In the summer of 1977, word was spreading among the citizens of Montana that the world’s largest track-type tractor was being tested in the western part of the state. Scores of people came to see it work. And everyone who did gaped in amazement at the behemoth, a pilot model of the new Cat® D10 Tractor. It was called the second largest tourist attraction in Montana that summer, for its popularity was second only to Yellowstone National Park – one of the world’s greatest natural wonders.
The dozer was working on a highway project in western Montana. Truckers, tourists, and anyone else who’d heard of the Cat D10 — as well as others who had no idea what they'd come upon — pulled to the side of Interstate Highway 90 to watch the unbelievably large machine do its work. Spectators stood in awe of the new Cat D10, the largest, most modern, and most powerful tractor in the world. But even more impressive was what they couldn’t see: the mighty machine featured new design concepts that made it a full 50 percent more productive than its predecessor, the Cat D9.
From its beginning, the product development story was one of exceptional teamwork. The revolutionary new dozer represented the best efforts of hundreds of Caterpillar people and six years of work.
Research and development began in 1971. Prototype testing started in 1973 at the Peoria and Arizona Proving Grounds. Pilot models were built at the East Peoria Plant, and the final product was eventually announced to the world on September 13, 1977.
The pilot machine in Montana - one of 10 working in varied job conditions across the United States — was leased to Goodfellow Bros. Construction Co. It was part of a critical preproduction test. Goodfellow operators only had one complaint: it did not have a place for a lunch box. We took their advice and made a space for one in the eventual production models, which rolled off the line in 1978. After all, an operator needs a lunch…right?
In the crucible of the mountains, the D10 ripped rocks beyond previous standards. It dozed like nothing ever had before. It set records push-loading scrapers. Pilot machines across the country rapidly won enthusiastic endorsements from job superintendents, foremen, and operators at test sites.
Forty years later customers still find the Cat D10 an awe-inspiring and economical machine. Today, the D10 can still be seen on roadways, at dam sites, or in mines, doing demanding jobs all over the world. You might even see one on your next vacation.