When Tractors Go Wild

A Holden 308ci V8 and BKT Monster Jam Tires, not what you’d expect to see on a tractor.

A tractor isn’t something you’d ever expect to see on Speedhunters. Well, not something I ever did anyway. But when I saw this crazy creation during a visit to Smoke’m Garage recently, I knew I had to take a closer look.


How this weird and wonderful build came about, is that the owner, who happens to own a tyre importation company, was at a trade fair and saw the amount of people flocking to a machine being started up to provide a demonstration of how it works.

He then thought about what could he do to be able to get the same amount of people to his own company’s stands. So, he pondered some more about trying to think of something which is really loud and interesting to look at in their game? Since, he really loves his farming and loves speed, the natural thought was why not build a crazy tractor?

For the idea to become reality, a donor tractor had to be found. The one he found, was a vintage McCormick Farmall Model “Super H” Tractor from the late 1950’s, which was covered in surface rust and definitely not in working condition.

Smoke’m Garage in Cape Town eventually got the tractor as an ornament after two failed attempts by other companies to get it working. The last attempt to build it was when it had the green theme and while it looked pretty decent, it still didn’t work.


Once Smoke’m got the tractor in their shop, they started with a complete strip-down and full rebuild.

First up was a complete removal of the old, very overpowering paint job, and they resprayed it a much cooler looking, two-tone dark grey and candy-apple red finish.


After a respray of the chassis, body panels and wheel centres, the tyres were fitted back onto the tractor. About those ridiculous tyres, they are BKT Monster Jam spec items, coming in at 66-inches tall and 43-inches wide, weighing between 360-400KGs (up to 881lbs) each.

Why fit such crazy tyres on a tractor? Well, it’s more a situation of why not. It’s a show-tractor, so these definitely add to the badass-ness of this thing.


Apart from the respray and the wheels, the tractor was completely stripped down and rebuilt, modifying each part possible, while improving the general design of each part to be period correct “ish”.

They fitted new shocks for the seat and gearshift, painted it in matching colours and also built a new switchpanel.


With the added horsepower, the brakes needed a proper upgrade, as well, so the guys took one of their old racecar setups and added a full disc brake system, with large rotors and Wilwood components.


Finally getting to the heart of this contraption, it now makes considerably more power than it’s stock 25kW (33hp) motor did. The guys from Smoke’m said this was the biggest challenge of the build, especially because the Holden 308 is quite a difficult motor to get parts for.

After replacing and fixing everything they could, the engine was almost ready to go, but they needed the final touch, resulting in those awesome straight pipes that come out on either side of the engine, which they built in-house. The whole motor rebuild was successful in the end and they got it firing properly on all cylinders.

With the added power, now around 180kW (241hp) and an extremely low range gearbox this thing can lift its front wheels in 3rd with a slip of the clutch and 40% throttle. Pretty badass!


When Matt from Smoke’m talks about the tractor build, he says that basically everything has been custom made to make it all work together. He says it’s like a super simple old car except with a five-million kilogram gearbox/rear diff which is also happens to be part of the chassis.

Not a lot of people who would want to, or have the balls to drive this thing, but luckily Matt has a secret weapon; Shay, one of his staff members, whom he found in the deep dark depths of his workshop. It helps that he looks the part as well right?

This thing might be quite uncommon and odd, but it’s definitely one of the coolest custom things I’ve come across lately.

It also sounds pretty crazy, which is always a bonus.

Stefan Kotzé
Instagram: stefankotzephoto



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i'm digging this !!!


Always fun when "CUSTOM SHOPS" can't do custom things only bolt ons. Sorry that you had to go through 3 shops to get it right. Super cool!


If you think this is wild you should check out Dutch tractor pulling, especially the unlimited class, they run machines with 4 of these engines or 4 helicopter turbine engines.


The world of tractors is so much more interesting than we think! Not just for food! Haha


those tires weigh more than yo mama.


The Wilwood brakes had me grinning like mad. Awesome!


I freaked out when i saw that myself......LOL


That brake caliper looks puny in comparison haha


how does the brake works? because I don't see any axle connected to the rotor from the outside.


Essentially there is a shaft off the main drive shaft specifically for the brakes. If we had time between events we would def open her up to see what’s potting!!


Gearbox output shaft of some kind?


The shafts the brakes are on get their drive from the main axles. i.e *after* the diff.
This way they can be used for assisting steering in tight turns as most tractors do.

So why put them there? Probably to make the brakes more effective and the whole machine more compact.
Brakes like these tend to be geared much faster than the rear axles, which means the brakes can be made smaller


We didn’t delve into the workings of the Gearbox, however the original breaks are located here allowing a simple conversion with a mere mounting bracket!


I always wanted a tractor to commute through London on, just fit an auto box and it's the perfect commuter tool. They don't have to pay tax, T-Charge, congestion charge or any of that nonsense as long as they are registered as agricultural vehicles. Now all I need is for the government to recognise that what I'm growing in my closet is technically classed as farming.


You also need to own or work on a farm mate, and a farm is kinda expensive


if this thing lifts the wheels, whats stopping it from going right over?


Very very little!
They could fit wheelie bars to the back but even then, there are other things to worry about. Any turn taken at even modest speeds is a big risk.


Pretty much a bunch of will power with some vintage clutch control sprinkled in like Dave says


The collective willpower of everyone watching perhaps.


Bestest vehicle on Speedgrunters for a long time. Shame there's not a vid though?

Incredibly, not one mention of 2JZ, RB26 or SR20 anywhere... top marks.


What’s going on???


That is so awesome, thanks for showing! The favourite thing is probably the disc setup.

And Eddy's right, check out Tractor-Pulling.


I love the finish on the engine block, how have then done that? I thought you can't anodise rough cast?


We used high heat tolerant paint and came up with a way to mimic “candy” (not with much depth!) Turned out rad though!!

Matthew Adam Berman

Oh man I was waiting for you to visit the boys from Smokem Stefan! I've never been there and not been impressed by what they are currently busy with! Also great to see something so different featured for once!


It look like it still has the shaft for attaching equipment on the rear.


My God these tires are massive!
I love it!