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When the machinery was shipped to Cork, Ireland, to build the
Irish models, some reports suggest that the first Fords produced
there had gray bodies with black wheels. The response was
apparently negative, and the decision was made to revert to red
wheels. But when the English Ford N came out of the plant at
Dagenham, England, in 1932, a new scheme was unveiled: dark blue
body with orange wheels.
That color scheme continued until 1938, when the decision was
made to paint the tractors (body and wheels) yellow-orange. During
the early years of World War II, however, the bright-color Fordsons
were easy targets for German bombers. The decision was quickly made
to paint all British Fordsons (new and old) green. The camouflage
worked: The tractors blended in with the countryside and further
tractor losses were minimized.
After hostilities ceased, Fordson returned briefly to the
pre-war scheme of blue body and orange wheels, until 1953, when the
Fordson Major Diesels were introduced. On that model, the body was
light blue and the wheels were light orange. Finally, until the end
of Fordson production, the wheels became the light gray of the Ford
tractors of the same years. Actually, the Fordson Super Major of
1964 was the same color as the Ford 5000.
Today, collectible Fordsons are subject to the whims of their
owners. Some, collected by purists, are shown in their correct
colors. Other collectors, less bound by convention, adopt different
palettes. Either way, one has to admit that these Fordsons in
non-standard colors are pretty!
- Jack Heald is national director of the Fordson Tractor
Club. Contact him at 250 Robinson Road, Cave Junction, OR 97523;
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