Friday, September 19, 2014

Iron Profile: Cat 983B Track-Type Loader

In 1978 the largest track loader that had yet been made by the Caterpillar company was introduced: the Cat 983B Track-Type Loader.

The lineage from which 983B loader came is an interesting one. The Trackson Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin had produced an inovative cable-driven shovel lifting system for digging or excavating, and sold them for mounting to Caterpillar tractors beginning in 1936. Caterpillar quickly recognized the value these devices added and began offering the "Trackson Shovel option" in 1937 with thier Caterpillar Thirty.

Over the years, Trackson continued its relationship with Caterpillar, developing cable shovels to be fitted on specially modified tractors with longer trackframes. During the 1940s these machines started to become known as "Traxcavators". In 1951 Caterpillar Company purchased Trackson and continued the production of the Traxcavator line under its own roof, creating many variations of this powerful and versatile style of loader in later years.

The 983B Track-Type Loader followed and improved upon the already impressive 983 loader, as well as abandoning the well-respected Traxcavator name. Producing 275 flywheel horsepower from its six-cylinder, 893 cubic-inch, 3406 diesel engine, the 983B featured pedal steering, freeing the operator's hands for the transmission and loader controls. An automatic bucket control system allowed the 4-1/2 cubic-yard bucket to rise to a pre-set dumping height and return to a pre-set digging angle for fast cycle times.

Equipment operators who had the opportunity to run it, still recall the 983B's power with awe. One such gentleman recounted to us how he was able to put the bucket teeth down and peel back a roadway, the asphalt pushing into a huge roll in the bucket like a layer of sod, and then lifting the whole of it to dump over the side of a haul truck. Now that's powerful loader.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Model Announcement - Holt 75 Tractor & 8-Inch Howitzer

Classic Construction Models is pleased to announce our latest 1:24 precision scale brass model, the Holt 75 Tractor & 8-Inch Howitzer. This set represents an incredible historic machine crafted in the highest possible quality and detail, rare in both subject and execution.

The Machine:
The use of track-type tractors such as the Holt 75 during World War I provided the Allies with a dependable and powerful way to move munitions and provisions across the difficult and sometimes near impossible battlefields of Europe. With its 75 hp gas engine and endless-track propulsion it was able to move large field pieces such as the Vickers Mark VI howitzer faster and further than a team of horses or mules. Firing an 8-inch round this artillery piece’s effectiveness was greatly enhanced by the mobility provided by the tractor. By war’s end, thousands of these units were being used by the Allied forces. In concert, these machines were instrumental in bringing an end to the conflict.

The Model:
Honoring the original machine and howitzer combination, each of these model sets is hand-assembled from hundreds of pieces and hand painted in period military colors. All the features of the real Holt 75 tractor have been replicated in exquisite detail, from control levers to engine bolts. The Vickers Mark VI howitzer, created from drawings drafted by CCM from historical records, has the same attention to detail as the tractor, with its bolt-studded carriage, brake gear, adjustment wheels – including rifling of the barrel. Almost everything is articulated from the traverse and elevation, rolling wheels, recoiling barrel to the working breech. All models are individually serial numbered.Approx. 25" L, 5" W, 6" H

Overall approximate dimensions are 25" long, 5" wide, 6" tall. This extremely limited edition model will be created in the number of 33 pieces, at a price of $5995.00 each. More details can be seen here:

You must contact us immediately if you wish to purchase, as these are limited to a precious few. When they are sold out we will never make the same model again, and it will become history itself.


Phone: 503-626-6395, Monday - Friday | 8am - 5pm Pacific Standard Time

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Behind the Scenes - Cat 349E L first shot parts

We are so excited about our 1:48 scale Cat 349E L model that we couldn't help but share some images of the project's progress. Here is a rare look at the first test castings out of the tooling, commonly known as the first shot.

Important to keep in mind is that these pieces have not yet been cleaned and polished for painting or had any prep for assembly. Most are still on the mold trees, which are the channels through which the molten metal or plastic runs when the parts are cast. These parts will be assembled into the test shot models that will allow us to see how the finished product will look and move. It's never perfect on the first go, and changes and adjustments will usually be made.

We know you wait patiently for our models to come to completion, but we feel sharing some of the process will make the wait worth all the more.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Model Announcement - Cat 349E L Excavator in two versions

We are excited to announce the most recent addition to our 1:48 scale Cat diecast model line: the Cat 349E L Excavator.

The Machine:
The 349E continues the industry standards for general, quarry, and heavy construction applications set by the 300 Series family of excavators. The operator's station has everything needed to meet the needs for comfort and productivity. All systems can be monitored easily on the large LCD display. The Cat C13 ACERT diesel engine delivers up to 425 horsepower, powering an extensive range of Cat Work Tools for the 349E including buckets, compactors, grapples, thumbs, rakes, rippers, and shears. Quick couplers allow one person to change work tools in seconds for maximum performance and flexibility on a job site.

The Models:
CCM is producing the 1:48 scale die-cast model of the 349E L Excavator in two versions: the 349E L quick coupler with HD (Heavy Duty) boom and stick which includes two different sized detachable work buckets, and the 349E LME with mass excavator boom, stick and bucket. Each version also features functioning variable gauge long undercarriage systems, allowing the track assemblies to be posed at full width or narrowed for transport. All aspects of the 349E L are modeled to the usual level of CCM's exacting detail, including hydraulic lines, opening cab, and access to full engine compartment.

Approximate dimensions are 9.5" long, 3.25" wide, 5" tall. Price and production quantities are yet to be determined for these pieces, but each will be produced in a limited edition.

As always, you must remember to call us so you can be placed on the request list for this limited edition model by contacting us today. Those on the request list will be given priority over others when the model is delivered. We expect demand for these models to be high, so do not wait to get on the list.


Phone: 503-626-6395, Monday - Friday | 8am - 5pm Pacific Standard Time, USA

We do not have any images of the production models yet, but look for updates on our Facebook page, blog, and and here on our website:

Friday, July 25, 2014

We are in Ohio this weekend with surprises

Well, Gary is in Ohio at least. He will be representing Classic Construction Models at the 13th annual DHS Diecast Open House & Auction Weekend in sunny Berea, Ohio, just outside of Cleveland. Legions of construction model collectors will descend upon this quaint city to scoop up deals on diecast, rub elbows with other collectors, and enjoy the gourmet hotdogs!

When you go, don't forget to ask Gary about the new and upcoming projects we will have on display. The Open House will also be the place where we officially announce two new models. One is an upcoming 1:48 scale diecast, and the other is an extremely limited production brass piece in 1:24 scale of something never before modeled by any manufacturer at this scale. Very exciting stuff.

Don't worry. For those who can't get out to this event, we will reveal our surprises next week.

Click here for more information about the Open House. See you in Ohio!

Friday, July 18, 2014

We will be at the 2014 DHS Diecast Open House & Auction Weekend

It's here once again. The annual event where DHS Diecast opens their 12,000 square foot facility to the public for an amazing weekend of model madness that has to be seen to be believed. Get up close to all kinds of real equipment, experience a fantastic model and diorama show, view over 3000 models out of their boxes and available to purchase, participate in fantastic sales and giveaways, get a chance to meet the DHS staff, and take the opportunity to talk about the hobby with fellow collectors and enthusiasts.

Gary Peterson, will be on hand representing CCM and showing some prototype samples of our upcoming models. He's already getting excited for the free gourmet hotdogs!

DHS  Annual Open House is scheduled for July 27th, at the world headquarters of DHS Diecast in Berea, Ohio USA. The Auction is on July 26th, the day before.

Check here on the DHS website for more information.

Friday, July 11, 2014

William Ford - Henry's brother - gave Unit Crane its start

Units of Separation
William Ford - Henry's brother - gave Unit Crane its start.

By Chad Elmore
Originally appeared in the July 2005 issue of OEM Off-Highway Magazine

The immense popularity of Ford's Model T automobile led to the creation of a diverse industry of aftermarket parts with which the car could be modified to meet practically any whim or application. When Henry Ford applied the same basic concept to the farm -- offering a basic, dependable machine at a low price - the results were similar. The Fordson sold very well to farmers, most of whom had never before owned a tractor. The tractor won so many customers, in fact, that the little gray Fordson had a disastrous effect on a number of established equipment makers. But while some factories closed, others opened: a new industry grew up around the Fordson, as well.

Established engineers and backyard welders alike came forward to offer features and attachments that made the bare-bones Fordson tractor the picture of versatility. They created and sold anything from rear fenders (which the first Fordsons didn't have) to heavy contraptions of angle iron, cables and gears that made the Fordson capable of digging basements, grading roads or hauling dirt.

Henry Ford, who became both celebrity and wealthy manufacturer, was the first of eight children. With the success of Ford Motor Co., many of Henry's immediate and distant family members opened Ford dealerships. Younger brother William was hired in the employment office for the tractor company and in 1920 William Ford & Co. became the tractor distributor for Michigan and northern Ohio.

William Ford entered the construction equipment business in 1925 with the formation of the Wilford Shovel Co. in Detroit. The most obvious component of the tracked 1/4-yard Wilford shovel was a gray Fordson skid unit. In 1927 the company changed to Universal Power Shovel Co., with William Ford as president. In addition to the Fordson powerplant, the shovel used several parts from Ford cars and trucks: the crowd device on the shovel was a Ford truck worm gear. The machine could be purchased at Ford dealerships.

New owners
United States production of the Fordson tractor ended in 1928, the same year Universal found a new owner - Unit Corp. of America - and a new powerplant - often McCormick-Deering. The shovel began to look more like a purpose-built unit than a tractor conversion. It was a given a 1/2-yard bucket and some models were fitted with the large box-like cabs that were coming into vogue, while others were mounted on truck chassis.

Wilford's new owner was founded in 1918. Unit produced forged steel components at its West Allis, WI, plant for railroad, agricultural, and other industries. The excavator line was transferred from Michigan to Unit's drop forge plant and production continued. In the 1930s the shovel and forging businesses separated, and a group from Unit Drop Forge left to run the new company. It incorporated in 1934 as the Universal Power Shovel Corp.

Chief engineer and company president Harold Brey gave the marketing department an important exclusive when he developed a fully enclosed gear case in which the components operated in an oil bath to significantly reduce wear. The machines with Brey's unitized gear case were the first to carry the Unit brand.

Ownership changed again in 1940, and the name of the company became Universal Unit Power Shovel Corp, simplified to Unit Crane & Shovel Corp. in 1956. During the World War II years, Universal produced cranes and excavators for the military as well as anti-aircraft gun mounts. Unit met the pent-up demand for equipment during peacetime with an offering of crawler and wheel-mounted cranes, excavators and material handling cranes. When the company celebrated its 25th birthday, it was specializing in 5 to 30 ton cranes and 3/8 to 3/4 yard excavators.

Full Vision cabs
The company developed a revolutionary cab during World War II. Introduced as the Full Vision cab, the new Unit cranes abandoned the large square housings used to protect machinery and man. The Full Vision cab was a central feature on all subsequent models, including the versatile Unit 357 mobile crane. Unit 357 was a wheeled machine capable of 1,001 uses, the company advertised, including operating as a shovel, dragline or crane.

Unit went off-shore in the 1950s with the introduction of the popular Unit Mariner crane for oil and gas platforms, and in the 1960s built a number of specialized material handlers, including models used for placing Titan missiles in underground silos.

The factory moved to New Berlin, WI in 1967, and the last excavator was built in 1982. Its production of the Mariner line and stationary cranes used in scrap handling continued, however. In 1988 this business was purchased by Offshore Crane Co. of New Orleans.

Unit Drop Forge is still active in the off-highway OEM industry, although it doesn't build complete machines. "Unit Drop Forge is alive and well," says Dennis Schloerke, sales manager. "We do closed-die steel forgings between 10 lbs and 250 lbs. That size range is ideal for the off-highway market."

Marketed as Unit Forgings, mobile off-highway work accounts for 50% of its business, which is still done in the original factory on 62nd Street in West Allis, WI.