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Manitou Americas Celebrates 50 Years of Mustang Skid Steer Loaders

Manitou Americas Celebrates 50 Years of Mustang Skid Steer Loaders

In 1965, Owatonna Manufacturing Company (today a part of Manitou Americas, Inc., a leading manufacturer of compact earthmoving and material handling equipment), began designing and manufacturing its own line of skid steer loaders. They were the second manufacturer to develop skid steer loaders, at that time known as “self-propelled, four-wheel drive units,” starting with the Owatonna Mustang Series 1000.

The Mustang legacy of innovation continues 50 years later with one of the most complete skid steer loader lines on the market. Today, a complete offering of eight radial-lift and three vertical-lift models, including the 4000V, the world’s most powerful skid steer loader, are offered under the Mustang brand name,

“The Mustang brand is built on a foundation of designing and producing powerful, easy-touse skid steers,” said Dan Miller, CEO of Manitou Americas and President of the Manitou Group CEP-Compact Equipment Division. “Our task for the future is to incorporate new features and technology, yet still maintain the durability and integrity our customers have come to expect from the Mustang brand.”

To carry the success of the skid steer loader line into the future, Manitou Americas, Inc. continues the tradition of developing equipment to match the demands of its core customers in the agriculture, construction, landscape and rental markets. In 2009, an investment in a state-of-the-art Research and Design facility in West Bend, Wisconsin paved the way for future innovation and durability testing.

“We are very proud of our 50 years of experience in designing and manufacturing the Mustang skid steer loader,” said Lori Heidecker, Marketing Director. “The Mustang brand skid steer loader is known by its dealers and customers to be one of the most durable, reliable, and innovative in the market today. With the roots of the Mustang brand beginning in 1888 in the agriculture industry in Owatonna, Minnesota, Manitou Americas is dedicated to delivering the highest quality, innovative skid steers to customers across the globe today and into the future”.


The Mustang brand has roots dating back to 1888. Known in the early years as the Owatonna Manufacturing Company, OMC manufactured a variety of agricultural implements. For decades, farmers easily recognized the OMC paint colors of lime green and red on grain drills, seeders, elevators and balers.

In 1965, the company developed its first skid-steer, the Mustang. The term “skid-steer” wasn’t used at that time, so the company called it a “self-propelled, four-wheel drive unit.” It was also known as the Owatonna Mustang Series 1000.

Even by today’s standards, the Series 1000 was good size. Designed to do the job of much larger machines, it featured a 30-hp Wisconsin air-cooled engine and was one of the most powerful compact machines available in the 1960’s. With a rated lift capacity of 1,200 lbs. and a turning radius of 45 inches, the Mustang Series 1000 was used on farms, construction sites, parks and landscaping projects.

The machine featured a multi-disc transmission and drive system that provided smooth operation. The multi-disc clutches had nine working surfaces with heavy-duty separator springs. The entire drive and transmission system was encased in an oil reservoir for cooler and cleaner operation.

The hydraulic system used a 10-gpm pump with a full system relief valve at 2,000 psi. The engine featured stellate valves and positive valve rotators. A dry-type air cleaner and oil filter were standard equipment. In addition, the Series 1000 operated on a 12-volt electrical system and had an enclosed starter and industrial alternator.

In 1997, the Mustang brand was sold to the Gehl Company, headquartered in West Bend, Wisconsin. Manufacturing facilities were consolidated into Gehl’s South Dakota plant.

Today, Mustang is known throughout the world for a superior line of skid steer loaders. In fact, Mustang offers one of the broadest lines of compact construction equipment available from a single brand. In addition to eleven skid steer loaders, the product portfolio currently consists of five compact zero-tail-swing excavators and three track loaders.

Throughout the years, the dedication to the skid steer product has never changed. Product updates included more powerful engines, higher lift heights and compact dimensions. The Mustang brand skid steer loader has consistently evolved, answering customer demands for a reliable and adaptable machine.

Company info

1 Gehl Way
West Bend, WI
US, 53095


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