Tales from Wales: Josephine Roberts offers a personal insight into what's in vogue for tractor collectors over in Blighty!
A grey Ferguson tractor complete with finger-bar mower. So popular and successful was the “little grey Fergie” that at one time almost every farm had one. Today the Fergie is the tractor you’re most likely to see in large numbers at vintage events. A petrol/TVO model can be purchased for less than £1,000 ($2,035 U.S.), making it one of the more affordable vintage tractors available in the U.K.
U.K. plowing matches feature special classes for Ferguson tractors with Ferguson plows. Some say that the Ferguson was not the best of plows and that is why it is given a separate class.
A 3-cylinder Massey-Ferguson 35, with its headlights in what I refer to as the Mickey Mouse position. The 3-cylinder models are far more collectible here than the 4-cylinder variety, solely because the 4-cylinder model is considered to be a poor starter. Many U.K. collectors favor original, unrestored tractors like this.
A Fordson Major. Until recently, these tractors were commonly seen on small farms and smallholdings throughout the United Kingdom. Now however, like other tractors from the early 1960s, they are more often seen at shows and plowing matches than at work on the farm.
The Field Marshall (this model a 1947 Series 2) is one of the most eye-catching of tractors regularly spotted at vintage shows. The unmistakable “thump-thump” of the single-cylinder engine never fails to get the attention of passersby. Even in its day, the Field Marshall wasn’t a tractor the average farmer owned. They tended to be owned by contractors and were more often used to power threshing machines than perform everyday farm work. I’d still like to own one just the same, even if it was just to go shopping on!
A restored David Brown 25D, probably dating to the mid-1950s. David Brown was another popular tractor of its era, with the Cropmaster model (similar to this but with cowling around the dash and usually sporting a double seat) being the most favored.
The Fordson Model N. Not since the days of trailed implements has the Model N been in regular farm work. Like the grey Fergie, it was another very popular tractor here. Today the Fordson is frequently seen in plowing matches, painted green (as shown here) or a rather lurid shade of orange used until World War II, when it was decided the tractors would be safer from bombs if they were painted a more discreet shade. This 1941 model belongs to and is driven by my brother Pete, a great fan of these particular tractors.
A Fordson E27N: In my view, a seriously good looking tractor. My late father, however, who regularly drove a tractor like this, said they were rather underpowered and temperamental – unless you happened to be lucky enough to own a model with a Perkins conversion.
My brother Bob, topping a neighbor’s field with his 1972 Zetor 5545 made in the Czech Republic. Tractors of the 1970s haven’t quite reached collectible status yet and those from eastern Europe are among the most inexpensive around. For that reason, they are frequently seen at work on small farms in the U.K. Bob reckons 1970s tractors have an appeal of their own, but give me a 1950s tractor any day!