No your eyes are not playing tricks on you, it's real! The I2 has become a sort of urban legend among Elec-Trak collectors. No one I know
had actualy seen one and there were as many people who believed it never existed as those who believed there actually was one. The fact
is, the I2 had been pictured in a few G.E. publications although many may have looked right at it and missed it but there was indeed such
a model. If one researches all of the available literature however, no where in any G.E. publications was it
ever mentioned and all the announcement materials for the first industrial version of the Elec-Trak credited
Shortly after the launch of this web site I received an email out of the blue from a fellow in New York who was selling some Elec-Trak items and he also said he had an I2 he was considering selling. That got my attention! I asked him to send me some photos and sure enough- it was indeed an I2! After asking for it's serial number I determined it was built on June 18th, 1971 (sequence number 043) - almost a year and a half before the first I5's came off the assembly line in the Fall of 1972.
What I have come to believe is the I1 and the I2 were prototypes G.E. had built while developing the I5, hence the serial number and manufacturing date. If you remember, Apollo 1 ended with tragedy on the launch pad January 27, 1967. Apollo 7 finally launced October 11, 1968. There were numerous iterations of the vehicle in between, so I believe was the case with the G.E. "I" series.
It took more than a little convincing but in the end he agreed to sell me this amazing treasure. He was pretty sentimental over it as it was his father's tractor who he had watched use it many years. His father had bought it off an ex-G.E. employee. The employee had brought it home from the plant in pieces (sounds like a Johnny Cash song!) probably due to restrictions in the size car he had. His father brought it home just as it was found, assembled it and used it for years. Believe it or not it actually had a Wheel Horse decal on the side of it and he had peeled it off to reveal the I2 decal below it- probably ended up actually preserving it. Back as early as June of 1971 it appears as if G.E. had made up it's mind early on the final color of the industrial series as orange seems to be the original color of the tractor with the excemption of the rear battery box which was yellow, painted over with orange. I will be posting more pictures soon and you will see it had the old 1971 style seat, different fenders (not shown in these photos), different forklift Overhead Gaurd brackets and the serial number is found under the hood like the "E" series instead of on top of the dash like the I5. I'll also be giving the tractor a complete going over to compare other unique I5 features to this "early edition"- more details to come!
Use the zoom and rotate features of your Adobe Reader to examine the following pubs and check out the tractor's decals closely.