Sometimes, products that aren’t deemed a success when they are introduced find new life once given a second chance. Consider the story of one Magnum III from Loral, for example.
In the early 2000s, Scott Johnson of Johnson Brothers Grain and Livestock in Afton, OK, came across an old Loral Magnum III three-wheeler at Marquis Fertilizer. Dating back to 1990, the unit had seen better days and was in need of work. But there was something about the unit that intrigued Johnson, so he purchased it.
“It was quite a conversation piece in our area as most people have never seen one or even knew that Loral built a three wheeler,” he says.
For the next couple of years, Johnson spent time restoring the Magnum III to its original condition. This included a 2,000-gallon product tank, 100-gallon rinse tank, 2-inch boom lines, and a 4-inch product pump.
The Magnum III went back into service for Johnson Brothers in 2003 and has performed extremely well for the company. “It is a very nice piece of equipment to operate and will do a tremendous amount of work,” says Johnson. “I would be interested to know some history of these machines and how many were built.”
In two words, Scott, not many. CropLife IRON contacted Pat Kellner, regional sales manager for Willmar and Spra-Coupe for AGCO Corp., to find out more about the brief history of the Magnum III. Kellner worked for Loral during the 1980s, before the company was purchased by AGCO, and remembers the Magnum III well.
“Loral developed the Magnum III to compete with the Big A and TerraGator in the late 1980s,” says Kellner. “Unfortunately, the ag economy at the time took a turn for the worse, Loral ended up in Chapter 11, and the brand never really caught on.” Between 1989 and 1992, he adds, Loral succeeded in selling only 42 Magnum IIIs.
By the time Loral emerged from Chapter 11 with a new owner, the Magnum III was replaced with a more traditional looking four wheel floater called the Magnum IV.
Today, Magnum III are very rare indeed. “But they were great machines, really ahead of their time in terms of performance and design,” says Kellner. “I’m not surprised to hear that one of them is still being a workhorse for someone out in the market.”