Coldridge Collection

Mike Thorne, 1938-2023 Ferguson Enthusiast and Club Rep.

Mike Thorne passed away suddenly on  19th September 2023. Mike had been a part of the Ferguson Club since its inception.

Mike was born and brought up in East Finchley, London, where his father was a Quantity Surveyor. As a typical young boy his enjoyment came from his Meccano set and ‘00’ gauge model railway (both of which are on display in The Coldridge Collection). At the age of nine years, he made a working crystal radio set from scratch, showing his practical and technical skills which would put him in good stead for later life.

On leaving school at sixteen, his Father found him a job on a 1000 acres Oxfordshire farm, which started his love of tractors. With his weekly pay of £3/ a week, Mike bought his first mode of transport, a BSA Bantam motorcycle. After a year, Mike moved to Hertfordshire College of Agriculture. On leaving college, he sought employment with the Milk Marketing Board as an inseminator, travelling from farm to farm and in the process picking up welding and fabrication jobs from the farmers for some extra money in the evenings and at the weekends.

It was while working at the MMB that he met Ian Macmillan and between them they bought 120 acres at Lower Whitsleigh, North Devon, milking 30 cows and then buying 57 acres at Lower Park Farm, Coldridge. After some years, the working relationship ended and the business was sold. Fortunately for Mike, several years later he had the opportunity to buy back Lower Park Farm and jumped at the chance.

At Lower Park Farm, Mike over time built new workshops and offices to accommodate his growing business of Michael Thorne Construction Ltd., constructing many large projects in the South West of the country. It was during this period that Mike used his fabrication design and skills expertise to construct the unique buildings to house his growing vintage tractor interest at Coldridge.

Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond Mike’s control, he had to close his beloved construction business. Mike took this opportunity to retire and started writing about and adding to his specialist tractor collection. He always harped back to Ferguson and Massey Ferguson tractors, as his time in Oxfordshire and at college in Hertfordshire, the TE20’s played a large role. This is when Mike decided to condense his collection to Ferguson and MF tractors and implements, especially rare prototypes and experimental models, The Coldridge Collection was thus born.His collection was so Internationally renowned that he was allowed by AgcoCorp, (Massey Ferguson) to have on loan several tractors from their own collection.

Mike wrote four hardback books over the years which were published and sold in good numbers, showing Mike’s knowledge on Ferguson and Massey Ferguson tractors was second to none. He has detailed all his tractors in his collection in very meticulous detail. Mike was also a prolific writer of articles for magazines and journals, including The Ferguson Club. Mike has been a prominent supporter of The Ferguson Club from when it evolved in 1986 to its present day, submitting articles for most issues, which were warmly received by the membership (these articles are all available to read on the Ferguson Club website).

Mike Thorne was a kind and generous man to all those he met. He made his collection open for visiting to enthusiasts from all over the World. He always had time to chat in person or on the telephone about his passion. His calm, friendly, jovial manner was appreciated by many in the vintage tractor movement. Luckily for us, Mike had the vision to catalogue and record all that he knew about Ferguson and Massey Ferguson tractors, and this we are most grateful for. Mike will be greatly missed by us all, but leaves us with a wonderful legacy.

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Mike Thorne
I am sure you will already have had numerous tributes to the late Mike Thorne, who, to many of us, was not only a source of knowledge, but also a good friend, whose kindness, generosity and encouragement were very special. In my case, his final good deed was to write the Forward for my recently published book on the ill-fated Ferguson LTX tractor, so I will always be in his debt for that and retain memories of many visits to the Coldridge Collection.  It is an old cliché that ‘They don’t make them like that any more,’ but in this case, too true. David Walker
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Mike Thorne
Mike Thorne was one of those people everyone should have the privilege to know in their lifetime. A Real Gentleman. He was a good friend to me and generous with his time, expertise and knowledge. Thank you Mike. Rest in Peace. Rise in Glory.  John Selley


New Book: Tractors in my Life – Mike Thorne

New Book ; Tractors in my Life – Mike Thorne

A review of Mike Thorne’s new book ‘The Tractors in my Life’  Jonathan Parkes

John Selley contacted me and asked me if I knew anyone who would be willing to write a review on Mike Thorne’s new book The Tractors in my Life. As I had read Mike’s three previous books that he has had published, I thought that I would have a go.

The Tractors in my Life is a hardback book of 150 pages. Mike starts the book with some twenty pages of autobio­graphical material. Covering his family life and school days, through to his early farming career and then on to his fabrication work and how he set up his Coldridge Collection and finally his book writing. This section of Mike’s book is fascinating, showing his determination and good humour through­out. It is always good to know the background to an author and Mike puts his story across very we]].

Fo]]owing on from this, Mike writes about all the tractors that he had acquired, having made extensive records right from the beginning on each one that was purchased. Originally, not all of his tractors

were Ferguson and Massey Ferguson, there are many makes and models from John Deere’s to Mercury Tug Tractors and a Lister Gold Star to name just a few. All of them have detailed descriptions, from whom and where he purchased them from, renovating and restoring them to selling them to make way for the Coldridge Collection to be Ferguson and Massey Ferguson orientated.

All the tractors listed in Mike’s book would be worthy prize winners at any tractor show due to the detail and meticulous restoration that they been subjected to under Mike’s ownership.

The final part of Mike’s book reflects on the unique buildings that homes his ex­tensive collection of tractors and artefacts.

Similar to Mike’s previous three books, his latest publication is an excellent one. Although very detailed and informative, Mike’s writing style makes it a very easy read, as his light hearted humour and having a tale to tell about each tractor and event in his life makes this book an excellent read.

Jonathan Parkes, published in Journal 104, Spring 2023

Read more about Mike Thorne’s Coldridge Collection:‘Tractors in the Coldridge Collection’


Introduction to the Coldridge Collection

A Brief Introduction to the Coldridge Collection

Visit the Coldridge Collection in the Ferguson Club Gallery:
(Then scroll down to ‘Coldridge Collection, Devon’)

Mike Thorne’s introduction to the Coldridge Collection:

“A warm welcome to the Coldridge collection; I felt it might be appropriate to set out a brief introduction to the collection.

On leaving school in 1954 I started working on a farm in Oxfordshire and it was there that I had my first taste of Ferguson in the form of an early TE-D 20, a three ton tipping trailer and a post hole digger.

Compared to most of the tractors on this 1000 acre farm, the Ferguson was a dream with its electric starter – the only other tractor in the fleet of 11 that had electric starting was a new type Fordson Major Diesel. The Fordson Standards were difficult to start, the Allis Bs were so and so’s and often kicked back, whilst cranking over the Cat R25 or the Miniapolis Mobile GT took all my strength.

The next serious encounter was in 1964 when I moved to Devon in a farming partnership. By 1966 we bought a second small farm, Lower Park Farm, Coldridge and part of the purchase was a TEF20 missing its injector pump, and a Ferguson rear mounted mower and fertilizer spreader. I soon sourced a second hand pump and had the tractor running: it proved to be very useful and reliable.

Within a year and a half the partnership was dissolved and I started a new career in steel fabrication.

Ferguson came back into my life again in 1985 when a friend told me he knew of a TED20 that was for sale for £100: it was tidy and it just about ran so I bought it – that is No1 in the collection today. In 199* it had a total restoration and tyre tracks were fitted by Ernie Luxton.

As the years went by the tractor bug really got a hold of me and at one point there were about seventy tractors at Lower Park of various makes and sizes including several crawlers.

Talking to a fellow enthusiast at one of our early open days I realized I would need to live to about 250 years old in order to get them all restored. As this is most unlikely, I decided to focus on all things Ferguson and the early Massey Ferguson range with a cut off point of the 100 series.

Another factor in my decision was that I had read a great deal about Harry Ferguson and he had become a kind of hero to me. I admire his determination in developing and perfecting draft control with the converging three point linkage. I also appreciated his attention to detail and highly refined engineering standards.

As the collection increased it became obvious that a building was needed to house and display the restored tractors and implements. This was an opportunity for me to indulge in designing and building the heptagonal shed we have today. Known as the tractor shed it was completed in May 1995 and now houses nearly all the Massey Ferguson tractors in the collection.

Coinciding with the hosting of the Ferguson Club’s AGM in April of the year 2000; I decided to alter the 25 year old farm lean-to building to display more of the collection. It was decided to give this building a bit of a high-tech look feeling that would contrast nicely with the older tractors displayed within it. This is known as the “Ferguson shed” and was completed about 14 hours before the Ferguson club’s AGM. How’s that for timing? Jamie Sheldon, Harry Ferguson’s grandson and president of the Ferguson Club kindly performed the official opening after the AGM business.

This building now houses all things Ferguson – apart from the small mezzanine which is my office area and contains several displays of railway models and related art work. It also provides a viewing gallery.

The next development which started late in 2006 was the clearing out of the 60’ x 60’ Atcost barn. This entailed clearing out all the tractors vehicles and implements that were stored here to make way for a full refurbishment of this building and connecting it to the mezzanine area of the Ferguson shed. It was decided to follow a similar style of design thereby giving a sense of continuity within the two buildings.

The basic parameters for this project were not to alter the building on the outside but on the inside endeavour to gain extra floor space. Luckily the floor level of the Atcost barn is at almost the same level as that of the mezzanine of the Ferguson shed.

To maximise the use of space the decision was taken to install a second mezzanine in the centre section of this building, with careful juggling of heights, this was just possible. To increase the actual area of this floor it seemed prudent to extend the edge of the floor beyond the line of the main stanchions by about 2` 6”/750mm, with the ceiling at this point sloping upwards to the thinish edge which supports the balustrades and in turn the hand railings. This I feel gives the deck a lift.

We installed a 500kg electric hoist track along the apex of the building to enable implements and cut-away models to be lifted to the mezzanine and then trundled along the track to their approximate positions; to facilitate this, the mezzanine ends about 3m  from the electrically operated roller shutter door giving a good balcony effect. The centre section incorporates a home made electrically lit Ferguson trademark, this makes a nice focal point. Illuminated display cases have been built into the cavity walls with plenty of space in between for posters and photographs.

A steel staircase with aluminium chequer plate treads and double stainless steel handrails leads from the ground floor to the mezzanine.

In arranging the tractor exhibits we have endeavoured to group them into families with most of them hitched to a Ferguson implement; remember Harry Ferguson quip, “a tractor without an implement is like a pen without ink!” There are five families here Ferguson Brown, Ford Ferguson and one 8N. A much larger family of TE 20s followed by a group of FE 35s most of the early Massey Ferguson tractors, as mentioned before are in the heptagonal tractor shed: its red stained timber rafters reflecting the colour of those models. The final family are the “odd balls” i.e. tractors not necessarily of Ferguson design, but interesting examples in their own right.

A certain amount of seating has been provided to give visitors the chance to rest their feet, relax, take in the atmosphere and discuss with others the finer points of this and that and possibly put the world to rights!

Also for the benefit of visitors a large flat screen monitor has been installed with facilities to play archive material as well as current available DVD’s and videos. Needless to say some seating has been provided adjacent to this screen.

The aim of these facilities is to heighten the visitor’s awareness of significant achievements of Harry Ferguson and his small team of engineers. Also to display as wide a range as possible of his tractors and implements within a setting that is comfortable as well as dynamic. There may be one or two aspects that stray off these basic parameters e.g. a few display cases dedicated to Land Rover, others highlight some of the great achievements of London Transport. Yet another distraction from the Ferguson theme is the display of some model railway stock, prints by Terence Cuneo, David Sheppard and others. These side tracking’s represent my own personal respect for other areas of Great Britain’s huge engineering achievements of the past.

Please come and sample for yourselves, just give a call on 07966 328 600 to fix a date.

Two Ferguson enthusiasts have said to me quite unsolicited

“Well this must be a shrine to Harry Ferguson.”

My reply was, “Yes I suppose it is”

I very much hope you enjoy your time here

Cheers, Mike

Visit the Coldridge Collection in the Ferguson Club Gallery:
(Then scroll down to ‘Coldridge Collection, Devon’)

© Michael Thorne


Why and How I Started the Coldridge Collection Parts 1 to 7

Why and How I Started the Coldridge Collection’ (Part1) Mike Thorne

   Click Here to visit the Coldridge Collection in the Ferguson Club Gallery:
   (Then scroll down to ‘Coldridge Collection, Devon’)

It was suggested to me by Club Member, John Selley, that I write this article for the Journal. So here we go, but be warned, it may go on a bit!

Well, like most things in life, I did not suddenly decide to start The Coldridge Collection, at Lower Park Farm, Coldridge in Devon. No, of course it had a long gestation period before I actually bought a TED20! So this is the story which will unfold as a series, the tractors, the implements and the buildings they are now displayed in.

A Ford Ferguson and Ferguson Brown displayed at the Coldridge Collection

On leaving school with one GCE in maths in 1954 I started working as a student at Little Stoke Manor, a 1000 acre mixed farm in Oxfordshire. Their range of 11 tractors would sit very well on a rally field today! There were 2 Fordson Standards, 2 American Allis Chalmers Model B, 2 Caterpillar R’s, an International F20 and a 15-30, a Minneapolis Moline Model GT, a new type Fordson Major Diesel and a Ferguson TED20, 6 volt with a Posthole Digger and a Ferguson tipping trailer. I happened to be the main driver of this tractor which suited me very well.

At the end of this year in Oxfordshire my next stage was to attend a one year National Certificate of Agriculture at Oaklands, St. Albans, Hertfordshire. They also ran a Diploma course in Horticulture. Their fleet of tractors included a Field Marshall Series 3, a new type Fordson Major Diesel, an International of some sort, a Ferguson TEF20 with a high lift loader and a David Brown Diesel Cropmaster which was in the throws of being rebuilt in their well-equipped workshop. I found the tuition very much to my liking, working in all the departments of their farm as well as classroom learning in the afternoons. We were treated like adults, but needless to say there were some pranks and, for some reason, I was submerged in a cattle drinking trough! I then had to dry out my clothes as well as some paper money I had in my pockets!

One evening we were given a talk by a representative of Harry Ferguson Ltd, at the end of his talk there was a question time, so some clever dick in the front row (me!) asked him why Ferguson did not make 4 WD tractors to which he replied ‘our tractors have such good traction they do not need it’. Well what do you make of that today!

While I was attending Oaklands my father moved house to rent a farm house at Nicholls Farm, Redbourn, Hertfordshire. It had previously been owned by L.F. Dove Ltd., who had been a Ferguson dealership for that part of Hertfordshire. The only evidence of their ownership I found was a rear axle half shaft and hub!

When I had finished my second year at Oaklands I returned to work at Little Stoke Manor where I spent a further year. Three of us were taken, by the bailiff (in this context he is The Landlord’s Agent!), to The World Ploughing, which that year was held at Shillingford, Oxfordshire between 10th and 12th October 1956. It was on this occasion that I first encountered the recently launched Ferguson FE35 and I took the opportunity to speak with a ploughman who was using one to ask his opinion of the tractor. His response was very positive and provided me with the opportunity to make my own inspection. I gave it ten out of ten and a bronze star!

This second year at Little Stoke I lodged with farm bailiff, David Blomfield and his family and two young teenagers, boys. One of them had been given a 1/16″ scale Airfix model kit of a TE20 which I helped them put together and paint. I wish I had that in the Coldridge Collection today, sadly all I have is just 4 front wheels!

I left Little Stoke for the second time to return to living at Nicholl’s Farm and I found myself a farm job at Organ Hall Farm near Boreham Wood about 12 miles away. This was a rented 120 acre farm run by two brothers, Ron and Joe Salter, mainly based on dairy cattle with about 40 cows housed in traditional cowsheds over the winter period, this was a real working farm. Their tractors were two new type Fordson Major diesels and a rather forlorn Fordson Standard Industrial on small wheels – a real collector’s piece today, this was parked outside in the yard. I worked there for about 3 years and then decided on yet another change, this time working for the Milk Marketing Board (MMB) as a trainee cattle inseminator. Part of my early training was at one of their main centres, in my case Little Horwood, Buckinghamshire. I was able to lodge with the Blomfields as they had moved to a nearby farm, very handy! Part of the early training was handling and looking after the stock bulls, there were about 6 different breeds. By day in Spring, Summer and Autumn the bulls would be taken out, one by one, from the bull sheds (rather like traditional cow stalls but larger and more robust) to be tethered for grazing. This operation was done by passing a looped rope up through the ring in the bull’s nose and then placing the loop around the base of the horns. The long end of the rope was tied to the nine holed rear bar of the farm’s TED20 and then tow the bull slowly out to the field to tether him. I can remember carrying out this procedure with a big mature Hereford bull, Porch Jumbo, with the engine at a brisk tickover, on petrol, he decided to stop and stalled the engine! I restarted and off we went in the most nonchalant manner! I was very glad he did not become aggressive and charge the rear of the TED20!

© Mike Thorne – Journal 101, Summer 2022


Why and How I Started the Coldridge Collection’ (Part2) Mike Thorne

After three years of working for the MMB at their Little Kingshill Sub Centre, Bucks, the head inseminator and I decided to form a farming partnership and we bought, with a mortgage, a 120 acre farm Lower Whitsleigh, North Devon. Most of my friends thought I had made a mistake! Anyway, the purchase included a new type Fordson Major diesel with a Cameron Gardener Rear Loda. After a year of dairy farming at Lower Whitsleigh we were offered a private mortgage so we bought Lower Park Farm, Coldridge and 57 acres where I looked after the 40 dairy cows, more or less 6 days a week, on my own. It was with the purchase of Lower Park we became the owners of a TEF20 minus its fuel injection pump, a Ferguson rear mounted mower and a Ferguson fertilizer spreader. I soon found and fitted the correct CAV fuel pump so now we had two tractors. The partnership was terminated in 1967.

Next I found myself a job as a welder for a firm of well respected steel fabricators A.E.Watson of Exeter, who always had some high profile projects underway. Passing their exacting welding test at my interview I was take on at 6 shillings per hour. For me the nine months I spent at Watsons was Iike a condensed apprenticeship in steel fabrication and I took every opportunity when overtime was offered, and there was plenty. After nine months I left feeling I could do better on my own. Well things did work out steadily for me. I was still living in Lower Park’s rather dilapidated farmhouse, rent free until it was sold and I received my share of the money I had put into the partnership. By 1970 my business was quietly established and I was employing a few people. In 1977 I was offered Lower Park and its 57 acres. I thought the asking price was fair but I was unable to raise a mortgage. The owner offered me a mortgage over a three year period which, by hard work, I was able to payoff to the terms of our agreement.

By 1980 a friend, who worked as an estimator for a scaffolding firm in Exeter, called at my workshop one afternoon to tell me he had noticed a grey Ferguson for sale for £100. I was quite fired up by this rekindling of my Ferguson interest, so I arranged to view it, making sure I had £ 100 cash in my pocket!  Well, I bought it although it was a non-runner, and made arrangements to collect it with my TK Bedford lorry which had a hydraulic lifting crane fitted. On getting it back to Lower Park I put fresh petrol into the tank and cleaned up the plugs and points and it fired up and just about ran. This tractor is No.1 in the Coldridge Collection. It was at this point that the collecting bug really got a hold of me! For the next few years I purchased lots of tractors that came my way, different makes and even some crawlers, all done in an indiscriminate way, with a tally of just short ono. Then, at one of our early open days I can remember talking with an enthusiastic visitor who remarked about the variety and number of tractors I had. I suddenly thought that this was crazy having such a wide assortment, I would need 200 years if I were to get them all restored! No, it would be much more realistic to concentrate on one marque and that, of course would be Ferguson. I had read a lot about Harry Ferguson and his small team who doggedly developed a pioneering concept into a solid functioning piece of engineering, i.e. the Draft Control ­the integration of tractor and implement on the converging three point hydraulic linkage. In terms of tractor models that I would focus on it would be the time span between the Ferguson Model A through to the end of the 100 series. I would also embrace the range of implements and memorabilia, technical data as well as the other Ferguson achievements particularly in the automotive area.

So as time went on I gradually sold off the non-Ferguson models including several that my friend, the late Ernie Luxton had restored for me to a very high standard. Ernie was a most competent Ferguson trained engineer, who, in all the mechanical work he carried for me, was never beaten by any problem that arose. The painting of most of the restoration projects was carried out by Peter Clarke to a very high professional standard.

Gradually it dawned on me that there was not much point in just restoring tractors and implements then storing them sheeted up in a dry shed. No. What would be more creative would be to design and build a space in which to display the finished result in a civilized setting. Of course, this was just the excuse I needed to indulge in a bit of design fantasy! From a young age I have been interested in architecture and making things, Meccano was a great educational toy for me.

My business, by this time (early 1990’s) centred on fabricating and erecting both agricultural and industrial steel framed buildings, from providing the customer with just a basic frame and roof to full ‘turn key’ projects, and it was flourishing. However, there was hardly any opportunity to build something a bit special, but now I had the excuse I was looking for. What sprung to mind was a seven sided building (a heptagonal) set slightly into the sloping site, thus helping it to integrate into the landscape. Five sides would be glazed with tinted toughened glass thus following the arc of the sun from East to West. The vertical glazing bars would be set to lean outwards by 20°, springing from a 2′ high plinth stone wall, rather like the arrange­ment used on airport control buildings to reduce glare. The two remaining sides, would follow the same profile but would be in-filled with heavy duty tongued and grooved boarding set on the diagonal and stained black. The roof would be slate clad (weight 8 tons) topped off with a glazed finale. I set myself the challenge that I did not want fixing bolts on the finished exposed frame. This involved fabricating the seven main frames and the top ring beam on a level concrete floor. To erect the building the centre ring beam was raised on scaffolding set at the correct height with projecting stubs welded to each external comer, these had one 13mm hole drilled in them. At the top end of each of the seven main frames was drilled a corresponding hole. The idea being that as each main frame was raised into position and bolted down to the foundation bolts, a temporary long bolt could be inserted into the aligned holes with the ring beam. When all the seven frames were erected and bolted down we had a relatively stable structure. One by one the eve beams were cut to the correct length, each end having a com- pound mitre, and tack welded into place. After all this was completed and all Ihe intersections fully position welded, (he long bolts were withdrawn and the holes filled with weld and ground smooth. Now the scaffolding could he taken down. The next stage to complete the frame was the cutting and tacking into place the twenty-one purlins, each ring of a smaller rectangular hollow section which is functional and looks aesthetically correct. The last element to be welded into the frames were the window sills, glazing bars and the necessary steelwork that forms the porch and doorway. Then the steelwork was painted in MF Brown.

There was a serious down turn in the construction industry about 1992 so further work had to be put on hold for two years, so at our open days, we displayed a circle of tractors within the skeleton framework! By May 1995 the building was completed.

1 would like to give credit to those people who were key players in this project. My good and long-standing friend Robin Haughton who dealt most professionally with the exposed roof timbers, the continuous internal timber window seating and the diagonal boarding. Robin was also involved with the steelwork assembly but I did most of the site welding – it took ages!

The late Frank Conibere did a super job on the perimeter stone walls using stone from a local quarry. Geraint Vanstone and his son Graham did an excellent job with the complicated intersection of the slate roof using lead soakers rather than the ridge tiles which I thought would look too heavy: but the line of the change had to be spot on, anything less would have been an eye sore! However, Robin and I were allowed to do a lot of the straight forward slating!

Prior to starting this building, I intuitively chose to use 160 x 100 x 4mm rectangular hollow section (RHS) for all the main structural members but when I had worked out the weight of the roof slates I thought I had better get this checked out by my qualified structural engineer, Alan Beal. All was in order but he sensibly pointed out that I could reduce the size of the purlins as they became shorter towards the centre of the building. I am very glad he raised this point, which was followed, as it does look right.

Well, this heptagonal shed was completed in May 1995. Just to round off by relating the fact that a bit before it was completed, I went to see a clairvoyant lady in Crediton for a consultation. Several times during my time with her she said ‘I keep seeing a bleeding flying saucer’. Well, at night, when the internal lights are on, that is just what it looks like!

Needless to say, we soon moved in all the restored tractors – that was a good feeling!

© Mike Thorne – Journal 102, Autumn 2022


Why and How I Started The Coldridge Collection (Part 3) Mike Thorne

What follows is a brief description of what is now displayed within. On entering, and moving around in a clockwise direction, and dealing with the exhibits on the perimeter we have a 1976 Ex-Army MF20, the industrial version of the MF135, with only 283 miles on the clock and 1611 hours on the tractometer. This is Coldridge Collection number 79. Next is a late MF135 with a quick release cab and low hours, one of 6 tractors on loan from AGCO. Next is a pair of doors which I rescued from the main entrance to the Banner Lane offices prior to demolition. At the same time, I was given two impulse electric clocks, I have these displayed on brackets on either side of the door frame. Behind the doors is a drawing board, once owned by MF, loaned to me by my friend Jeremy Burgess, who also gave me 15 bricks from the site.

Bricks salvaged from the Banner Lane site.

The 1976 built MF20, the industrial version of the MF135.

The rescued doors and impulse electric clocks from the Banner Lane offices.

Next to the doors is a Massey Harris Pony powered by a Simca petrol engine which is also on loan from AGCO. Next is a MF35 vineyard model, I bought many years ago from OE Culverwell of East Sussex, a MF Dealer for that area. This I have fitted up with a Ferguson Post Hole Borer and is exhibit No.48. Next is another loan tractor, a MF35 with Multi-Power and PAVT rear wheels, again a low hours example.

Adjacent to this is Coldridge Collection No.40 MF825, a French built machine powered by a Perkins 4 cylinder diesel engine. The next one round is a rather tatty MF130 Vineyard model awaiting restoration and is collection No.80.

The unrestored MF130 Vineyard Model

Next is a MF135 Narrow version, once used as my working tractor, No.81, but now replaced by a MF1020 4wd compact tractor, not yet given a collection number. Moving on is a MF65 Mk2 Industrial with Instant Reverse Shuttle, having a 4 speed gearbox controlled by two separate levers. Forward and reverse speeds are all the same, this is No.54. Next is a MF175 with Multi-Power and PAVT wheels, No.78. A nice hefty, easy to drive tractor. To complete this row is a MF135 tractor.

4WD and equipped with a mid-mounted mower driven off a centre PTO. I imported this from Austria and it is No.85. It was usual practice to supply Coventry built tractors destined for either Germany or Austria to have the facility to have a mid­-mounted PTO as mowers of this type were widely used in these countries.

Now filling in the remaining space; right in the centre I have placed ‘The Nipper’, again on loan from AGCO, which I have described fully in a previous edition of the Journal.

Next to the entrance doors is a MFl35 petrol model, No.83, that was originally used in Jersey on a mushroom farm, presumably to reduce exhaust fume contamination. These models are quite rare in the UK but many were exported to New Zealand and Denmark where petrol was rebated for agricultural use. My friend in Belgium has one which he tells me was originally imported from Denmark. I was told by the late Dick Dowdeswell (ex­-Ferguson/Massey Ferguson demonstrator) that MF would often loan petrol MF135’s to horse riding events for ground duties because the much quieter engines were less likely to spook the horses!

The French built MF825 with Perkins engine.

Also, in this part of the building is a MF135 Vineyard No.86, it is fitted with the MF reduction gearbox which, because it is a sandwich box, extends the length of the tractor. The final tractor No.74 in this shed is a MFI 30 complete with two furrow Disc Plough 2-P-AE20. Luckily for me, when I was grit blasting it prior to painting, we turned it over and heard a rattle in the main tubular frame which turned out to be the large single ended spanner that was provided with these ploughs and fits the large nuts on the disc carriers. One final exhibit that must not be forgotten is an early Avery Hartnol petrol pump finished in Shell colours of red and yellow. It is topped off with a Shell Mex globe and is in working order!

The MF65 Mk2 stands out in its industrial yellow livery.

The next building to house tractors was completed just in time to host the Club’s AGM & AMW in April 2000. I had arranged for Jamie Sheldon to perform the official opening of this shed known as ‘The Ferguson Shed’. Sadly, at that point I had not installed a visitor’s book which was a shame but was soon rectified. This building was not purpose built, but a conversion of a 60′ x 30′ lean-to farm storage shed made soon after I purchased Lower Park in 1977. To ensure this conversion tied in with the adjacent heptagonal shed, the rafters supporting the roof were extended by about 5′ (1525mm) thus enabling us to replicate on the long side the arrangement used next door i.e. sloping outwards by 20° and to provide an overhang of about 3′ thus giving a bit of shelter from the rain or sun. A couple of long garden seats are in place for visitors to relax and take in the views! To create a bit of dynamic I aimed to give the inside a sort of high-tech look which I thought would contrast well with the old tractors displayed within. To this end Robin and I cut 5.5″ holes in the rakers and 3.5″ in the stanchions. We installed, 2′ below the metal roof lining sheet, two runs of oval section ventilating ducting with home-made uplighters and an assortment of spots and down lights on the underside.

The MF35X vineyard model

The 4WD MF135 with cab and mid-mounted mower.

Across the far and back wall Geraint and Graham built us an internal wall using lightweight blocks, this gave the opportunity to create separate ladies and gents toilets and to build in illuminated display cases. Along most of the back wall we were able to install a mezzanine area about 9′ (2286mm) wide reached by an offset staircase with treads of aluminium chequer plate, with stainless steel handrail, being supported by blue painted steel balustrades, also with holes for decoration which continues the full length of the mezzanine. This is where I have my desk, phone and expresso coffee making machine: NO computer! This is where the bills are paid and writing done. Keeping me company I have some railway models in three display cases plus a decent sized bookcase and some framed prints by none other than Terence Cuneo as well as a very fine 5″ gauge model of No.70013 Oliver Cromwell, a British Railways Britannia Class locomotive designed by Robert Riddles and built at Crewe in 1951.

Photographs by Dr Mike Oakins
© Mike Thorne, first published in Ferguson Club Journal No.103 Winter 2022/23


Why and How I Started The Coldridge Collection (Part 4) Mike Thorne

On entering, to the left is Coldridge Collection Nol, a restored TED20 fitted with tyre tracks type A-TE-l J3 and an American made Ferguson PTO adaptor. This accessory serves two functions, it increases the diameter to 13/8″ and moves the far end 1 0.5″ from the centre hole of the Ferguson 9 hole drawbar i.e. to a SAE Standard. Also fitted to this exhibit is a Ferguson accessory made by the English Numbering Co. an hour counter that is bolted to the dynamo and driven by a gearwheel fitted between the pulley and the end part of the body.

Ferguson 30cwt tipping trailer.

The next exhibit is a Ferguson 30cwt tipping trailer type L-SE-30. Although rebuilt, the tipping pipe and handbrake linkage is not yet fitted. Next is Ferguson TEE20 No.64. This example has been fully restored and I have fitted it with a pair of narrow rear wheels, 4.00 x 36″ and aFerguson Low Volume sprayer type S-LE­20 and an Allman Speedometer calibrated to 20mph, earlier ones went to l5mph. The odometer is calibrated in furlongs. (Readers may remember I wrote an article about this for the Journal some while ago).

TED20 fitted with tyre tracks and lighting kit.

TEE20 with an Allman Speedometer fitted.

Next is No.91 an experimental prototype based on a TED20 but fitted with a Meadow’s direct injection diesel engine. (Again, this is covered by an article in a previous Journal). This is most likely the only surviving one but at least two examples are known to have been built.

The engine starts instantly, even in very cold weather and it pulls like the preverbal train! Fitted with a MF793,3 furrow plough set at 12″. On hard red Devon soil in 3rd gear it pulled well but the smoke was disgusting, in 2nd gear it purred along beautifully!

TED20 with Meadow’s diesel engine fitted.

The unrestored TEF20 Reekie conversion fitted with narrow rear wheels.

The complicated hitch of the Mark 1 trailer.

CC No.38 is a restored 1947 TE20 which is coupled to a Ferguson 3 ton tipping trailer F-JE-A30, often referred to as the Mark l. These early examples have a very complicated hitching linkage that does enable weight to be transferred from the trailer to the tractor’s rear wheels. They were only in production for a very short time before Harry Ferguson asked Industrial Inventor, Theo Sherwen to develop the hitch that is used today. It is rumoured he was given just 10 days to develop the new hitch. Once the modified design had been worked out, Harry Ferguson offered conversion kits to enable early trailers to be brought up to the later design.

Next we have CC No.61, this is a TEL20, a TVO Vineyard model. I bought this from a market gardener in North Somerset and it came complete with Howard Reduction Gearbox which is fitted within the transmission case. Howard designed these gearboxes especially for use in the TE20s. When hitched to a Howard Rotavator; it is vitaJly important not to subject the transmission to high loads when in low range as there is a risk of broken teeth!

Following this we have CC No.70, a Standard Motor Co. prototype designated Zero 1, the only survivor of the two that were made. Mine is fitted with a 23C diesel engine with a modified cylinder head to take a heater plug in each of the combustion chambers. (Again, this has been the subject of an article in the Journal). They were followed by two more different prototypes known as Zero 2. Both of these have survived in private ownership.

Standing next to this is CC No.93 an unrestored Reekie conversion of a Ferguson TEF20 fitted with 4.00 x 36″ rear wheels and a Howard Reduction Gearbox. (I had better do an article on this tractor!).

CC No.4 is a restored TEA20 I bought locally and was restored by the late Ernie Luxton. This is fitted to a Cameron Gardener Handy Loda with an earth bucket. The three point linkage has an assister contracting ram drawing high pressure oil from the pump. It works well and has plenty of wheel grip but drivers tended to get neck ache! This tractor is displayed with a genuine Ferguson tractor cover A-TE-A68.

The Cameron Gardener Handy Loda.

Next is CC No.82, a rare surviving 4WD conversion by Selene of Nichelino, near Milan, Italy. Drive is taken from the rear end of the gearbox within its own ‘sandwich’ or transfer box with sliding gears to enable the drive to the front axle to be selected. The front axle is ex WW2 Jeep but cut back to reduce its track width so as to align with the rear-wheels. Front tyres are 7.50 x 16″, needless to say the steering lock is much reduced. Interestingly, within the swivel hubs are proper constant velocity joints. Also, the gearing ratios are spot on as it is possible to drive the tractor at full speed and then engage 4WD without any horrible noise! Also fitted to this tractor is a Ferguson Tractometer A- TE-93 which records hours worked as well as engine speed. Drive is taken from the dynamo shaft and transmitted, via a flexible cable, to the instrument mounted just below the dash.

The 4WD TED20 conversion by the Italian firm Selene.

Photographs by Dr Mike Oakins
© Mike Thorne, first published in Ferguson Club Journal No.104 Spring 2022/23


Why and How I Started The Coldridge Collection (Part 5) Mike Thorne

The penultimate tractor in the Ferguson Shed is a Ford 9NAN, a late 1943, CC No. 24. I came across this tractor whilst we were erecting a building near North Tawton just a few miles from Coldridge. It was a lease lend tractor that had spent all it’s working life on that fann. It is a TVO model so the gear ratio to the layshaft in the gearbox is slightly lower than the petrol models. TIris is an attempt to compensate for the slightly lower power output from the engine. The only work done to this is a poor quality respray and a new set of tyres. Finally we have a Ferguson Model A, often referred to as the Ferguson Brown, this is CC No.39 with serial number 88, a 1936 example with the Coventry Climax petrol engine. This was purchased from a gentleman living in Dorset who in tum had imported it from Jersey. This was fully restored by Ernie Luxton, but only to include the mechanical elements. I had decided not to paint it thus showing off the different metals used for the different components. New tyres all round were fitted as the others were seriously perished. All the parts that make up the radiator had to be replaced, the castings for the top, bottom and side panels as well as a cast aluminium steering wheel were sourced from Clive & Robert Lunn of Grantham. These components had to be machined to close tolerances by my friend Jonathan Lewis. The manufacturing of a replacement core was entrusted to Barnstaple Radiators who replicated the correct profile to the cooling fins. I decided to fit a pair of rear mudguards which were available to customers as an optional fitment.

Number 24 in the collection is the 1943 Ford 9 NAN made in the USA and sent over as Lease-Lend. Insert picture shows the 9 NAN was badged as a Ford with a second badge – Ferguson System. The centre badge reads made in USA.

The Ferguson Model A (Ferguson Brown) was built in 1936, serial number 88.
Insert picture – Badged Ferguson, David Brown has been acknowledged on a brass
plate at the foot of the radiator.

The Ferguson Model A with period twvo furrow plough. Note the optional wings.

As this was going on I was offered the optional belt pulley and PTO assembly so this was installed, sadly the actual PTO shaft was missing. It should be mentioned here that on these models the hydraulic pump only works when the rear wheels are rotating so, as this one is fitted with a period two furrow Ferguson plough, before moving it I have to jack up one of the rear wheels, set the quadrant to lift and then hand turn the wheel!

On one occasion I took three Ferguson tractors to a ploughing day at Stoneleigh, which included this one with its plough. The late John Chambers was in attendance and spent a good couple of hours doing some ploughing, he was smiling like the cat that had got the cream!

Outside this shed is a 16″ single furrow plough of this early era.

Two exhibits which are not tractors should be mentioned, one is a cutaway, full size motorised model of the Perkins A4¬203 diesel engine. Although this is actually an automotive engine, it is in fact very close to the Perkins engine installed in the MF65 Mk1 tractors.

The Ferguson flat four car engine circa 1955, 2.2Iitres, ohv.
This engine is at present being restored.

The other exhibit is of a prototype Ferguson flat four-cylinder car engine, P97/420, one of a batch of 7, developed to power the R5 Ferguson Estate car. This was kindly restored for me by my good friend Peter Smith and his friend Robert. This has been the subject of a recent article in the Journal.

This later development of the Ferguson flat four engine has belt driven over head cams. It has been restored and at present is the only Ferguson car engine running.

The final shed adjoins my mezzanine and was refurbished in the latter pm.! of 2007 and completed ready to host the Club’s AGM &AMW in April 2008. When I bought Lower Park in 1977 part of this building was in place in the form of an Atcost building with a concrete frame, the main building was 45′ long i.e. three bays and 20′ wide with a 20′ wide lean to on the left-hand side as viewed from my office area. It was used for housing cattle and fodder storage. By 1978 I decided to extend the length by one bay of 15′ both to the main frame and the lean-to. On the other side we erected a 30′ wide lean-to the full length, obviously all the new frames were built of steel. Concrete block walls were built 5′ high around most of the perimeter apart from a large central sheeted door to allow access. Above the block walls space, boarding was used as an infill. This then became an over wintering shed for cattle with a central feed passage with bedded cattle pens in each lean-to. When my farming tenant had a change of farming policy this building quickly filled with a collection of stuff and a certain amount of junk! As time went on, we found that more display space was needed, so a start was made to clear the decks plior to a full refurbishment. Firstly, the sloping floor levels had to be realigned to one continuous gentle fall and finished with a power float surface. Next all the space boarding was lined on the inside with marine ply which was followed by having all the internal surfaces, except the floor, sprayed with a thick foam insulation. A filthy job done by two men to a very high standard. I was so impressed I gave them a decent gratuity. Once this had been completed Robin and I did some careful measuring of heights, the outcome of which showed that it would just be possible to install a mezzanine over most of the floor area of the centre part of the building and still have enough height below to operate a small forklift. In order to increase the actual area of this upper floor it seemed prudent to extend the edges beyond the line of the main stanchions by about 2’6″ (750mm). With the ceiling at this point sloping upwards to a finished edge of about 6″ (552mm) which supports the balustrade and, in turn, the stainless-steel hand rails. This, I feel, gives the deck a lift and provides the opportunity to install some down lighters. The mezzanine is reached by a staircase again with aluminium chequer plate treads. Above the floor we installed a 500kg electric hoist track along the apex of the building, this enables implements and cutaway models to be lifted from ground level and trundled along the track to their approximate positions. To facilitate this the mezzanine finishes about 10′ (3m) from the electrically operated roller shutter door. The centre section of tile balustrade at this end is detachable and incorporates a handmade electrically lit double sided Ferguson trade mark sign.

The next job was to install the first fix of all the electrical wiring, i.e. for lighting and ring main and three phase for the hoist. This was followed by the building of internal cavity walls incorporating illuminated display cases as in the Ferguson Shed. Next the underside of the roof was hidden by a suspended ceiling of white polystyrene tiles, again executed to a very high standard by a specialist contractor – again these chaps were rewarded with a gratuity. This was followed by painting the walls ‘off white’ and the steel work in blue. The final job was for me to lay the interlocking floor tiles on both levels.

Now to outline the tractors and imple¬ments that are displayed in this shed. We will go through the opening adjacent to my office area and proceed in a clockwise direction around the perimeter walls and finishing off by looking at what is in the centre part and then up on the mezzanine. The first exhibit is sadly partly covered by odds and ends but is a Massey Harris binder of the 1900’s Model 321. At some time in its life, it has been converted from horse drawn to tractor drawbar. This is on loan from AGCO.

Massey Harris binder circa 1926. Originally horse drawn but later converted for tractor use.

Photographs by Dr Mike Oakins
© Mike Thorne, first published in Ferguson Club Journal No.105 Summer 2022/23


Why and How I Started The Coldridge Collection (Part 6) Mike Thorne

Next in the collection is No.16, a 1957 FE35 diesel SDF52778 which is fitted with a MHF mounted spreader, both are restored. Adjacent to this is a MF35 petrol No.90. These models are unusual in the UK for obvious reasons! This one has been restored by the previous owner. Next is an experimental MF35, painted yellow No.58 and missing its commission plate. It has been fitted with a Ford F3 diesel engine as fitted in the Dexta models, although very similar to the Perkins A3-152 it is fitted with the pneumatic governor so it tends to ‘hunt’ when idling. The castings for these engines were produced by Ford at their Dagenham foundry then sent to Perkins to be machined, built and returned to Dagenham to be installed in their Dexta tractors. On the right-hand mudguard there is a large warning plate ‘No Unauthorised Person to Drive This Vehicle’, you have been warned! Behind these three tractors is a Ferguson Weeder type M-RE-A21, it is 13′ wide and equipped with 71 thinnish spring steel tines, the outer sections can be folded up for transportation. Directly behind the Yellow tractor is a Ferguson winch W-VE-20 which is restored but not yet had its rope or hook fitted. Next to this is a Ferguson FE35 No.72 preproduction model serial number FE003, engine number SBE, a 23C design but has a crankcase breather as fitted to the 20C engines. This feature was carried over on the very early production models. Sadly, this tractor has been fitted with Ford Dexta mudguards and I am pretty sure that the bonnet is not original. Next to this we have No.49 a 1957 TVO FE35 SKF52100 example, with a Devon registration XTA 464, a one lady owner tractor. When I bought it, I was glad to see it was fitted with a Ferguson mid mounted mower FE¬79-77 with a 5′ cutter bar. In 1996 I bought a British made Ferguson side delivery
rake type D-EE-20 serial number 1762 and I mounted this onto this tractor’s three-point linkage.


In the summer of 1999, the Ferguson Club was invited to have a stand at the Bath & West Show at Shepton Mallet. Four Club members in the south¬west were to volunteer to take on the setting up of the stand, needless to say I was one of them. To make a change from just a line-up of tractors and implements I thought we could replicate a display my friend, the late Keith Base, put together in New Zealand when the FE35 were introduced in 1956. Luckily Keith had given me some photographs of their setup which we were able to replicate pretty closely. With the tractor and rake fenced off from the visitors, with its engine running on petrol, at a brisk tick-over the bars of the rake slowly rotating and the hydraulic lift arranged to cycle gently up and down, with one of rake’s rear castor wheels appearing to touch a hen’s egg set in an eggcup. It worked a treat with the engine note changing with the upward and downward movement. The Club was awarded a second prize in the Trade Stands section with The Health and Safety Executive being awarded first. Their stand was good but at the taxpayer’s expense unlike us volunteers!

Before moving on to the next tractor there are close by two Ferguson ploughs, a single furrow Reversible type T-AE-28 complete with coupling parts and a two-furrow general purpose plough with mouldboards set at 10″. Alongside is No.52 a Ferguson FE35 Vineyard model serial number VDF 74050, 1958.

Very few of these were built but it is safe to say that 12 are known to have survived in preservation. The last one on this side of the building is No.66, a Ferguson FE35 diesel Industrial model serial number SNJDM 20515 1957. I found this tractor in a very sorry state at a school playing field near High Wycombe. Since then, it has been fully restored by the late Ernie Luxton complete with the wide front and rear mudguards, twin braking system and electric horn. We have fitted this tractor with a Ferguson Fork Lift 737 serial number 103, these were made by Fewsters of Northumberland. As recommended in the Instruction Book front wheel weights are fitted and, as an additional precaution, the front weight frame has been retained with the addition of three ‘Jerry Can Weights’¬ – power steering would be a great help!

Down the right-hand side, we start with group of implements. A Ferguson Seed Drill Universal 13 row model with Suffolk Coulters type G-PE-A20. This was given to me many years ago by a local dairy farmer, the late Frank Beer. Next, we have a Ferguson Kale Cut Rake type G-HE-20. This concept was thought up by a farmer and is basically a buck rake with a reciprocating cutter bar fitted at the far end of the tines and PTO driven. The Instruction Book suggests reversing into the crop at full engine speed! Also in this location is a Ferguson Electric Hammer Mill type H-LE-21 serial number 109. There is also a Ferguson Steerage Hoe, rigid type IB-KE-20 without discs, a pair of wheel girdles type A-TE-89, a Ferguson multipurpose grader blade and a pair of Ford Ferguson rear steel wheels.

Photographs by Dr Mike Oakins
© Mike Thorne, first published in Ferguson Club Journal No.106 Autumn 2022/23

Why and How I Started The Coldridge Collection (Part 7) Mike Thorne

Next in the collection is a Ferguson TEF20 on loan from AGCO and described in a previous article, it is fitted with my Ferguson Potato Planter type P-PE-20 serial number 287050 in nice clean condition. It is complete with the Fertilizer attachment.

Number 71 in the collection is the Ford 8N made in March 1950.

Standing next to it is No.71, a Ford 8N serial number 27848051 made in March 1950, it is unrestored. These models are often referred to as ‘The Law Suit’ model because of Ford’s use of the Ferguson patents in its design. It has a four-speed gearbox and incorporates not only Draft Control but, by moving a small lever on the top of the hydraulic cover, Position Control becomes available. Ford did not flout Ferguson’s patents on the adjustable front axle on these 8N’s, if one chose to alter the track width the drag links would have to be adjusted individually to maintain the correct steering geometry.

The Ford 8N’s distinctive light grey and red colour scheme.

The next tractor down the line is No.84 a preproduction TEF20 serial number EXP 11 built about 1951. In 2001 when I bought it, I was told by the owner, a tractor service engineer, that it had been given by Harry Ferguson to University College, London for grass cutting duties at their playing fields at Chislehurst, Kent. This was recently validated by a visitor to the Collection whose father used to drive this very tractor with the red painted bonnet and mudguards. He went on to tell me, that as a child, he would sometimes sit on his father’s lap as he cut the grass. Sadly, the original engine is not fitted, but the dash panel is made of aluminium. Another Ferguson in this batch, EXP 16 exists in the Coventry area.

Number 67 in the collection is this 1947 TE20 fitted with an early Perkins P3 diesel engine.

Next is No.67, a 1947 Ferguson TE20 serial number 2634 but it has been fitted with an early Perkins P352 (TA) diesel with a CAV Coaxial starter motor. These engines developed 34hp compared to the 20.3hp produced by the Continental Z120 engine. It is also fitted with a Ferguson Epicyclic reduction gearbox type A-TE-118 serial number 196 as it is fitted as a ‘sandwich’ unit behind the main gearbox and extends the wheel base by 4”, it also provides Live PTO in low range, maybe this was fitted before the engine change. Also fitted to this tractor is a 25cfm rotary compressor made by Hydrovane type A-UE-20.

Fitted to the TE20 P3 is a Hydrovane rotary compressor type A-UE-20.

Published in Journal No. 107, Winter 2023.  Mike Thorne.
Photographs by Dr Mike Oakins

This is the last entry in the ‘Why and How I started the Coldridge Collection’ series.
Mike Thorne sadly passed away on Tuesday 19th September 2023. A Memorial service was held in Coldridge Parish Church on Wednesday 22nd November 2023.


‘Traction for Sale’, Ferguson R5 4WD

Traction for Sale Mike Thorne


Tim Hanson, your editor, suggested that I write a review of this handsome new publication written by Bill Munro and Patricia Turner. Traction for Sale is the story of Harry Ferguson and his team in their development of permanent 4WD drive systems for road vehicles, this included their own prototypes and the conversions to 4WD of some mass produced cars and vans. Also embraced in this story are the developments they pioneered in racing cars: this was the era of Harry Ferguson Research (H.FR.) later to become Formula Ferguson Developments Ltd. (FFD) and eventually Ricardo FFD. Harry Ferguson’s interest in producing a ‘Safer Car for the Masses’ dates back before the merger with Massey Harris but unfortunately he did not live quite long enough to see the success of his 4WD Racing Car. Following his death in October 1960 the business was headed up by H.F’s son-in-law, Tony Sheldon with the able assistance of Tony Rolt (former Team Jaguar Racing Driver).

It cannot be over­emphasised that it was Tony Rolt who was the driving force in all this experimental work, right from the early days of Dixon-Rolt Develop­ments, the HFR era and well on into the days of Formula Ferguson De­velopments Ltd., which was in fact Rolt’s own company, with no direct business connection with the Ferguson Family Trust.

This book had a long gestation period. Bill Munro first became interested when, during his research into Jeeps in 1998, he contacted Ricardo FFD (formerly FF Developments) and met one of their long time engineers, Will Turner, whose wife, Patricia, had previously written an unpublished history of Harry Ferguson Research. It was suggested that Bill should make use of this and so the seeds were sown.


‘R5′ OWK 21 was the last Ferguson research car to be built before the company changed direction and began to adapt the technology to fit other makers’ cars.

I jumped at this opportunity to write a review as I have a strong interest in all H.Fs pioneering work not only his developed of the Ferguson System but the work he and his team became involved with, later in his life, to engineer safer road cars with the inclusion of 4WD and anti­locking braking systems.

This hardback book runs to 350 pages, profusely illustrated with archive photo­graphs and line drawings. It is clear that Bill has done much in-depth and wide ranging research and the manner in which he has presented this is evidence of his fascination with the subject and dare I say addictiori. I have found this book compulsive reading.

‘R3C’ is the third generation research car, pictured with Major Tony Rolt in the garden of Harry Ferguson’s home at Abbottswood, Gloucestershire.

The book is very detailed and I feel I can give you a flavour of this with the follow­ing bullet points taken from the back cover:-

  • In a story spanning seven decades, Traction for Sale tells of the efforts made to bring Ferguson full time four wheel drive to the mass market.
  • The Story of Harry Ferguson Research Ltd in developing the Ferguson Formula of All-wheel Control.
  • Full story of the Ferguson research cars.
  • The story of F.F. Developments, the comp­any founded by Tony Rolt to take the tech­nology forward when the estate of Harry Ferguson ceased to fund any further research.

Details of:-

  • Leading production cars: The Jensen FF, AMC Eagle and the Ford Sierra XR 4X4
  • Converted cars: The Ford Mustangs, Ford Zephyr MK4 and Capri, the Schuler Super Ranger and Opel Monza and Senator.
  • Formula One cars: The Ferguson Climax P99, BRM P67, Matra MS84 and Lotus 56B.-
  • Indianapolis cars: The Novi-Ferguson cars, the Paxton Turbocar and the Lotus 56.
  • Peter Westbury’s: Felday 4 and Felday 5 sports racers.
  • Group B rally cars: Peugeot 205T16, Lancia Delta S4, Ford RS200 and MG Metro 6R4.
  • Other vehicles that either made it into full production or never got beyond the planning stage.
  • Non four wheel drive work carried out by H.F.R. and transmissions contracts fulfilled by FF Developments.

To summarize I feel this book is a ‘must have’ for anyone who is stimulated by pioneering engineering concepts and is also another insght into H.F’s versatility. There was much more to him than just the ‘Little Grey Tractor’. When this work started, 4WD was generally confined to military and off-road vehicles. The philosophy behind all this development work was to engineer a safer road car for everyone. Today, of course, 4WD is almost common place.

The forward to Bill’s book is written by the Duke of Richmond and Gordon, his concluding paragraph is, in my opinion, spot on. ‘This is a great story, told in the kind of detail that will appeal to all of those who appreciate inventive engineering’.

Here is a link to Bill Munro’s website with details of how to buy copies of the book (and others) at preferential rates…..

Welcome to Earlswood Press – Earlswood Press

© Mike Thorne, First published in the Ferguson Club Journal, Issue 93, Winter 2019/20


Ferguson Prototype Flat Four Engine

Ferguson Prototype Flat Four Engine, Mike Thorne and Peter Smith:

Ferguson prototype Flat Four engine, designed to power the R5 Estate Car, developed and produced by Harry Ferguson Research Ltd (HFR).

This story started in 2012 when I received, out of the blue, a phone call from a gentleman based in Herefordshire, asking me if I would be interested in buying two prototype Ferguson car engines. One was an overhead valve unit, developed to power the R4 Ferguson car, while the other, the subject of this article, is an overhead cam engine, with toothed belts driving each camshaft. Yes, of course I was, but his asking price was far beyond my means and although he seemed very keen that they should come to the Coldridge Collection, I had to say sorry, I cannot afford to pay your asking price, and left it at that.

Well about ten days later he phoned me again with the suggestion that I may have a tractor that I would be prepared to swap for the two engines. My immediate response was yes, I have a MF165, fitted with a four wheel traction conversion in a rough, unrestored state, apart from the engine which was running quite well, all the sheet metal work was rusted out, but I had been able to buy some genuine replacement items second hand, so they were included in the swap. He was very happy with all this and a few days later he arrived with his 7.5ton 100TY with the two engines and a couple of boxed of various gaskets suitable for them. So we off loaded the engines and he drove the MF165 onto his lorry, strapped it down and set off back to Hereford.

The rusty and decaying engine as it arrived at Mike Thorne’s Coldridge collection.

I kept these engines in dry storage; they were viewed from time to time by interested visitors. One was a gentleman who had worked for HFR and he had been involved with the R5 project. It was he who told me that a batch of seven engines had been developed and built up, mine carries a commission plate marked P94/4 (project 94 number 4). He went on to tell me that on one, they had cut a piece out of the left hand rocker cover so that oil flow could be monitored, the cut was fitted with a perspex window. My reply was ‘that is this engine’!

Over time I have made a point of collecting any technical data relating to either of these engines. So far most of what I have been able to collect relates to the R5 engine, details of the earlier units seem to be more elusive. It is perhaps worth quoting here from one of these documents Automotive Engineer – March 1966 ‘A compact high performance 2232cc four cylinder horizontally opposed unit’ and a further quote ‘an engineer’s engine’. This power unit was designed by HFR chief engineer Claud Hill, an ex. Aston Martin designer. It was a very much developed follow on from the earlier OHV (push rods) that were installed in the Ferguson R4 car. Perhaps it should be mentioned here that Harry Ferguson Research was headed up at this time by Tony Sheldon, HF’s son-in-law, who took over following Harry Fergusons death in October 1960. Another aside is at one point in the development of the R4, the engineers were keen to road test it out, but their engine was not ready, so they decided to install a Jowet Javelin flat four OHV unit of 1.5 litres; by the way, the engine and the car were designed by their engineer, Gerald Palmer.

The specification of the R5 engine P94/4 is as follows:- Bore 95mm, stroke 78mm swept volume 2212cc, compression ratio 9:1, sump capacity 10pts of SAE 10/40. Its alternator is driven by a micro vee belt.

The first set of performance figures are taken from the Automotive Engineer dated March 1965 and are as follows: – max power output 125bhp at 5400rpm, max torque 131Ib/ft at 2500rpm, firing order 1,4,2,3. The second set of figures are taken from the Motor Magazines road test, dated August 1966 of the same engine i.e. fitted with two SU HD6 carburettors, max power 116bhp at 5400rpm, max torque 1281b/ft at 3500rpm.

The next part of this story started in the Summer of 2018 when Club members Julie Browning and Peter Smith visited the Coldridge Collection and Peter being a most competent motor engineer offered to rebuild this with his friend Robert McColl, needless to say I was delighted with this offer so the engine was loaded into their vehicle and they headed off back up to Cheshire.

Over now, to Peter Smith and Robert McColl to explain how with their skills and enthusiasm the engine was rebuilt to run­ning order, and a stand made to display it.

I first saw Mike’s Ferguson Research engines on one of our regular visits to Coldridge. After a look around the collection, Mike said that he had something to show us. In the back of the workshop there were two prototype engines. At a distance they looked quite complete and I said that “I didn’t think the overhead cam engine would take much to get it going”. How wrong can one be? So, after a little discussion, Mike decided that I would be the one to restore the engine.

Several years passed due to other commitments, but eventually the day came to collect the engine. We had been to the 2018 Dorset Steam Fair and on the way home we arranged to visit Mike and bring the OHC engine to Wilmslow. Rob McCall, a good friend of ours agreed to help me with the restoration of this engine and the whole process has been a joint venture between Rob and myself, with help from Dennis Williamson and lots of helpful advice from Julie.

As soon as we got the engine back to Cheshire, it became apparent that the task was going to be much larger that we first thought. The engine was seized and when the top of the air filter was removed, it was clear that rodents had been using it as a home for quite some time.

Whatever had been living in it, had, in the process, caused considerable damage to the aluminium carburettor bodies.

The first job was to secure the engine before dismantling it. We do have a good engine stand, but as the engine was to be displayed on a stand when completed, the decision was taken to make the frame first. 50mm box section was used for this purpose and Rob welded it all together. The design allowed for the engine to sit on the frame with all the ancillaries to be mounted to the right of the engine. This would allow for an unobstructed view of the engine. The frame also allowed for the sump to sit inside the stand for service and inspection.

Once the engine was safely mounted, the next job was to assess the cause of it being seized. The spark plugs were removed and a borescope was used to check on the state of the bores. The news wasn’t good and the decision was taken to carry out a full strip down.

The engine was completely stripped and it was reasonably easy to free off and remove the sized piston. It was at this point we were able to completely understand and appreciate the design of the engine.

The cylinders are paired front and rear. Both front pistons hit TDC together eliminating a lot of vibration. Throughout the rebuild we have noted several other unusual design features that are not often seen on engines of this era; The pistons themselves are of a complex design, shaped to match the internals of the cylinder head and valve arrangement for efficiency and performance. The rocker shaft mounting posts have one-way valves built in, presumably for maintaining oil pressure within the valve train. Due to the physical construction of a flat 4, the engine is effectively a “dry sump” arrangement relying only on pumped oil for lubrication to the crankshaft, we have no documentation to support whether this was at this stage merely a coincidence of design, or an intentional feature of Ferguson’s to reduce drag on the crankshaft. Perhaps most unusual of all for an engine of this period is the timing being controlled by two independent toothed belts, this at this time was very much in line with the emerging technology of the era and one report actually states that this was a first. The whole engine being a flat four would have had a low centre of gravity and would have suited a sports car/racing car.

The engine block was cleaned up and the cylinders were honed. The pistons were cleaned, but the rings were seized tightly within the grooves and could not be removed intact; so, a new set of piston rings were sourced. They had to be custom made as none of the piston ring manufactures had anything on the shelf that would fit the Ferguson engine, as they were of quite narrow gauge.

Mike had supplied a box of mixed gaskets. It soon became apparent that not all the gaskets were for this engine, but were probably of other variants of similar engines that HFR were working on at the time. Fortunately, we did find a good set of head gaskets that fitted.

The rebuild started and progressed quite well. Timing belts had already been sourced. The correct pitch was not available in the U.K. as it was imperial, but we were able to order a set from the U.S. and when the factory had enough special orders, they batched them.


Looking down on to the restored engine which shows its unique shape.

How to time the engine was still a mystery, due to a lack of technical data. When the flywheel was cleaned up, we discovered two sets of markings. One of these looked to be in the correct place for TDC. Camshaft pulleys had been marked on strip down as their bolt pattern and the lack of a locating dowel allowed the pulleys to be fitted in six different positions. Again, when cleaned up, there were also timing marks on the camshaft pull~ys. When all these marks were aligned, it became apparent that the engine frame had subtle timing marks and everything made sense. Even though everything looked obvious, the engine was rotated slowly by hand many times while observing the actions of the valves until we were completely happy that the engine timing was correct.

The next step was to create starter, fuelling and ignition wiring for the engine. It had come with a distributor, but little else. A control panel was fabricated onto the frame and to this all necessary components and switches to make the engine run. It was at this point a fuel tank and fuel pump were installed.

Due to the previously mentioned damage, a set of carburettors were sourced from a well-known internet auction site. They had to be stripped and checked over. New needles were fitted to the same specification as those in the original carburettors (which took considerable attention to remove). We hope these will give a reasonable performance, but it is my guess that Ferguson had tried many different needle combinations, as there is literature that suggests many different carburettor arrangements were trialled and tested on these engines.

Along came test day and the moment of truth. A battery was connected and a small amount of fuel put in the tank. It took three of four quick attempts and with a small adjustment to the distributor timing, it was running. This test was for about ten seconds as the engine still had no water in it, but it was successful.

An exhaust manifold was made from scratch. No silencer has (at time of writing) been fitted, but the hot gasses are now directed away from the engine. A radiator was fitted to the far right of the frame and hoses routed from the engine to the radiator. This allowed for a much longer test run.

Now knowing that the engine would run and with talk of its first public outing, we turned our attention to safety. A perspex guard was fitted to the front of the engine to protect the timing belts, but still allow full vision. To the rear a mesh guard was made to cover the flywheel.


The restored engine mounted to its new frame with the control panel to the top right.

Just to round off this article, I would like any interested person to feel free to contact me on 07966328600 to make an appointment to view the Coldridge Collection. Likewise Peter Smith and Julie Browning, who have an extensive collection of rare Ferguson tractors and implements, many from the American manufactory, would welcome visitors.

© Mike Thorne and Peter Smith, Ferguson Club Journal Issue 94, Spring 2020


Meadows Engine Ferguson TE-D 20 Pt.1

Meadows Engine Ferguson TE-D 20:

Serial Number 124639
Made 19th March 1950 and registered September 1950

It was a well known fact that Harry Ferguson was not keen on diesel engines, but of course the farmers were. It did not take Frank Perkins long to offer a conversion kit to enable the installation of their P3 (TA) unit to be fitted retrospectively to TE20 tractors. Just for the record is should be noted that Frank Perkins had installed, in his own Ford 2N, a Perkins P4 (TA) and had used it successfully on his own farm.

So eventually in 1950 Harry Ferguson realised that he would have to concede to customer requirements and be able to market a diesel engined TE20. To this end he commissioned three diesel engine manufacturers to provide a TE20 fitted with their own engine for evaluation and field testing. The Standard Motor Company Ltd was the obvious contender so they invited Arthur Freeman Sanders, a light weight diesel engine expert of the time, to work with their own development engineers to produce a prototype engine. Prior to this work for Standard he had designed and built two six cylinder diesel car engines: one he installed in a Studebaker and the other in an Alvis TA21 which he had bought new minus the normal three litre petrol engine (see Alvis Three Litre in Detail by David Culshaw). So it is not surprising to find that to meet Standards request he followed a similar layout, but only four cylinders.

Another contender was Perkins of Peterborough, who, using one of their already available conversions was able to submit that. It is worth noting that the petrol engine of the early TEA20 produced 23.9 bhp at 2000 rpm while the P3 diesel engine produced 32 bhp at the same speed.

The late Harold Beer puts the Meadows tractor to the test.

Another Meadows prototype being prepared to be sent for testing

The final offering for evaluation was built up by Meadows of Wolverhampton, an established firm of engine builders, both petrol and diesel; they were part of a group of engine builders that included Brush Mirrlees and Petter, collectively A.B.O.E.

Before going on to set out details of this engine I feel it appropriate to briefly outline how it eventually came to Coldridge. It was back in 1999 when I was researching for information about the Ferguson LTX prototype tractors and talking to people who had been involved in its develoPI1lent and field testing. It was my intention to commission a model maker, Paul Dimock of Somerset, to produce a limited edition of fifty models in 18th scale of this tractor. It was the late Erik Frediksen (an ex Massey Ferguson design engineer) who kindly arranged for me to meet up with seven or eight men who had been working on that project. It was Nigel Liney a field test driver who asked me if I would like to see an unusual Ferguson TE20, of course I was keen. Yes, there it was, grown in with trees and brambles, no wheels and a big hole in the crankcase on the oil gallery side of the engine where number three connection rod had smashed its way through.

The Meadows tractor arrives at the workshop of David White after 40 years out in the open

A big hole in the crankcase where number three connecting rod smashed through.

I asked Nigel if he would be willing to visit the owner, to handover my written offer so that, hopefully, I could buy it: sadly my offer was turned down.
Anyway, it was eventually bought by David White of Ormskirk a most competent agricultural engineer specialising in vintage machinery who restored it back to full working order – a monumental task.

The story of its recovery and rebuild was fully dealt with in two issues of Vintage Tractor, June/July and August/September .
2004. Having viewed the tractor back in 1999 I made a point of writing to David to compliment him on his amazing achievement, adding the point that if he ever decided to sell it perhaps he would be good enough to give me first refusal. He offered it to me in October 2005, I did not argue over his asking price because I felt it very fair considering the colossal amount of work he’d put into its rebuild. He phoned me on a Wednesday and delivered it to Coldridge the following Saturday, along with several of the parts which he had replaced.

The bent and broken conrod

The exhaust ports were choked with carbon.

About the engine. It is quite clear that Meadows/Petter produced the block to fit exactly in place of the Standard petrol/TVO engine. As can be seen from the photographs it follows the flange of the clutch bell housing exactly and although the cylinder head was a purpose made casting, the sump was taken directly from a Standard built petrol engine, likewise the water pump, oil filter (early vehicle type) and the oil filler cap. The fuel tank was especially fabricated with a saddle base so that it sat neatly over the engine, which is slightly higher by about two inches (50 mm) but the bonnet closes normally to the dash panel. The engine is a direct injection unit fitted with a CAV inline pump with an excess fuel button. The 6 volt starter motor is retained, but the tractor has a 12 volt battery. Needless to say it fires up instantly at below zero. It has been used at an autumn ploughing day on hard red Devon soil hitched to a MF three furrow 793 plough set at 12 inches (300 mm). It purred along in second gear as sweet as a nut. When the late Harold Beer was driving it he decided to try it in third gear, it worked but the black smoke was disgusting, a not to be repeated test. As Nigel Liney told me back in 1999 the Meadows engine tractor had the best pulling characteristics against the Perkins and the Standard 20C. I would certainly validate that!

Engine designation and specification:
• Meadows engine No.BXA 105 Type 4DC 1/35
• Bore 80mm, stroke 110mm, capacity 2212cc. Output not known as I do not have a dynamometer.
• The Standard Petrol engine: Bore 80mm, stroke 92mm

© Mike Thorne, first published, Ferguson Club Journal, Issue No.90 Winter 2018/19


Meadows Engine Ferguson TE-D 20 Pt.2

Meadows Engine Ferguson TED20, Mike Thorne, Journal 52, Spring 2006

It was back in 1998 when doing some research in the Midlands for the 1/18 scale models of the Ferguson LTX tractor which I had produced and ready for sale by April 2000. At this time I had the privilege to meet and talk with many of those people who were involved in its development and field testing. One of the team was Nigel Liney and it was he who told me about other evaluation work being done by Harry Ferguson Ltd when they were looking at the production of a diesel version of the TE20. Apparently they asked three engine manufacturers to offer a suitably sized engine for fitment to the TE20. The thinking behind this was to enable the Ferguson people to have a good opportunity to give each engine installation a thorough and long term assessment.

The three firms asked to supply a unit each were Standard Motor Co. Ltd of Coventry, Frank Perkins Ltd of Peterborough and Meadows Engines Ltd of Wolverhampton.

As the Standard Motor Co did not have a diesel unit in production at the time and were obviously hopeful of securing the contract, so they sought the services of Freeman Sanders who were experts in small diesel engine design, living and worked at Penzance in Cornwall. He had already developed a lightish weight 6 cylinder indirect injection high speed auto motive type of diesel engine and had two built up. One he installed in a Studebaker and the other he installed in a new Alvis TA2 which was supplied to him by the factory but less its normal petrol engine. The general layout of this 6 cyliinder engine is remarkably close to what he eventually helped to develop for the Standard Motor Co. for installation in the TE20 and for some other applications.

The next offering came from F Perkins who by this time 1949/19S0 had in their range a suitable and proven engine in the form of the TA. TA = tractor Application. Perkins had been supplying these engines as kits for retrospective installation in various small tractors i.e. the Allis B thc Ford Ferguson 8N and of course the TE20.

The fact is that Nigel Liney managed to tip the test TE20 converted to diesel with the P3 engine on to it’s back whilst ploughing with a three furrow plough: the driving method with a TED20 was to be flat out in 2nd gear, lift the plough out at the headland and spin through 90° on the independent brake but it did not work too well with the test P3!

The third diesel engine to be evaluated was produced by Meadows of Wolver­hampton and is now the main subject of this article.

The same team of people had also been involved in the testing and evaluation program of the three different models of diesel engines fitted to a normal TE20 Ferguson, as mentioned earlier. Nigel knew where the Meadows one had ended up, in fact at one time he had tried to buy it. So onc afternoon we drove about 6 miles from Nigel’s house to view the tractor. This we did. but the view was very restricted: the tractor was missing part of its front axle and totally engulfed in trees and brambles making it quite impossible to get to it at close quarters. As we drove away I spoke enthusiastically to Nigel that I would really like to buy and restore this Ferguson. Nigel warned me that a connecting rod had broken and gone through the crank case. I was not put off by this ‘little problem’. An offer was duly made to the owner who de­clined to sell: disappointed I accepted the fact, but asked Nigel to keep and eye on it!

The next I heard about the Meadows Engined Ferguson when an article appeared in Vintage Tractor Magazine – of June/July 2004 by coincidence alongside an article Tim Bolton had written about the Coldridge Collection here in Devon – a strange coincidence!

Tim Bolton’s article spawned two issues in his magazine the one just mentioned and Dec/J an 2004/2005. These articles described how the tractor had been bought by engineer and restoration expert David White from near Ormskirk. On taking the tractor back to his works he set about the monumental task of repairing the engine not just the big hole in the side – which by the way had been part of the oil gallery! This had been caused by the breaking of number three connecting rod. David carefully made a pattern to the shape of the missing piece of the crank case and oil way about 9″ long and 31h” at the widest part. From this pattern David had accurately made a piece of cast steel and then he welded it into place on the crank case.

The pattern which was made to repair the crank case.

Next he turned his attention to the crank shaft; which was about I 00 thou undersize on number three pin. The journals were turned down to clean them up metal sprayed to slightly oversize then ground back to their standard size. The hand made connecting rods were in reasonable order except for number three which had to be repaired and rebored to size. David was able to find that Toyota shells fitted the main journals whilst Jaguar thrusts were used on the mains. The shells for the big end bearing were Petter as were the original and replacement pistons: the bores were sleeved and bored back to original size. The CAY series A fuel injection pump had to have new and slightly different bearings/seals fitted so a bit of machining had to be done to the pump body. New elements were fitted at the same time. Sourcing suitable fuel and oil filter elements proved difficult but again Petter parts seemed the most appropriate. It is interesting to note that the oil bath air intake filter is a Donaldson almost exactly the same as fitted to the Ferguson Brown in 1936! The engine is of direct injection design and fitted with a 6 volt electrical system: the starter motor is a Lucas M459 being a simple Bendix drive type unlike the normal pre-engagement type fitted to most diesel engines. I think the Turner Yeoman of England tractor had a similar Bendix drive. Nigel Liney recalls that as part of the winter test program the three diesel engine TE20 were left out overnight in freezing conditions so that in the morning the cold starting characteristics could be assessed. In this area the Meadows did not fare very well, no doubt the 6 volt system was the main cause, to overcome this drawback the test team would light a small fire under the tractor to warm the oil prior to attempting to start the engine: this usually worked. David fitted the tractor with a Heavy Duty 12 volt battery that fits neatly into the original battery carrier, this works well but several attempts have to be made to start it, because as soon as the engine fires the pinion is thrown out of engagement with the flywheel, as we know diesel engines often need a bit of cranking. Being a direct injection design there are no cold starting aids fitted apart from an excess fuel button on the pump and a heater plug on the inlet manifold. So far the tractor starts OK, although it does ‘hunt’ a bit when cold. Oil pressure is very good about 60psi, as is its lugging ability, I am keen to get it coupled up to a three furrow Ferguson plough when the Spring cultivations get underway.

Finishing touches to the restoration.

It is thought that this Meadows engine type 4DC 1/35 was one of a small batch especially built up to meet the requirement of the TE20. It will be noted that the front axle carrier bracket fits very neatly to the front of the engine whilst the rear lines up exactly with the clutch bell housing of the TE20. Interestingly the sump is directly from a Standard Motor Co. petrol engine, as used on a TED20, the fuel tank looks similar but, is obviously a one off and is rather saddled to enable it to fit over the engine and just clear the bonnet. The filler is to the rear of the tank and is fitted with a push and turn type brass cap, but it is retained by a short chain in exactly the same way as the Ferguson screw type cap is. David found on the underside of the bonnet three layers of paint, the base Ferguson light grey, second coat the grey/green it has now been repainted and on top of that Ferguson light grey again. To complete the restoration David had new Meadows name plates made for each side of the tractor as the original had deteriorated badly, but was sufficiently intact to enable replicas to be made. Prior to David White buying the tractor the previous owner had taken the wise precaution to remove the original Meadows badge from the bonnet grill for safe keeping in his house. When the tractor changed hands the original badge was part of the deal. Fearing that if he put the original badge back on the tractor it might go missing, David decided to have a replica made for fitment to the tractor: this is the one you see at the present time.

Following the articles in Vintage Tractor I wrote to David congratulating him on his purchasing and wishing him well with the massive engine restoration project, I also indicated my interest in perhaps buying the tractor if for whatever reason he might wish to sell it. Late October 2005 David phoned me to say he had decided to sell the tractor and hoped I would buy it. We agreed a price on the Wednesday and by the following Saturday David arrived here at Coldridge with the Meadows engined Ferguson on his trailer. I was delighted, a unique tractor I had known about in 1998 had finally come to the Coldridge Collection just over seven years later. Roll on the Spring.

Basic details of this tractor

  • Registration Number KDU 559 first registered 14th September 1950
  • Tractor Number TED 124039 completed 22nd March 1950.
  • Engine Meadows inline’ 4-cylinder overhead valve direct injection type DC 1/35.
  • Bore and stroke 80mm x 110mm
  • Capacity 2212cc.
  • Fuel Pump CAV type 17A with pneumatic governor
  • 6 volt electrics with 12 volt battery!

Any further information on this project would be most welcome just phone Mike on 07966 328 600.

Photographs by Mike Thorne, Tim Bolton and David White. Thanks to Tim and David for the information and being so helpful.

Mike Thorne, first published in Journal 52, Spring 2006.


The Standard Motor Company Prototype Dumper Truck

The Story of the Standard Motor Company Prototype Dumper Truck

I was recently informed by the well-known Massey writer, John Farnsworth that a Standard Motor Co. Prototype dumper truck was being offered for sale in one of the tractor magazines. After taking down the details I made contact with Robert Thompson who is based near Alcaster: he gave me a bit of background to this machine which he had owned and used for about twelve years: we agreed on a price but it was up to me to collect. This I did, tying the collection in with the AGCO press release concerning the relocation of the Massey Ferguson Banner Lane collection.

When I collected this prototype dumper, Robert was able to give the name and phone number of the previous owner, Bill Davies. In due course I made contact with him and it is him who we have to thank for most of the basic history of these machines. Let us first look at the background of this project before going onto review the specifications. Why should a major car and tractor manufacturer consider building dumper trucks? Well, they did a prototype 4×4 vehicle with perhaps the idea of competing with Land Rover in the late 40’s.

The vehicle code named FGPV (Farmers General Purpose Vehicle) named Langard: looks a bit like an Austin Champ. They also produced some prototype tractors of their own, an early one is here in the Coldridge Collection, sadly missing its commission number, another late one in Robert Crawfors Collection, Serial No. X678.

I was told by ex-Standard Motor Co. employee, Ron Easterbrook that a batch of 12 of these dumpers were made for export to Israel but the order was cancelled at the last minute. Bill Davies recalls all 12 were sold to a Coventry Building contractor and eventually one or two were sold off to Benfords. Who then dismantled them to evaluate their construction (seems a strange thing to do). Bill bought this example in 1968 to use in connection with his ready mixed concrete and concrete block making business. He used this dumper truck to deliver small batches of concrete to customers in the nearby town; hence his need to register it for road use. This was done on 12-12-69 with the Warwickshire County Council and given registration WAC 942H, which it still carries today.

The specification is as follows:
Engine; Single Petter Diesel. No. PHTT 393PHI, handstart.
According to Bill Davies three were fitted with Ruston diesel engines.
Clutch, Borg&Beck 9ins. Gearbox, 4 forward & reverse syncromesh directly from Triumph Herald.
Propellor shaft, Hardy Spicer, one piece.
Front axle, Triumph diff unit with power fed into reduction dropper boxes.
Brake, internal expanding hydraulically operated with separate mechanical operation of park brake by Girling.
Front tyre 750×16 traction type. Rear tyres, ribbed.
The rear axle and steering, fabricated beam with central pivot point. The hub swivels are taken from the Herald parts bin and carry the road wheels but no brakes.
Steering; fitted with Ferguson TEF20 type steering wheel, as is the driver’s seat pan.
The skip holds about 1 cu.yd of material and is mechanically tipped and off counter balanced design with a pair of springs to absorb shock loads when tipping.

All in all, a robust little dumper – would just need a rollover frame and a flashing beacon to bring it inline with todays Health & Safety requirements, plus a few other warning stickers!

I would be delighted to hear from anyone who can shed more light on this story; please give me a ring on 07966 328600.

Thank you – © Mike Thorne, 2021.

First published in Club Journal No. 54, Winter 2006/7