Ferguson Club Journal first Editorial, Autumn 1986
Welcome to The Ferguson Club – run by enthusiasts for enthusiasts. The three founder members, Ken Goodwin, Geoff Smith and myself David Bate are all enthusiasts of vintage tractors, though none of us are professional authors. We got together during the early part of 1986 through our interest in old Ferguson tractors and implements, and the idea of forming a Club developed to bring together the many people who shared our affection for the “Grey Fergie”.
Vintage tractor enthusiasts have a great many area’s and a National Club which cater for all makes and models of tractors built prior to 1960. The Ferguson tractor, a relatively new make compared to others like International and Ford, have during the past few years become most popular tractors to own and restore. The Ferguson Club will be affiliated to the National Vintage Tractor’ & Engine Club and hopefully local area Clubs so that in the future we may share ideas and information with their members.
Judging by the response from our original letters to the farming press, and from talking to enthusiasts throughout the Country, there definitely’ was a need for a Club specifically catering for Ferguson enthusiast. We have been overwhelmed by the response so far BUT we do need extra members to help cover the costs of printing “your” magazine. We rely entirely on your subscription to pay for the printing and postage.
Words cannot describe the feelings we had when Massey Ferguson UK Ltd gave us their official blessing. We spent some time with their personnel who were quite delighted to find that someone was going to start a Club. In fact, they have a number of letters each week from enthusiasts and are happy for us to look after such enquiries for service information and the availability of spare parts. Various members of their staff will be working in co-operation with us to pass on to you the member, technical advice on overhaul, how and where to get spare parts etc. In fact one member of their staff is at present compiling a listing of the spare parts which are still available (quite a considerable number are still made). and in due course we will publish a complete listing with computer part numbers so that you can easily order these from your local M F tractor dealer.
/’Is you can imagine, in this first issue we are still feeling our feet. Because this is your Club, the editorial staff invite you to write to us with your requirements. We will gladly publish your needs because a number of enthusiasts have already written in offering their services on advice based on their experience. Some problems we may be able to answer ourselves, other answers may come from MF personnel, and we wish to encourage members to communicate with each other to broaden the preservation of old Ferguson equipment.
Many of you in your original letters to us have expressed the need for historical background information, repair and overhaul details, and restoration advice. We aim to handle all these and other topics of interest in future issues. We envisage that the sales and wants section will be a most popular item in the magazine. So please send in your advertisements for the Winter Edition. Some areas of the Country seem devoid of old Ferguson equipment, but you may be able to locate a much needed spare part or implement not too far away from home through the magazine.
Looking through your letters it is most interesting to see where people come from, and what professions or types of work Ferguson enthusiasts are engaged in. Surprisingly there are many not actively engaged in agriculture, but the important thing about this Club is that everyone is welcome. In the United States of America there are a number of Clubs who specialise in individual makes of old tractors. Their magazines often contain articles and photographs of their ‘pride and joy’ – how about sending The Ferguson Club an article on yours. We will be happy to publish articles and photographs – black and white are the best type to reproduce (it’s also cheaper to buy the film!).
Whilst talking about other makes of tractors, the guy who runs the Massey Harris Club in America with a magazine called “Wild Harvest” is most enthusiastic about the Ferguson Club. We do not have any information about old Massey Harris tractors but hope in the future to publish articles. We will be working in co-operation with the MH Club to exchange information in the future. We also hope to liaise with a new Club in America which caters for Ford-Ferguson enthusiasts over there. From your letters we know that a considerable number of you have these quite rare tractors, and because information is scarce, we will cover them in due course.
Many people who look at old Ferguson tractors think that they are all alike. This is far from the truth, Ferguson probably built more variations for specialist use than any other manufacturer. I am relatively new to Fergusons myself and can ‘spot subtle differences when looking around. Of course the range of implements is the most extensive of any manufacturer, and we will be giving coverage to these in future articles. At shows and rallies one often sees a TE-20 with two furrow plough, but there are so many interesting and unusual implements which can still be easily found and at realistic prices which make a fascinating display. (I say this with tongue-in-cheek because I have spent some time looking for a particular implement without success – see my advert).
What of the future? We can see an ever increasing number of Ferguson tractors being restored. With the increase in prices of old tractors, more and more people are now buying and restoring Fergusons. This is not to say that they are increasing in value – but that more and more people are recognising them as a nice little tractor to own and restore.
With today’s ever increasing costs, many people find that a Ferguson is small enough to store in a private garage and easy to transport around on a trailer to shows. Another ‘feature’ is that they have a relatively high top speed coupled with the ability to mount an implement directly to the 3-point linkage, means they are suitable to drive to a show or rally. This feature alone was enough to convince me (before the idea of the Club) to buy a Ferguson. The big bonus of course is that they are still easy to find, cheap to buy and restore, and easy to find spare parts for., It’s hardly surprising to see from the in initial letters written to us, that many of you have a number of different Ferguson Tractors once the ‘bug has bitten’ the enthusiasm grows.
A question which often arose during the initial stages of the Club foundation was ‘at what date or tractor model should we stop at’. After much discussion with enthusiasts and M F personnel we have loosely decided that 1965 is the most appropriate date when the Red Giant range of 130, 135, 165 and 175 models were introduced. However in the future we may decide to feature these tractors as the demand for information grows. The little French built 130 was never a popular selling tractor in it’s day, and there are not many around today. Perhaps these may become collectable and members may ask for information to be published in the magazine.
I have a slightly biased view on this subject having a Ferguson FE-35 tractor myself. However over the past couple of years I have been surprised to see a number of these tractors appearing at ploughing matches and shows, very nicely restored, and recently I have noticed a number of red and grey M F-35′ s being restored.
As many of you are aware, the Ford-Ferguson-Farmer magazine from the States has ceased to exist. Recently Gerald Rinaldi from Connecticut has formed the 9N-2N-8N Club to cater for the Ford-Ferguson enthusiast. We have received a very nice letter from Gerald expressing interest in our Club and offering to exchange information for the benefit of both Club’s members. We will be liaising closely with Gerald (and with Keith Oltrog of the Massey Harris Club USA) to bring you historical information, technical details and restoration advice. If you have any particular requirements, please write to us and we will try to get specific answers.
I will close this first editorial and introduction to The Ferguson Club with this thought it is your Club, please help us the editorial staff by sending in an article and photograph of your tractor; your sales and wants; requests for information and information that you may have which could benefit fellow Club members. Remember, the more we can get will mean a better magazine.
David Bate – Editor, Volume 1 No. 1, Autumn 1986.