Tales from Wales: In which Josephine Roberts tells the story of how she came to acquire her rusty, temperamental, yet devilishly handsome, David Brown tractor.
Close-up shot of the David Brown tractor’s serial number plate.
There is some seriously boggy ground up here in Snowdonia and it’s very easy to get stuck. A small, light tractor like the David Brown is handy, as is a neighbor with a 4-wheel drive tractor for those moments when you get it wrong and have to be pulled out.
The tractor starts on petrol, but when it has warmed up, a tap can be turned to allow it to run on another tank containing TVO. Tractor vaporizing oil can no longer be purchased here, so we use our own “recipe”: 1 gallon of petrol to 4 gallons of “28-second” kerosene, plus half a pint of diesel thrown in for lubrication and good measure.
At the wheel of my David Brown tractor.
Unfortunately our little paddock is home to rather a lot of moles this winter, and we have to flatten the molehills out as regularly as time allows. The chain harrow is ideal for this, and we leave the back box on the tractor while we harrow because it enables us to carry the harrow down the road afterward.
The base the seat sits on had almost completely rotted away and a copy had to be made. I always wanted a tractor with a “bottom-shaped” seat and now I have one!
Not a problem for the smaller person, dismounting requires some squeezing between levers.
Alistair and I differ as regards the question of painting the tractor. I prefer it as it is, but he thinks it looks uncared for and that we should spray it the bright red color it would have been when new.
Whilst the David Brown tractor certainly can’t be described as restored, we have given it quite a service. Apart from repairing the mudguards, manifold and radiator, we also fitted a new seat base, brake shoes, linings, rods, springs and kingpin bushes. All the oils were drained and the filters were replaced, for the first time in what looked like 50 years! We also bought new front tires and secondhand ones for the back.