Hot rod tractors

Sassy Racing Engines powers victory.

Subscribe to Top Stories
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)
By John Knox
Owner, Sassy Engines Weare, N.H., sassyengines.com

sassy_engines.03.jpg
Brian and John Knox show off a new motor.
tractor.03.jpg
Powered by Sassy engines, Bruce Slagh's tractor takes second place at a competition in Ionia, Mich.

I was managing a farm equipment dealership in Weare, N.H., when my son, Brian, and I became interested in competitive tractor pulling. During a race participants pull a sled weighted with 5,000 to 80,000 pounds of steel-encased slabs. The sled creates more drag the farther it travels, and the tractor that pulls its sled the greatest distance wins.

My wife, Rodalyn, and I raced cars on drag strips in the '70s, so this kind of thing was in our blood. Brian and I built a 1,200-horsepower engine for a Massey Ferguson tractor chassis and named it "The Sassy Massey."

Then my farm equipment company began to have financial difficulties, so I sold my share in 1990, and Brian and I dedicated our time to building our engines and competing. We sold 13 in the first two years. By the end of the second season our annual income was about $90,000, minus $50,000 in expenses.

In 1998 we decided to focus on building engines full-time. Today we produce about 15 a year. Most of our customers are from the Midwest, but we've sold to pullers in Denmark, the Netherlands, and Sweden. We just sold one to someone in Nova Scotia for $61,000. Sales in 2006 totaled $1.3 million.

We work with only one engine - the supercharged Chrysler 426 Hemi - which we sell to drag racers, monster-truck owners, and tractor pullers. It's difficult to build our motors for less than $25,000; each takes about 40 hours to assemble. We order all the parts to spec, depending on how much power a customer wants. When you build for tractor pullers, you're trying to come up with a design that burns as much fuel as possible. Our biggest motor will burn 18 gallons of methanol a minute. There's no muffler. You've never heard anything so loud.

The 41st Annual National Tractor Pulling Championships were held in August in Bowling Green, Ohio. Sassy motors powered seven of the winning tractors and trucks, taking three first-place victories.

- AS TOLD TO SCOTT BOWEN To top of page

To write a note to the editor about this article, click here.

Photo Galleries
These 10 food trends could dominate 2015 So long, kale. Here's what's expected to shake up the food industry next year. More
Beyond Russia: Geopolitical hot spots in 2015 Investors beware: These 5 global crises are likely to rattle the stock market and world economy. More
These 20 antique guns could fetch big bucks Morphy Auctions in Pennsylvania is putting nearly 1,000 old guns on the block. Here are just a few. More

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.