The vaccination programme has started and appears to be going well, giving us all real hope that life will return to normal. I am very fortunate as I have already had my first inoculation, when the second one will be offered is anyone's guess, but I am very grateful to have had the first. The organisation at the local centre was faultless, it was largely manned by volunteers who were helpful, friendly and doing a splendid job. The day I went they were one clinician down and even then, my 'jab' was only about five minutes late; excellent and I suffered absolutely no adverse reaction or any other ill effects!
DVLA (Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency): Covid has affected the Agency's operations just as it has all else.
News about discussions on various matters that the FBHVC (Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs) of which we are a member, have been holding with the DVLA have consequently been delayed. Full, reports are available in issues of FBHVC's 'News'.
there are no tractor events but judging by the number of registration enquiries I receive you are busy in your sheds. I started helping members to register their vehicles some eight years ago and last year received twice as many enquiries as any previous year and so far, this year is running at the same level.
Before Covid struck the DVLA's turn round time, if everything was in order, could be as little as five working days from their receiving your application, but it appears to be much longer now. There have been reports in the national press of serious staff shortages due to illness, I'm afraid we must be patient.
NOVA (Notification of Vehicle Arrivals):
The FBHVC have highlighted that the requirement to provide one was changed in February last year; they conclude that this was probably to 'close some loophole that was being exploited to avoid the payment of VAT.' The new regulation includes any registration for a vehicle ….'purchased in the UK which is unregistered or has had a break in registration'….
The FBHVC's suspected reason for the change is probably correct, as I have had very few members, who have applied for retained or age-related registrations, contact me asking for advice because their application has been refused for this reason. Perhaps this is not really surprising as most tractors and Fordson vehicles were produced in the UK and there is no VAT issue with these.
From our Members:
Lower Nithsdale Young Farmers Club hosted its first tractor road run on Sunday 1st November: report from Willie West. Organised by club chairman Colin McKinnon and Alana McDougall, and with many months of careful planning coming together, 98 tractors, 1 loading shovel and a truck covered the twenty-six-mile route.
The event raised over £2000 shared between the YFC and to provide an interactive table to assist dementia patients in the Glencairn ward of Midpark hospital, Dumfries. A great, albeit wet, day was had by all, with many classic Ford and modern New Hollands taking part.
Gerard Schoenmakers creates a Roadless 'Ploughmaster 6/2
Gerard has supported the Ford & Fordson Association for many years in his native Netherlands often visiting us in the U K with his charming wife Ineke. He is a keen ploughman, organising matches, and a talented engineer.
Last year was a year to forget as there was nothing to do with the tractors and I fear that this year is going to be the same. All shows and ploughing matches until June have been postponed, but let's hope the second half will be better; I have my doubts.
So, what to do? Why not build a tractor that was never for sale in the UK or on mainland Europe - the Roadless Ploughmaster 6/2, a 2-wheel drive version of the 6/4. My information is that there is only one in the UK, the rest, twenty-three tractors, where delivered to Mexico for working at high altitude.
There is no internet information about this tractor, so I sent an email to John Bownes owner of Roadless and other people too, but nothing, so I decided to build the tractor according to the 6/4 specification but with 2-wheel drive.
The project is coming along well, the engine a Ford E 590, the backend from a 1964 Super Major are ready. I only need to manufacture a flywheel and undertake a couple of repairs on the sheet metal. Then comes the best part, putting it all together, I gave her a nice set of 38inch back wheels and 900 x 16 on the front. Hopefully, it will be finished this summer and I plan to take her to the Dutch FFA ploughing match that is, if they allow us to hold it.
The Swinging Sixties - Part 2 from Andrew Green:
As I write this on a late January afternoon, during Lockdown 3, the birds are singing, the snowdrops are out and even a very odd primrose shows itself in a sheltered place in our lane. The harbinger of Spring says he, hopefully. Maybe Mother Nature knows something that the human race doesn't since it will carry on normally where some of our brethren don't seem to want to adopt this philosophy! However, life will go on but, as I write, the dates for Shows, Festivals, Events or Fetes that have been planned in the diary for this year seem to be slipping on forward or cancelled. Not good news for organisers or participants.
Last time, I wrote about the 6X pre-force thousand series tractors, but realise that I only skimmed the surface. I deliberately didn't try to get too technical and I talked about our own practical experiences on our family home farm in Oxfordshire. So, this time I will move onto the Force 6Y range which was brought out in April 1968 as a seriously improved, world beating series still based on the 2000 through to the 5000 models. The two smaller tractors had unchanged engines but the 4000 now developed 62hp and the 5000 bored out to produce 75hp. All the models carried simplified bonnets, new nose cones, revamped grilles and new exhaust silencers.
It was a very successful update and it lifted Ford tractors to be best sellers for many years. Initially these new engines still retained the big canister type oil filters which I quite liked, you had to be good at getting the O ring carefully seated but these were changed soon after to the spin-on type cartridge which made life so much easier.
On our farm, the new Force 4000 tractors replaced the earlier models and we also traded out the red ones. Yes, we had 4 of these at one time and, to be fair, they were a very good versatile tractor on which I spent many hours in my younger days with jobs like corn carting, potato planting, fertiliser spreading, spraying and lots of trailer work being carried out.
One of these MF 135s was kept as it needed to be used as the power unit on our Standen self- propelled sugar beet harvester. Up until late 1970, we were still fitting the Lambourn weather cabs but after that date we were legally bound to fit safety cabs and any new tractor after that date had the Ford Fieco safety cab fitted as standard. Yes, it was a great comfort to operators to feel that they would be saved in the case of an accident but gosh, weren't they noisy!! We just didn't fully appreciate the long-term damage to our hearing that was the side effect of this new working environment. The deluxe cab option provided some sound proofing, but rear glass and metal hinged enclosures seemed to make the problem worse, particularly so when the tractor was working hard on PTO work. Full air conditioning was provided by removing the cab doors, partial by opening the side windows and the rear panels. Ear defenders were worn but they were poor things compared with today's products. These safety cabs came at a cost with a Force 4000 rising in price from a base cost of £1066 in June 1968 to £1450 in September 1970. Our very first 5000 arrived in January 1975 and this was the start of the trend to more powerful tractors arriving on farms, the cost of this being a list price of £3350 including all the extras. One forgets how prices were rising very rapidly during these years and as an example the 4000 doubled in price from £1668 in June 1971 to £3332 in July 1975.
The move to more horsepower was answered by the arrival of the Ford 7000 tractor in December 1971 at the Smithfield Show. It was basically a beefed up 5000 engine with a turbocharger fitted to produce 94hp. The tractor was fitted with Load Monitor which was an enhanced hydraulic draft control system, an assistor ram, deluxe cab, and power steering all as standard, priced at £2748. It certainly looks impressive with its' tall air cleaner and a unique exhaust silencer. This model became very successful and has now obtained iconic status, being very popular and highly prized with collectors today.
Back to our farm and I would like to include some photos of the Force tractors. They were used in many different roles and I have picked out a few which I hope will be of interest.
There is a pretty picture of the whole pre cabbed Force range, haymaking using a NH 276 baler and Farmhand accumulator which was fine when it worked properly, Ford DAB loader plus a flat 8 grab, drilling spring barley with a MF29 drill and an interesting front mounted Curlight Industries 30cwt forklift attachment fitted to a standard 4000 but obviously with power steering and oversized front wheels.
You had to make sure you kept the oil reservoir topped-up, but it was a radical development to material handling in the early 70s, brilliant for 30 cwt fertiliser pallets, seeds and potatoes. We kept it for many years even after the first JCB telescopic arrived.
Nostalgia and memories are big business these days and it got me thinking when I came across a TV programme called Bangers and Cash
on the Heritage Channel.
It's quite entertaining about a family of Auctioneers in Yorkshire who hold regular auctions selling cars, some tractors and lorries, memorabilia etc. It makes you wonder why I sold my old Ford Escort or my Ford 7600 tractor when it was time to move them on, why didn't I keep them? For most of us it's a case of needing to trade the old one in to afford the replacement, or put very simply you needed the money, it's called reality! The other problem is shed storage space.
Ian West the FFA's new representative in Canada introduces himself:
Greetings from here at a balmy minus 23C. In renewing my Ford & Fordson 2021 subscription this past week I was approached by Membership Secretary Keith Broomhall as to whether I'd be interested in representing the club here in Canada and on reflection, thought why not, so, a bit about myself,
My wife Linda and I reside on a 310-acre grain and hay farm in Westlock County, an hour or so Northwest of Edmonton. Our machinery is predominantly Ford New Holland with a token amount of that other brand which is green in colour. I've always had an affinity for the Ford brand from growing up in Ireland and an appreciation for the quality engineering, handling characteristics and overall ownership satisfaction. Currently I own five Ford & Fordson tractors comprising a 1947 E27N Gasoline (unrestored), 1953 Ford NAA Jubilee, 1961 Fordson Super Major, 1975 Ford 8600, 1986 Ford 4610 FWD Low profile, c/w Ford 776 FEL.
In 2011 I purchased a New Holland TM130 equipped with an Alo Q980 FEL primarily to replace the Ford 8600 which at the time had in excess of 10.000hrs.and required a major engine overhaul, more about this in a later article.
My Ford story---I'll begin with my newest "Classic"-the 4610. This is by far my favourite Ford tractor of all the tractors I've owned and operated.
Ian's trusty Ford 4610 still in use here on snow clarence duties.
It was purchased new in 1986, replacing a Case/David Brown 1490 which qualifies as my worst purchase of all time. At the time we operated a 140 Sow, Farrow to Finish, Irrigation farm near Lethbridge in Southern Alberta, about an hour north of the US border. The 4610 came equipped with a Ford 776F- QA (Quick attach) front loader and was the sole tractor for that first year, 8 speed column shift synchro transmission. It was used in all aspects of the operation exclusive of field cultivation which was handled by a rental unit initially. Its most arduous task was pulling a 2100gal. vacuum tanker, the only deficiencies were a light swinging drawbar which was rectified by the addition of a support off the upper top link bracket, and the overall braking capacity when pulling ten tons. Road travel was minimal for such loading so overall safety wasn't compromised unduly. The pig operation was sold in 1997 and after a short hiatus we purchased the present farm in November 1998 with our first crop planted the next Spring of 1999. The 4610 is still a key component in the operation mainly during hay season when it's the favoured power source for a New Holland 499 Mower conditioner. This is a 12ft. double sickle bar unit and was purchased in preference to a disc mower, which would require much more power and, if needed, can be run with the 8600. Previously the 4610 and loader was used to stack round bales but since the purchase of the TM New Holland has become the tractor of choice for double decking on transport lorries with the 5 x 6 round bales weighing 13 to 18cwt. The 4610 has been literally trouble free with the exception of a head gasket leak during the first year of ownership which was taken care of under warranty and a failed output steering shaft which happened in November. This shaft proved to be difficult to get as it was no longer available through the New Holland dealership network. Fortunately, it was sourced through an Irish recycler. My late father had a saying …'If it's worth having, it's worth looking after'… a philosophy I believe in as it particularly relates to regular maintenance. Not bad in upwards of 4400 hours with only maintenance items I consider. I include a couple of photos of the tractor equipped with a John Deere 8ft. rear blade which was the method of snow removal up until recently when a heated cab and an 8ft. loader bucket on the TM New Holland became the preferred choice during temperatures which can range as low as minus 40C.
At present I am a member and Secretary of our local Westlock Vintage Tractor & Machinery club, a club entering its 30th year. The club boasts some 55 members and is affiliated with the Canadian Tractor Museum, a world class facility founded in 2002, it can be viewed either on You Tube or Facebook. As with any organization currently, our meeting and activities are at a standstill due to Covid. I anticipate being able to feature the Ford & Fordson exhibits from the museum at a later date, together with other Provincial shows and my remaining Ford products. In the meantime, keep appreciating all those marvellous Blue Fords and stay safe.
It is with sadness we report that Gianfranco Bisson, the Club's long time Italian representative has died; our sympathies are extended to his wife and family.
The Wonderfull, Freindly, Generous and Loved by All that knew him Mr. Gianfranco Bisson
Peter Godwin the FFA's former chairman, who knew him well, tells us of the man and their friendship.
I first met Gianfranco Bisson at the Belvoir Castle Ford and Fordson gathering with his son Francesco. We quickly formed a friendship, his enthusiasm for all things Ford related became obvious. He later invited Rob Rushen Smith and me to Italy, where we spent a fascinating weekend as his guests, and he showed us his amazing collection of Ford and Fordson Tractors and Cars (over the years Gianfranco imported many second-hand Ford Tractors from Ernest Doe in England). It became apparent that he had a considerable Ford Car and Tractor franchise in Northern Italy.
The Bisson family's association with Ford went back to the 1920's; Gianfranco took over the business at the age of 24 after his father's untimely death, the youngest main agent for Ford in Italy. There then began a most successful and fruitful partnership between Bisson Auto and the Ford Motor Company. He was the biggest Ford Tractor dealer in Italy. With the demise of Ford Tractor operations, the company expanded their car franchises, today being one of the largest Ford car dealers in Italy.
Gianfranco was a wonderfully cultured gentleman with a great appreciation for Italian opera, particularly Puccini who lived in his area. He leaves behind his wife and three sons all of whom are deeply committed to the Bisson auto business. As the Ford and Fordson Association's representative he followed the club with great interest and I am delighted to know that his son, Francesco, will continue to represent the Club in Italy.
His collection of Ford Tractors included many rare examples including a Russian built Standard Fordson and a Fordson Dexta four cylinder, of which there are known to be less than 50; they were built exclusively in Italy. One of the finest restored collections it has ever been my pleasure to see.
Below is a link to the 2011 Origiano in Piazza Tractor Show that myself and Hazel together with Peter and his wife Julie, were invited to attend. A Fanstastic yearly event organised by Ginfranco..... Mr. Fordson of Italy