Back in 1982, a new Nordic tractor line was launched: the 04 and 05 Series. The larger 05 Series bore the name Volvo BM Valmet on the bonnet. As the name suggested, Volvo and Valmet had merged, but before this there had been several other mergers – and not all had to do with the letters BM.
Sweden has a long tradition in agricultural machinery manufacturing, and these roots can still be seen to this day. Theofron Munktell established an engineering workshop in 1832 under the name Eskilstuna Mekaniska Verskstad, which was renamed Munktells Mekaniska Verkstad in 1879. Munktell’s first largescale products were steam locomotives, which he began manufacturing in the 1850s. Among farmers, Munktell became known for his locomobiles, which were essentially steampowered agricultural vehicles intended for the direct-pulling of ploughs and other implements. These remained in production all the way until 1921.
Munktell produced its first combustion engine in 1905. When the steam engine on the locomobile was replaced by the combustion engine, the modern tractor was born. The first Nordic tractor, the Munktell 30-40 HK, was launched in 1913. As its name suggests, this tractor produced 30-40 horsepower and weighed 8300 kilos.
The brothers Jean and Carl Gerhard Bolinder established their own engineering workshop and foundry in 1844. Their most famous product was a two-stroke semi-diesel that became a popular marine engine. In 1893, their workshop produced Sweden’s first combustion engine. Bolinder teamed up with Jönköpings Mekaniska Werkstad to manufacture tractors in the 1930s, but only a few units were ever built. This Bolinder tractor had around 40 horsepower and weighed 3250 kilos.
+ (Avance + Munktell)
Another Swede, Johan Victor Svenson, founded an automobile factory in 1898 and began manufacturing combustion engines. His first engine, the Avance, was built in 1900. A prototype that combined the engine with a plough was unveiled in 1912, and customer deliveries of the Avance motorised plough began already the following year. This tractor produced 19 horsepower and weighed 4230 kilos.
AB Volvo founded its automobile factory in 1927. During the war years, when the market for cars shrank, the decision was taken in 1943 to begin production of Volvo tractors. The first Volvo T41 tractor featured a BM transmission coupled to a Volvo engine. The T41 produced 40 horsepower and weighed 2500 kilos.
Valtra’s Swedish roots
- In 1929, the Avancemotor company was facing financial difficulties and its shares transferred to Munktells Mekaniska Verkstad.
- In 1932, the agricultural machinery business of J & C G Bolinders Mekaniska Verkstad merged with Munktells Mekaniska Verkstad, creating AB Bolinder-Munktells.
- In 1950, the BM tractor company was acquired by Volvo, creating Volvo BM.
- In 1979, Volvo BM discontinued tractor production. The Volvo BM tractor company transferred to Valmet, creating Volvo BM Valmet.
- In 1985, following the launch of new models, the Volvo BM name was dropped in favour of the Valmet brand.