We’re taking a look back in time to our 40 Series loaders! Rolling off the assembly line in 1981, the Bobcat 40 Series gave customers what they’d been waiting for — a loader with a larger frame size. The 843, along with the 743, built off the 30 Series’ success by improving serviceability, operator safety, durability and performance for new markets and applications. Both machines featured liquid-cooled diesel engines.
A tip-up operator cab with an integral seat pan provided access to the 40 Series’ hydraulic components. For clean and easy maintenance, the new loaders featured an oil drain hose at the back of the engine compartment as well as a heavy duty, dual element air filter and a spin-on hydraulic oil filter — both easily accessible through the wide-open tailgate. On sales calls, Bobcat sales specialists often demonstrated the serviceability of the machines by carrying a ¾-inch wrench and removing just two nuts to roll back the cab in under a minute!
Loaders have been equipped with safety belts since the 1960s, but the 40 Series’ innovative new seat bar provided additional operator safety — and doubled as an armrest. Operators had to pull down the seat bar before they could activate the foot pedals that controlled the machine’s hydraulic lift and tilt functions. When combined, the safety belt and seat bar were unmatched in operator convenience and comfort. Bobcat Company was so confident in the new safety system that it offered the seat bar design to the equipment industry at no charge. Other manufacturers either adopted the seat bar or developed something like it.
Durability & Performance Features
A “bowtie” chaincase configuration meant 40 Series machines required no chain adjustments, setting Bobcat equipment apart from the industry. The 743’s #80 high strength (HS) drive chain and the 843’s #100 HS drive chain lent the machines durability. To reduce stress on the structure, engineers mounted the 40-Series gearbox to the transmission and attached the drive motor. They also designed a stronger Bob-Tach attachment mounting system to meet increasingly tough applications and added new hinges and a secure latching mechanism to the 3/8-inch steel tailgate to keep the machines working hard.
Did you know?
The 36 hp Bobcat 743 was the most popular loader model in history. At its peak, factory production of that model was equal to all others in the lineup, and one out of every four loaders sold worldwide was a 743.
- The 743 retailed for the same price — $16,650 U.S. SLP — between March 1983 and September 1990, at which time the price actually decreased on the 743B, dropping to $14,950. That pricing model was true for all Bobcat loaders during the decade-long period starting shortly after the 1980s Recession.
- Bobcat Company achieved the price-hold by working closely with suppliers, sometimes bringing in-house the manufacturing of components that had been previously out-sourced (or vice-versa). The resulting steady increase in factory volume allowed for more automation and productivity improvements, which offset wage and material cost increases.
- As a result, operators adopted the skid-steer loader into every industry segment as the low-cost solution of choice. The longer prices held steady, the more irresistible the skid-steer value proposition became, eventually displacing tractor-loader-backhoes and landscape compact tractors.