Ford 9N, 2N and 8N Tractors


These tractors which are essentially the ancestors of the Ferguson were built as a result of the famous handshake agreement between Henry Ford and Harry Ferguson.

Ferguson needed a tractor for his famous three point linkage system and after trying a joint venture with David Brown (The Ferguson-Brown) he took in 1938, one of these tractors to the United States, Henry Ford was impressed by the ability of the Ferguson-Brown and agreed that Ford should build a tractor that incorporated the Ferguson Draft Control Hydraulic system.

(Ferguson had worked with a number of American companies who manufactured or sold his Duplex hitch Plough and it was one of these, Sherman Brothers, who made the introductions between Ferguson and Ford. At that time Sherman Brothers were the Fordson distributors in New York)

The new tractor was designed by Ford and the styling followed that of Ford Trucks of the time. In order to keep costs down components were adapted from both the car and truck divisions of Ford. The engine for example being one half of the Mercury/Ford truck V -8 and the electrical system based on an automotive one with coil start ignition. Parts from the car division also included the clutch and front wheel bearings. The truck division providing differential gears and brakes. The tractor went on sale in 1939 at a launch price of $585.00 and 10,000 were sold in the first year.  (It look a John Deere Model G. which cost twice as much, to equal the Ford 9N per acre ploughing rate).

The original tractors featured Aluminium bonnets, horizontal grill bars (like the later Ferguson) and the vertical grill bar was solid and not perforated as on these tractors on show today. These versions are highly collectable today and those owners fortunate enough to have one polish the bonnets to prove they are aluminium!!

The naming of the tractors is quite simple as they refer to the year of manufacture and/or design change.
9N Introduced in 1939 and bearing the Ferguson System badge;
2N Introduced in 1942 and bearing the Ferguson System badge;
8N Introduced in 1948′
Prototype 9N Tractor 1938/9 at Greenfield Village & Musuem, Dearborn, U.S.A.
Photograph courtesy G. Walsh, Journal cover Volume 3 No.3. Winter 1989/80

9N foreground 8N background at Drusillas Zoo Park (Ferguson 50th) 1996

The examples you see here of the 9N and 2N were built towards the end of their cycle and the 8N is an early model.

8N Jack Broadley (Restorer) loading up (very tricky)

8N David Bates (Owner)

The 2N was a stripped down Wartime version of the 9N. Early versions eliminated rubber tyres, starters and generators. Wartime quotas were introduced by the American government for the manufacture of tractors and heavy trucks and by re-designating the tractor to a 2N Ford was able to get more tractors into its quota and also achieve a price rise! Before 1942 was out restricted items began reappearing on the tractors and many were supplied with tyres and full electric’s. The steel wheeled and magneto ignition versions are the most desirable for collectors. It should be noted that towards the end of its manufacturing cycle the 2N was almost back to the full specification of the 9N and the tractors were built with whatever components were to hand. The factory parts books do not differentiate between th 9N and 2N.

Mr. David Bates (Owner) admiring his latest 2N with mid-mounted mower

There was a disagreement between the Ford Motor Company, which was now under the leadership of Henry Ford the second, and Ferguson. The new team at Ford cared little for the earlier agreement of for Henry Ford’s statement that he did not care to make a profit on the tractor as he saw it as a way to help America and it’s farmers!! In 1946 therefore Ford advised Ferguson that the agreement was to be terminated within one year. Henry Ford!! instructed his team to build an improved version of the tractor which was launched in 1948 as the 8N. At this time Ford set up a new company (Dearborn Motors) to handle the distribution of the new tractor and implements. In many countries the 8N is affectionately known as the Ford Dearborn.

In 1948 Harry Ferguson commenced a law suit against Ford claiming that the 8N used the patented Ferguson System without agreement or licence. Ford lost the case and was instructed to cease production of the 8N in 1952. An out of court settlement in Ferguson’s favour of $9 million dollars was reached.

In 1953 Ford introduced the Ford NAA and prominent on the bonnet of the restyled tractor was the emblem ‘Golden Jubilee Model 1903-1953’ (celebrating 50 years of the Ford Company) which has become univer­sally known as the Jubilee. It was restyled so that it no longer resembled previous Ford tractors or the recently introduced Fergusons which ‘borrowed’ heavily from the Ford-Ferguson models.

Thus the tractors you see here today played an important part in the development and introduction of the famous and much loved …. Little Grey Fergie!

Our thanks to David Bates for the article and to Dick Heal for the photographs.
Club Journal No. 29, Summer 1998.

9N Portfolio Volume 3 No.3 Winter 1989/90

9N Portfolio Volume 3 No.3 Winter 1989/90