Classic Forklift Friday – 1984 Caterpillar T50C

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IMG_2386In 1984 the average movie ticket was $2.50, a gallon of gasoline would set you back $1.10, Sony made the first floppy disk, and MTV started their music awards.  1984 was also the year Caterpillar manufactured this forklift and the lucky star of this week’s Class Forklift Friday.

The Caterpillar T50C is a distant ancestor of today’s Caterpillar 5,000 lb cushion model, the Caterpillar 2C5000, which may be the most popular forklift in America.  It is the workhorse of many warehouses and facilities handling pallets.  Grocery chains, distributions centers, warehouses, third party logistics, and the neighborhood hardware stores may all utilize a Caterpillar 2C5000.  30 years ago, the Caterpillar T50C would have been in all of those applications and not much has changed in the basic design.

As with most of our Classic Forklifts, this T50C is in remarkably good condition for the age.  This is no longer a surprise for us when we receive these vintage trade-ins.  The customer that takes great care of their equipment should be able to use that piece of equipment for over 20 years.  The contrast between this machine and the 3 year old C5000 with 10,000 hours is incredible.  The newer C5000 could have come from a rough application with a couple rodeo clowns as operators.  The machine could be leaking, badly damaged, and almost ready for the scrapyard!

Unfortunately, there is not much of a market for a machine that is 30 years old even in good condition.  While fully functioning and in need of little repairs, it is just too old to resell most of the time.


1984 Caterpillar T50C

Cushion tires

LP Gas powered

5,000 lb capacity

159″ two stage mast with Full Free Lift

42″ forks

No attachment

10,364 hours


Other than the age of this forklift the other specifications that hurt the resale value are the two stage mast and lack of an attachment.  Most applications that utilize a 5,000 lb capacity cushion forklift will also require a triple stage mast and at least a sideshift attachment.  This forklift has neither, which will hurt it’s resale value.

That being said, there are a few times when a two stage mast and no attachment are a benefit for a potential customer.  For example, when the operator has to have maximum visability of the load he or she is handling.  The two stage mast has one less section so it is easier for the operator to see through the mast.  Attachments de-rate the machine’s capacity so the forklift will be able to handle 5,000 lbs rather than approx. 4,500 lbs if it had the sideshift attachment.

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