is pretty amazing since they were only manufactured during a single calendar year in 1974 and only 500 plus machines were ever actually produced! Sears actually made two models of electrics, the tractor shown below, and the rider shown just below it. This model was powered by (3) 12V batteries and sported a 36" mowing deck that provided a little over an hour of cutting time. It had three forward speeds a one reverse speed.

Associated Publications:

Sears Electric Garden Tractor

"Sears" Electric Garden Tractor Model LT/36E

Sears Electric Garden Tractor

Nice looking little ride...

Sears Electric Garden Tractor

Pretty simple dashboard!

Sears Electric Garden Tractor

As long as it's "electric", I'm pretty good with it!

Sears Electric Tractor Snow Blade

"NOS" Sears Electric Garden Tractor Snow/Dozer Blade & "NOS" Sears Tire Chains.

Sears Electric Riding Lawn Mower Model 131.96860:

The Sears Electric Rider Mower is even less common than Sears Electric Tractor. I don't know anyone who has one hence the only picture I have of it was from a copy of a the original manual. The rider ran off (3) 12V batteries and had a 32" cutting deck. If you have one of these gems please me, I'd love to talk with you!

Associated Publications:
Sears Small Rider

Photo from the manual of the Sears Electric Rider Model 131.96860

J.C. Penney Model 1806:

This picture was taken from an article in Popular Science Magazine. Again, a very rare electric tractor, less than 400 total units were produced. One surfaced a few years ago in the Detroit area but was re-sold to a buyer in Canada and has been lost tracked of- hopefully it's still out there somewhere! I have never heard that even one of these still exists. If you have one of these and would like to move it along, please .

Associated Publications:

J.C.Penney Model 1806

J.C. Penney Model 1806