Double-Take: A Ferguson 40 Utility and Massey-Harris 50 Utility

Minnesota collector's Ferguson 40 and Massey-Harris 50 are essentially the same tractor with different names.

| May 2015

  • The grille of the 1956 Ferguson 40 Utility
    The grille on Mark's 1956 Ferguson 40 Utility is original, discovered in a salvage yard only after he had a replacement made.
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • 1956 Ferguson 40 Utility
    The B-134 Continental engine on the 40 Utility was the same engine used on early versions of the 1956 Ferguson 40 Utility, 1956 Massey-Harris 50 Utility and Massey Ferguson 50 Utility.
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • 1956 Ferguson 40 Utility
    Mark made sure he painted the 40 Utility in its secondary original color, flint gray metallic.
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • 1956 Ferguson 40 Utility
    The beautiful beige color of the 1956 Ferguson 40 Utility shows up nicely in this photo. Note that the tractor's hood is not the single-piece construction that was used on the 1956 Massey-Harris 50 Utility and early Massey Ferguson 50 Utility models.
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • Restored 1956 Ferguson 40 Utility
    The restored 1956 Ferguson 40 Utility. Power steering was offered as an option on the Model 40, but Mark's tractor doesn't have it.
    Photo courtesy Mark Aschenbrenner
  • Myron Aschenbrenner driving the 1956 Massey-Harris 50 Utility
    Mark's son, Myron, at the wheel of the correctly painted and completely restored Massey-Harris 50 Utility.
    Photo courtesy Mark Aschenbrenner
  • 1956 Massey-Harris 50 Utility
    The bronze color shown on this 1956 Massey-Harris 50 Utility is the factory-correct color.
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • Side view of the 1956 Massey-Harris 50 Utility
    This side view of Mark Aschenbrenner's 1956 Massey-Harris 50 Utility shows the rich hues of the tractor's correct color palette.
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • Front view of the 1956 Massey-Harris 50 Utility
    Front view of Mark Aschenbrenner's 1956 Massey-Harris 50 Utility.
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • 1956 Ferguson 40 Utility front end
    The front end of Mark's 1956 Ferguson 40 Utility needed extra attention during restoration.
    Photo courtesy Mark Aschenbrenner
  • Operator's area on the 1956 Massey-Harris 50 Utility
    The operator's area on Mark's 1956 Massey-Harris 50 Utility.
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • 1956 Massey-Harris 50 Utility 3-point hitch
    Mark has a variety of implements for the 3-point hitch on his 1956 Massey-Harris 50 Utility tractor, including a hay rake and 2-bottom plow.
    Photo by Bill Vossler

  • The grille of the 1956 Ferguson 40 Utility
  • 1956 Ferguson 40 Utility
  • 1956 Ferguson 40 Utility
  • 1956 Ferguson 40 Utility
  • Restored 1956 Ferguson 40 Utility
  • Myron Aschenbrenner driving the 1956 Massey-Harris 50 Utility
  • 1956 Massey-Harris 50 Utility
  • Side view of the 1956 Massey-Harris 50 Utility
  • Front view of the 1956 Massey-Harris 50 Utility
  • 1956 Ferguson 40 Utility front end
  • Operator's area on the 1956 Massey-Harris 50 Utility
  • 1956 Massey-Harris 50 Utility 3-point hitch

Double-takes are a dime a dozen when people view a unique tractor pair put together by Mark Aschenbrenner, Courtland, Minnesota. The two tractors look identical, but in fact they’re different: a 1956 Ferguson 40 Utility and a 1956 Massey-Harris 50 Utility. Mark has no trouble keeping them straight: He grew up with the Ferguson.

“I didn’t grow up on a farm,” he explains, “but I did help on two farms in the New Ulm, Minnesota, area, baling, pulling hay wagons back and forth. In those days, there weren’t as many big tractors around as there are now. My family had smaller tractors, including a pair of Fords.”

After a few years, the Aschenbrenner family needed something a little bigger than those Ford 8Ns – something with a little more power, and a live PTO. A friend put them on to the 1956 Ferguson 40 Utility. “We ran a few head of cattle and had 15 acres that was mainly pasture,” Mark says, “so we used the Ferguson for baling and cleaning out the barn. We also loaned it out to others who wanted to use it to bale hay. It really never did any field work other than cutting hay.”

When the Aschenbrenners bought the Model 40 in 1971, it still had its original paint and a loader. People who saw the beige tractor referred to it as a Massey Ferguson, and said it should be red. So Mark painted it DuPont red.



After Mark bought his own place and got married, his dad got interested in collecting what Mark candidly refers to as junk. “The Ferguson was used for a lot of loading and unloading,” he says, “and Dad was not the greatest at stepping on brakes, so the front end got banged in and it had a little bit of rust growing on it.”

Then Mark’s brother took over, using the Ferguson to move snow – until the bearing retainer bolts on one rear axle broke and the axle began to move out on him. “He almost lost that back wheel,” Mark says. “He got it back in and parked it in the shed. There were only six bolts holding that bearing retainer in the end of the axle. In a subsequent upgrade they increased the number of bolts, using 10 or 12 to keep it on.”



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