Clark Tractor

Anyone have any info on the vintage, use or names of these pieces of equipment?  Contact Steve Bamford if you do.

These photos were all taken by Terry Sumner

See bottom of page for some background info on some of these tractors.

(click on the image to load the full size photo)

(use your back button to return to this page after viewing full size photo)

1 2 3


4 5 6 7


8 9 10 11


12 13  (see bottom of page) 14 (see bottom of page) 15  (see bottom of page)


15  (see bottom of page) 17 18 19


20 21

Hi Steve:
The Clark Tractor in
pictures 13-16 was used on military and civil ramps mainly in the 50s and 60s. It was common at civilian FBOs  well into the 70s. Though the ARC pictures show some mods, it is
essentially the same critter as is in the KMC resin kit. I'm building that right now and needed the shot of the instrument panel.  Just about any photo of a century-series fighter being towed will show one of these tugs. Also shows up in pictures from Korean War.
 Rick Alexander

Hi Steve,

This piece of equipment is a Clark 42, not the thickness of the rear fenders and the single seat with a side cushion.  They came with a Chrysler flat head 6 cylinder engine and 3 speed transmission with a torque converter.  The rear axle is planetary drive and the hubs are different side to side [I have had to source parts for them].  This tug is 1942 vintage and will turn on a dime and move easily a
considerable load, Aircraft in the 40-50000 pound range can be moved with some care, we use two of these in our daily operations.  Our Clark 42 has had it tired flathead replaced with a conventional 6 cylinder.  Our second Clark tug is a little newer, 1946 we think?  The main differences are fender about 1/2 as thick and a bench set.  We have painted ours a few times and it has worn many shades our the years.

I will try to find some photos of our daily work horses and send them
for posting.



From NAVAIR (Naval Air Systems Command) 19-40-44:


The MD-3 Tow Tractor is a pneumatic tired, diesel powered tractor intended for towing all carrier based aircraft aboard aircraft carriers.  The MD-3 tractor is powered by a 100 horsepower diesel engine and has a draw bar capacity of 8500 pounds at an approximate speed of 1 mph on a dry level concrete surface.  The MD-3 includes a quick detachable unit with the capability of starting conventional and impingement type air-starting aircraft and providing AC and DC electrical power to aircraft while to towing.  Hydraulic power steering is provided to permit maneuvering in confined areas.  The tractors have a low silhouette to permit operation under wings of parked aircraft.  The MD-3 has a turning radius of 12 feet 4 inches.

    Dimensions -

162" length
  65" width
  36" height
  11" bumper height
    4" bumper depth
7" ground clearance

Additional information:

The tractors originally came into service in the early 1950's and were manufactured by Frank Hough Corp.  Around 1952, the Frank G. Hough Company was bought out by International Harvester which was later bought out by Tenneco Incorporated and merged with its then subsidiary, Case Corporation.  The tractors originally procured in the 50's were SLEPed (Service Life Extension Program) in 1981 and reidentified as the A/S32A-31.  This SLEP was essentially a re-engining of the unit (new engine and transmission), along with some brake components and a general overhaul (stripped all the way down and repainted).

The new type designator was assigned in accordance with MIL-HDBK-1812.

A = Aero/Support System
S = Ground, Self-propelled
32 = Mechanical
A = Aerospace vehicle support
-31A = sequentially assigned number

If you feel there is a need for descriptions for this walk around, then feel free to type them up and quote the photo numbers above and forward the descriptions to Steve Bamford, so they can be put up into this walkaround.  We could really use our viewers help with this.  An expert on this aircraft could write much better descriptions than we could.