British Collector Builds Around American Tractors

UK tractor enthusiast’s collection of American tractors is an exotic sight across the ocean.

| December 2017

  • One of Ben Hughes’ past tractors: an Allis-Chalmers D272. The name might be American, but this tractor was built in Lincolnshire, England.
    Photo by Josephine Roberts
  • Ben’s first tractor: a very temperamental E27N.
    Photo by Josephine Roberts
  • Ben on a Massey-Harris 22 he once owned.
    Photo by Josephine Roberts
  • Ben’s very understanding wife, Stephanie, with the couple’s son, Finley.
    Photo by Josephine Roberts
  • Some of Ben’s tractors, past and present.
    Photo by Josephine Roberts
  • The McCormick-Deering W-4 is a workmanlike tractor with no frills, just a handsome machine that still looks capable of a good day’s work.
    Photo by Josephine Roberts
  • Ben’s favourite tractor of the six in his collection is his 1946 McCormick-Deering WD-9. Not only is it an unusual sight here in the U.K., but it is also quite a beast of a tractor, fast on the roads, with an engine that runs sweetly. Beautiful to drive, with nice light steering and it starts easily: What’s not to like?
    Josephine Roberts
  • A Cockshutt 30 is the most recent addition to the Hughes stable. Ben saw it on eBay for sale at a reasonable price and decided that it was far too interesting to pass up. There’s a striking and attractive contrast between the tractor’s worn patina and its sleek, streamlined shape.
    Photo by Josephine Roberts
  • When the Cockshutt 70 came along, Ben was attracted by its unusual look.
    Photo by Josephine Roberts
  • One thing Ben’s American tractor collection lacked was a bit of green. Recently he sold his McCormick-Deering W-6, replacing it with this 1944 John Deere B.
    Photo by Josephine Roberts
  • The only British-built tractor in Ben’s collection is this 1969 Massey Ferguson 165. Ben finds it a useful tractor (he’s used it to tow other tractors to shows), but he feels that it lacks the character of the old American machines.
    Photo by Josephine Roberts
  • Ben Hughes tends to alter his tractor collection regularly, but whilst other tractors have come and gone, he’s hung onto this 1952 McCormick-Deering W-4. Ben loves the unrestored look of this tractor, as he feels the faded paint adds to its character and tells something of the life it’s had.
    Photo by Josephine Roberts

Ben Hughes of Cheshire, England, works as a quantity surveyor for oil cargoes. In his free time, he tinkers with old tractors and attends vintage shows.

Ben has been a fan of old tractors since an early age. As a young lad, he and his father used to tinker with a Fordson E27N that they named Trevor. However, Trevor was highly unreliable and in dire need of restoration, so the father and son sold him. Since then, Ben’s eye has been caught by slightly more exotic tractors, namely those hailing from the U.S. and Canada. They might be commonplace to you folks, but to us, they are exotic!

Doing his homework

These days there is a definite theme to Ben’s tractor collection. He has a real passion for old American tractors, particularly those dating to the 1940s and ’50s. As he is always on the lookout for something different to add, his collection is constantly evolving.

“When it comes to tractors, I like the thrill of the chase,” Ben admits. He enjoys researching and sourcing various tractor makes and models, and then he tries to source what he’s looking for. Being based in the U.K., he sometimes finds that the range of old American tractors available locally can be a little limited. 

However, Ben has a really good contact, namely Lyn Jones, also known as L&L Vintage Tractors of West Wales. Lyn has a vast array of American tractors and an ever-changing lineup of recently imported machines for sale. Lyn’s place is a paradise for any local fan of American tractors. Ben is frequently in contact with Lyn, and just as often tempted by many of the exciting finds Lyn has tracked down and imported.

Ben’s tractor collection is a work in progress. If he’s owned a certain tractor for a time and feels he’s had his fun with it, he will look for something to replace it with. Recently he sold a couple of Farmall tractors in order to make space for a couple of Cockshutt tractors, as they are a bit more unusual here in the U.K.


Farm Collector April 16Farm Collector is a monthly magazine focusing on antique tractors and all kinds of antique farm equipment. If it's old and from the farm, we're interested in it!

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