From the Chair October / November 2020 for Issue 99
The DVLA is reported to have a backlog processing both retained and age-related registration applications due to changes to working practices as a result of Covid-19 precautions. I have had reports that many are issued quite quickly but a few have faced delays of up to four months. As always it seems to depend on “who’s desk” the application lands; but it is particularly important that no mistakes are made when applying. The only advice I can offer to those waiting is to ‘phone the DVLA themselves.
The Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs (FBHVC):
As we are about to leave the European Union, legislation to combat air quality and climate change issues moves up the political agenda, and it is important that historic vehicle owner’s concerns are taken into account to prevent unnecessary curtailment of our rightful freedoms. The FBHVC to which the FFA is affiliated, continue to represent our interests with the government and other bodies and they have launched a survey, see their announcement below. Your views are important to protect our future freedom to enjoy our hobby, please make time to complete it.
Take part in the National Historic Vehicle Club Survey now.....
The historic vehicle community, its events, freedoms to use the roads and even the fuel we use, are under increasing threats and pressures amidst a changing landscape of political and environmental influences.
The answers you give in this survey, will help shape the future for historic vehicles within the United Kingdom for the next 5 years. It takes just 20 minutes and we have prizes on offer for those that complete it.
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From Around the Country:
Cambridgeshire Vintage Tractor Club Charity Road Run:
In aid of the NHS - report and organisation by Ray Parcell. On Sunday July 12th 107 tractors and others took part. Leaving Childerley Farm, not far from Bourn, we travelled through eleven villages to the lunch stop. In every village large crowds of people turned out to support us and were very generous with their donations which kept our collectors extremely busy.
After lunch we made our way to the top of Croydon Hill the highest point in South Cambs then turned into Croydon Wilds, a three mile very remote off-road section eventually bringing us out in Longstowe village. On to Bourn where again large crowds of people turned out to support us, before our second off-road section and back to the start.
Ken Bailey & 3000 enjoying the sunshine on Cambridge NHS Charity road run
Many makes of tractors took part. Ford & Fordsons were very prominent with excellent examples of Major, Dexta and 4000 series including two special Super Major conversions which were originally built by Auto-mower initially for Eve Construction for erecting pylon cables. Fitted with 8-ton winches and crane jibs the owner believes they were also used by logging contractors.
I do not know how many were built, I would think under fifty; perhaps somebody out there will know? Both belong to Josh King who says they are a bit of a handful on the road. A whopping £3,500 was donated for the NHS Charity and I would like to say a big thank you to all who took part.
John Skipper from Pembrokeshire reports on his year and hay making:
What a year this has been. The usual programme of shows abandoned and the premier Pembrokeshire Show cancelled until August 2021, we will have a stand there and I’ll keep you updated. The other aspect has been the weather; I farm organic hay and rely on rainfall during the growing months of April – June. Rain fell in buckets over winter, to be followed by three months of drought, the meadows became parched and the grass thin. Then it rained! A short window of dry between 19 – 22 July; I took the chance..
I can rely on my blue and red fighting machines: my 1964 NP Super Dexta and 1967 International 434. They work as a team and swap duties between mowing, tedding/rowing and baling. The little Dexta has a mighty, 3 cylinder heart in a small body and excels towing the Zweegers PZ haybob around and is more nimble on it’s feet than the 434. I even tried the Dexta on the New Holland 276 Hayliner this year; it managed well but its comparative low weight means the constant motion from the 276 in full flow creates conditions a bit like a destroyer on the North Atlantic convoys.
John Skipper's Blue & Red Fighting machines taking a break from hay making
On the final afternoon the Dexta towed over 550 good bales off the field to the barn, the farmer next door helping out by taking another 200 for his young stock over winter. That’s the way it works in South Wales: no money changes hands but we all work together – the Dexta having just returned from tedding 20 acres for haylage just up the road.
A Top Gear comparison, what’s best, 434 or Dexta? Heresy I suppose to have a red machine rather than a Ford, but my two work so well together. The 434 is a bit heavier and the Dexta with no front weights manages the mower better. But I find the Dexta’s gearbox slightly better spaced than the 434’s. Over five years of work neither has let me down, although the 434 tends to shed more lubricant than the Dexta. When fitting a new Dexta oil filter remember to remove the old top gasket before putting on the new one. I forgot this year and a gallon or so of oil on the yard was my reward.
A local dealer asked me if I’d like to trade in my Dexta for a nice new Siromer, more gizmos and wotsits, a bit more horsepower, etc etc. Decided in nano seconds that my loyalty is well-placed in Dennis the Dexta. 56 years old, he knows me and I know him, irreplaceable.
Whitwell Steam Rally Road Run 2020 - Saturday 25th July:
Dave Albon writes: For the past few years the road run has taken place towards the end of April but as with other steam and machinery rallies this year it had to be postponed and was rescheduled for 25th and 26th July, but that was not to be. Richard Hill and his team decided to put on a camp night on Friday 24th with the road run taking place the next day.
Some of the Ford tractors setting out on the Whitwell Charity road run
There was an excellent turnout of 107 vintage vehicles in total with 85 tractors of many different makes, including Ferguson, Massey Ferguson, Ford, Mercedes and others. There were also a couple of Bedford lorries early Range Rovers and 3 Minis all enjoying the day out. We set off on a 22-mile journey through some lovely Hertfordshire countryside with the help of a police escort. The starting point was the rally field in Codicote and we made our way to Knebworth with a slight hold up due to a small fire near Knebworth station, then into Stevenage and along the bypass of the old town. It was lovely to see so many people, young and old, standing on the pavements and roadsides waving and cheering as we went on our way. The halfway stop and lunch break took place at The Cricketers in Weston. After about an hour we started up our machinery ready for the return ride home passing through Little Wymondley and back to Codicote. When I reached Little Almshoe crossroads the rain started to come down and all of us driving tractors without a cab had a good soaking. It was a great day out and so nice to take part in a well organised event; they have been in short supply this year. Richard should be congratulated on organising the run and keeping it within the Governments guidelines which in itself was quite hard to do. The Road Run has so far raised £1236 for the Garden House Hospice which is what this was all about.
Andrew Green looks back to time in Oxfordshire:
The sorry tale of Covid continues but some positive signs of dare I say ‘a new normality’ are returning. This year the best we can hope for are road runs, ploughing and working events or gas-ups. I have to say that unless we see something miraculous that there will be no winter evening meetings.
I hope you have been enjoying my nostalgia corner ramblings and will continue with the conclusion of the Standard Fordson model N production in 1945. It had been around for quite a long time and was in urgent need of replacement. The short-term answer was the Fordson E27N and just to remind you the E stood for England, 27 for horsepower and N for tractor. It had a new back axle but retained the old transmission and engine from the N. It sold quite well but the tractor became even more successful when a six-cylinder engine became available in 1948, the Perkins P6, of 47hp. These P6 engines were also used as replacements for petrol/TVO engines. Production only ran for 6 years when the New Major was introduced in late 1951. Unfortunately, the old family photo archives do not have an E27N at work although the register showed delivery of one in March 1947 at a cost of £304, just after the very severe winter.
At long last, in 1951 the New Major the E1A arrived and it proved to be hugely successful. It basically used the same back end as the E27N with a high/low range box added but it had a completely new engine which could be fuelled by petrol, TVO or diesel producing around 40bhp. The diesel version became dominant in the marketplace. The engine was further developed in 1957 to 44bhp and even further in 1958 in a new model, the Power Major now producing 52bhp. In 1960 the Super Major was introduced, similar to the previous one, but with updates principally to the hydraulic system. In 1963 this model was further radically improved and was now called the New Performance Super Major and continued until July 1964. The Major had been joined in 1957 by the Dexta, it’s smaller brother which was intended to take on MFs. This proved quite successful and was further updated in 1960 to become known as the Super Dexta, sold alongside the original Dexta. This meant that Fords now had 3 models of tractors to offer to farmers.
As time went on a lot of derivatives evolved, manufactured by other producers for farmers. County, Roadless, Doe, KFD and Matbro were the main players but there were also many Fordson industrial applications. My apologies for all these facts but you need the background to understand this important period for Ford Tractor Operations. It is true to say that the Fordson Major was hugely successful and a great workhorse on many farms.
To round off, it is now time for a few photos of Majors at work on our family farm. On our mixed arable farm, ploughing was a significant operation and I include this rather nice shot of an early Major pulling a
3-furrow Ransomes plough with some gun-barrel straight furrows on some land.
A Fordson E1A Major with period plough. Furrows straight as a die - take note ploughmen!
Haymaking time and an early Major is mowing with a semi mounted or trailed 6-foot wide cut machine which may be a MH. Next a hay field shot with a Major pulling an MH 701 baler driven by an Armstrong Siddeley twin cylinder diesel engine.
Note the sledge trailing behind where a man was stacking bales into 9’s and then a bar was driven into the ground through a slot in the sledge to slide the stack off, to be picked up by a bale squeezer on the front of a fore-end loader tractor. This was real mechanisation in its day! Finally, a harvest field photo of an MF 701 pto driven baler bogged in up to the axles.
If you look carefully, there are 3 Majors all lined up to extricate it but just to make sure my late Mother is pictured sat on an MF35 on the front to show up those Majors! It is interesting to note the mounting framework on the MF for a Bomford hedge cutter.
Well that’s all for now. Keep well, stay safe and please use your common sense.
The Old Timer Tractor Rally;
Naugurated in 2019 will return, to the same site at Wooferton, next year on 31st July and 1st August. Sadly, one of the three organisers, Ken Crowther has lost his long battle with cancer. Colleagues Edward Price and Chris Tranter expressed their personal sadness saying, he will be greatly missed as a friend, for his passion for veteran tractors and for the huge loss to the rally, but they will continue to build on the rally Ken helped to start.
The rally featuring pre 1950 tractors, stationary engines, working exhibits, cars, commercials and auto jumble, had a very successful first event and was on course to improve further this year. Ford and Fordson were there in 2019 to give its support, featuring a very nice Fordson N with a McConnel hedge cutter on the stand. The exhibit belonging to McConnel Ltd usually takes pride of place in the factory at Ludlow and made a rare appearance at the rally. Last year money raised was divided between Cancer Research, MacMillan Nurses and the local church.
Edward Price 07812 132295, Chris Tranter 07974 695412 and for stationary engines Graham Partridge 07976 319399
Two examples taken from “Fordson N & E27N Service Experiences”:
Reproduced by courtesy of the “Fordson Tractor Club of Australia Inc.” from ‘Power on the Land’ with particular thanks to Dawn Milson.
During a normal ’50 Hour First Service on a new Fordson P6, a big end nut was discovered in the drained engine oil, “wow” did the owner panic. Demanded a new engine, there and then! After removing the sump, which is quite a big task, as all P6 owners will be quite aware, an intensive search and check of all the big end nuts was conducted and found to be fitted correctly torqued. The engine was reassembled and put back into the field again. The last time I inspected that machine, 5000 hours later, it was running and working without major maintenance. The mystery of the spare nut was diagnosed as ‘someone’ had accidently dropped it when assembling the engine and left it there.
A call to a granite quarry revealed a Fordson N driving through its belt pully a large twin cylinder air compressor, supplying air to jack hammers and a large air winch on a crane. After a conversation with the operator, a small Italian called Jonny, I learnt that he had been cranking the tractor for two days, and still it wouldn’t go. On asking him to crank the tractor while I investigated, he threw his hands up in the air, muttering oaths (in Italian I think) and disappeared into a small shed close by. A couple of minutes later he emerged with half a dozen sticks of gelignite. He yelled, “I blow basta up, blow up”. As you can guess, I hot footed it away, quick and smart to a safe distance till he calmed down. After diagnosing a faulty magneto, which was removed and repaired on the spot, two cranks later and away went the old N, which put a big smile on Jonny’s face. I made a friend for life.