History of Tuff-bilt tractor
In 1974 Bud Thomas from Cumming GA, designed and built a tractor under the name of THOMAS-BILT. The first Thomas-bilt tractors Bud designed had a front electric lift and used a 14 HP Tecumseh engine, with a three speed transmission. This design was used in 1974 and thru part of 1975.
In 1975, Mr. Bobby Wallace from Cumming GA, obtained ownership of the company changing the name of the company to "TRI-TRACTOR MANUFACTURING" and changing the tractors name to TUFF-BILT. In 1975 he added the rear lift and changed to using hydraulic lifts on both the front and rear three-point hitch units. These lifts have always been one of the features that gave Tuff-bilt the reputation as one of the best garden tractors ever manufactured. Mr. Wallace changed the engine to the more powerful 16 HP Kohler K341 model and that engine was used until 1983 when a Magnum 20HP horizontal engine became available. He used the 20 HP Magnum engine in 1983 and 1984. Mr. Wallace then decided to switch back to the K341 16 HP Kohler engine from 1985 – 1989. In 1989 production of Tuff-bilt tractors halted.
In 2005 Mr. Rowland Matthews, of Southeastern Industrial Resources, Inc. began 18 months of engineering, testing, upgrading, and defining the market for the Tuff-bilt tractor. In 2007 the first 12 tractors rolled off the assembly line The new design used a Kohler 18 HP engine and hydrostatic transmission, which removed the need for a manual transmission. No Tuff-bilt tractors have been sold with 3 speed transmissions since 1989. The hydrostatic design was upgraded along with the motor, gas tank and wheel design.
In March 2015, Mr. Matthews began working with John Twyford from Nebraska to purchase Tuff-bilt Tractor System from Southeastern Industrial Resources Inc. In November 2015, John Twyford, joined by Rita Dunn and John Grolmus, formed Tuff-bilt Tractors Manufacturing, Inc., and on January 29, 2016 Tuff-bilt Tractors Manufacturing, Inc. bought Tuff-bilt Tractor Systems, and moved the company to Nebraska where was manufactured in an ISO-9001 certified plant. Tuff-bilt Tractors Manufacturing, Inc. updated the tractor in 2016. The 2016 Tuff-bilt tractor featured 19 hp Kohler EFI (Electronic Fuel Injected) gas engine, longer frame, 5-gallon gas tank, reinforced lift arms, heavy duty turnbuckles at all lift points, muffler guard, rear takeoff shaft guard, and comes with a full 1-year warranty.
In 2021 Rita Dunn became the sole owner of Tuff-bilt Tractors Manufacturing, Inc.
The unique design and integrity of the Tuff-bilt Tractor has been retained, but can now be produced quicker to meet the growing demand for the tractor. It is still the tractor that meets the needs of landscape companies, small land owners, large farms with specific cultivation needs, farmer’s markets producers, and organic farming.
November 2016 Tuff-bilt added the Track conversion as an option, in January 2017 Tuff-bilt added the diesel engine option choosing a 19.9hp Hatz Diesel, and in May 2017 Tuff-bilt started offering a 60" wide gas or diesel option as well. 2020 saw the addition of a cut out floor pan for easier viewing. Additional models are in development for the future.