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Vintage Tractors Page 2

International Tractor

International Harvester was formed in 1902 by the merger of McCormick and Deering, and the fledgling company initially sold just 2 tractors. The Type A was launched in 1906 in 12, 15 & 20hp sizes, followed by the Type B which was made until 1916. Powered by paraffin, the 45hp Mogul 8-16 (marketed by McCormick in the USA) was launched in 1916 and the 22hp Titan 10-20 (marketed by Deering) in 1918. Both were sold in Britain quite successfully. More than 78,000 Titans were made until the Junior 10-20 followed in the 1920s, with the later 10-20 model being produced at least until 1939.

The Farmall name was introduced in 1924 with the Regular model. The range was updated in 1932, with the addition of F12, F20 and F30 models all being row-crop tractors with adjustable wheel-track, based on the Regular. Initially in the traditional grey, the livery was changed in 1936 to a bright red, which was to be the norm for the next four decades. The reason for this change was two-fold, firstly to make them more attractive to potential buyers, and secondly, to make them more visible on the roads with ever-increasing traffic levels. These tractors were still on steel wheels and the F14 replaced the F12 in the mid 30s. Tractors were also marketed under McCormick-Deering and International brands, the W-series being launched in the late 1930s. Their first crawler tractor was unveiled in 1928 and was known as the TracTracTor, being renamed as the T20 in 1931.

The Farmall range was modernised and expanded during the 1940s and 1950s and included models such as the Cub, A, C, BM, M, etc. They were updated in the early 1950s, being designated Super models. In the post-wars years, IH followed other manufacturers such as Allis Chalmers and Fordson in opening factories in Britain, with a plant at Doncaster. The Farmall Cub was also made in France with a rounded bonnet compared to the more angular American version. Electrics and PTOs were often optional extras in this period with many models still being equipped with belt-pulleys for driving machinery.

Models continued to be developed during the 60s and 70s with a distinctive International identity, with the red-and-white 414 and 584 models typical of British models. Some of the smaller horticultural models such as the Cub and Cub Cadet changed livery again in the 1960s to a smart yellow and white scheme, but as the company entered the 1980s, the economic crisis that loomed was to have far-reaching consequences. In 1982, losses amounted to $1.6 billion and in 1984 the company who controlled Case tractors took over to form Case IH.

John Deere Tractor

The history of the massive John Deere company dates back to 1837 when the 33-year old pioneer blacksmith from Vermont designed a self-polishing plough in his shop in Illinois. However, it was his son Charles who went on to expand the company started by his father, producing a whole range of agricultural implements until his death in 1907. However, it wasn't until 1918 when the company acquired the Waterloo Gasoline Engine Company that tractors became part of their offering. This was the start of the modern John Deere company.

The Waterloo Boy Model N tractor was kept on in production until 1924, slightly overlapping the introduction of the 2-eylinder Model D. many other manufacturers were offering 4-cylinder machines but JD's astute business sense saw that the post-war tractor boom was over and designed the 2-cylinder engine for ease and economy of maintenance. The basic design, albeit continually upgraded, remained in production until 1953 when about 160,000 units had been produced.

A range of row-crop tractors was introduced in 1928 and were known as the GeneralPurpose or GP models. The Model A was produced between 1934-1952 and was a tricycle design for row-crop work, with over 328,000 being made. The smaller Model B was produced between 1935-1952, including a crawler version during the 1940s. However, the basic range had changed little in the years up to 1937, with their "unstyled" tractors looking old-fashioned compared to the stylised offerings from other manufacturers. The Models A & B were restyled in 1937, followed by the D & H models in 1939, and the G in 1942. By this time, pneumatic tyres were being fitted as standard, although the rubber shortage in the later years of the war forced a return to steel wheels.

In the immediate post-war years, JD replaced the H, LA & L with the Model M in 1947. This was closely followed by the MC crawler & MT (tricycle) in 1949. Production of both models reached 70,000 before their demise in 1952. The first diesel-engined tractor, the Model R, was introduced in 1949, and was the last tractor to carry a letter name before the switch to numerical designations. This was the replacement for the D and continued until 1954.

The 20 Series was introduced in the mid 1950s, followed by the Series in 1958, plus the 40, 50, 60, 70 & 80 Series all followed during the 50s & 60s. The 50 & 60 Series replaced the B & A respectively in 1952 while the 80 Series replaced theModel R. In 1959, the first 4-wheel drive variant was introduced and the end of the 1950s saw John Deere expand world-wide with manufacturing bases in Mexico and Germany. To this day, the company has built a reputation based on "Nothing runs like a Deere".

Massey Ferguson Tractor

Massey Harris was formed in 1891 in Toronto, Canada, and really got into tractor manufacture in the late 1920s. One of the earliest four-wheel-drive tractors was the Massey Harris General Purpose of 1930, and the Model 25 was a popular model through the 30s & 40s, as was the 101. The Massey Harris Challenger of 1936 was the last design to carry over the Wallis tractor green livery before the Red & Straw-yellow scheme became standard in the mid 1930s.

After W.W.II, the Challenger evolved into the Model 44, and was later joined by the 11, 20, 30 & 55. The 30 featured a 5-speed transmission and more than 32,000 were made before the 1953 merger with Ferguson. The tractor built in the highest volumes prior to the merger was the Pony which proved popular in overseas markets, but not in its home North American market where it was considered too small for many applications. Canadian production ceased in 1954, but production carried on in France from 1951 including a Hanomag diesel-engined 820 variant from 1957. It was revised again in 1959, becoming the 821. Total production exceeded 121,000 units over a 10-year period with 90,000 being produced in France.

The post-war Model 44 had been a big success in America with 90,000 being produced. This model became the 744 when European production commenced in Manchester in 1948 and later moved to Kilmarnock, although this was mainly assembly of imported components. Approximately 17,000 were made plus another 11,000 of the Perkins diesel-engined 745 before production ceased in 1957. That year also marked the company's renaming as Massey Ferguson.

Up to this point, Massey Harris had neglected tractor development in favour of its combine harvesters, but the merger suddenly elevated its position in the market place. For a number of years, the two ranges ran side-by-side as both names had loyal followers. For instance, the Ferguson 35 was revamped and sold under different names in both ranges.

After 1957, a unified range was presented under the Massey Ferguson banner, using a red-&-grey livery, the first of which was the MF35. MF50, 65 & 75 models followed, and the MF35 was updated to the more angular MF135 in the early 1970s. Other models followed suit and gradually through the 70s and 80s tractors increased in size, as indeed did the parallel range of combines. MF carried on Harry Ferguson's legacy of implement design with a comprehensive range of equipment, including muck-spreaders and balers.

Nuffield Tractor

Nuffield tractors was formed by Mr William Morris, like Henry Ford, a man who initially made his name in the car market. From as early as 1926, he did quite a lot of research on firstly crawler and then wheeled tractors. By 1946, a dozen prototypes were being tested in Lincolnshire and this resulted in the launch of the Nuffield Universal at the Smithfield Show in 1948. There were two versions, the M4 and the M3 each denoting the number of wheels. Both had 3-point linkage, drawbar and PTO as standard.

The engines were based on the wartime Morris Commercial units and were started on petrol and switched over to paraffin when warm. A Perkins diesel engine was added later and when Austin & Morris were to merge to form British Motor Corporation, a home-grown engine was used. The Universal 3 (3-cylinder) was added to the range in 1957 and the 4/60 (4-cylinder 60hp) came along in 1960. Both these models were face-lifted in 1964 to become the 10-42 and 10-60 models, and production was moved from Cowley to Scotland.

Smaller models were added to the range such as the petrol-engined Mini and the diesel 4-25 model. In 1967, following the merger of Austin-Morris, the models were renamed as BMC but before the public could adjust to the new name, BMC changed its name to British Leyland Motor Corporation and the livery changed from the bright Nuffield orange to the Leyland metallic blue. Production of Leyland tractors finished in the early 1980s with the sale of the business to the Nickerson organisation.

 Oliver Tractor

The Oliver Chilled Plow Company had originally been founded in 1855 by a Scottish immigrant James Oliver who had patented a plough which gave long-life and toughness. Oliver Farm Equipment Sales Company was formed in 1929 from the merger of five different companies, including Hart-Parr, who already produced tractors. Soon after the merger, work began on developing a range of tractors which were based on Oliver's own designs, Type A & B row-crop prototypes.

Oliver pioneered the use of laterally-adjustable rear wheel track to suit different crop spacing but other manufacturers were quick to latch on to this development and soon followed suit. Tractors were available in Standard, Western, Ricefield and Orchard versions and made until 1937. These models migrated into the Oliver Hart-Parr Models 70 & 90 in the late 1930s, and carried a pale-green livery with yellow trim & red wheels.

The Hart-Parr suffix was dropped in 1937 and the Model 80 was introduced in 1940, but this carried the older Hart-Parr influenced dark-green livery, and was indeed an old-fashioned tractor compared to the 90. A smaller model, the 60, was also introduced in 1940, and in 1944, Oliver acquired Cletrac, which itself had taken over Avery previously. One particular model in the Oliver range, the 90 with its modern streamlined looks and powerful smooth engine, sold well in excess of expectations and continued until 1952, when it became the 99.

In 1948, to celebrate 100 years of trading under the Oliver name, the company introduced the Fleetline range of 66, 77 & 88 models, which featured new grilles and tinwork. With a range of diesel, petrol & petrol/paraffin engines, plus PTO as standard, but alas no hydraulics, there was a solution for most applications within the range. The Super series of 44, 55, 66, 77, 88 & 99 followed during the 1950s, and carried a lighter green & white livery.

In 1960, Oliver was acquired by White Motor Corporation which also bought Cockshutt & Minneapolis-Moline soon after, and eventually merged to form White Farm Equipment. The Oliver Super range introduced in 1955 carried on into the early 1970s, eventually being fitted with angular-shaped cabs, more than a decade after White took over. Both companies were ultimately absorbed into AGCO.