If there was a “celebrity” category for machinery, Versatile’s one-of-a-kind four-axle, articulated tractor might top the list. Nearly everyone who passed by it at Ag in Motion this week stopped to take or pose for a photo with “Big Roy.”
As part of the company’s 50th anniversary celebration, Versatile unveiled the fully-restored 600 horsepower machine at an invite-only event near Winnipeg earlier this month. It made its first public appearance since the restoration at Ag in Motion near Langham, Sask. this week.
Built in 1977, in the midst of the big horsepower race of the ’70s, Big Roy never made it into production because of the compaction caused by having four wheels pass through the same track. It also doesn’t turn well, notes Adam Reid, director of marketing with Versatile.
Despite these shortcomings, Big Roy became a famous symbol of size and power associated with the Versatile brand.
“A lot of people around the world, if you mention Versatile to them, they may have a very vague association with the company as it is today, but if you show them a picture of ‘Big Roy’ they immediately known that’s a Versatile tractor that was built in Canada,” says Reid.
Check out the video below for a close-up of Big Roy, more on Versatile’s 50th anniversary and a discussion about what drives Versatile’s brand loyalty: