A couple of weeks ago I was at a rally and watched a pageant unfold that we have all seen many times. I'm not saying which rally it was nor who was involved, no names, no pack drill. Picture the scene, it is Sunday morning, a bit on the chilly side with showers about, a harvest gold Fordson N, freshly painted - perhaps a tad on the bright side for my taste - that had run nicely last time out was missing badly. A man who has forgotten more about N's and F's than most folks ever knew had just fitted a replacement Lucas magneto and his brother was on the handle.
That's when I arrived; there was already a small crowd of onlookers. I watched with interest, all the usual checks were carried out and one or two I wouldn't have thought of and there was much amusement from the spectators when anyone helping received a belt from a plug lead. What really amused me about this scenario was that the man doing the business certainly knows a lot more about Fordson N's than I do and I would suggest probably more than any of those watching but that did not stop them giving "helpful" advice.
The tractor had been running fine on its last outing and since then had been on display at a museum before coming to the rally. Cylinders one and two were performing correctly three was very weak and four had next to nothing. Plugs were swapped, leads inspected for both breakdown and sequence, the compression was checked by the tried and tested "thumb method', the carburettor adjusted and the list went on. Of course, as one would expect all of this was accompanied by much sage nodding of heads and a steady stream of suggestions from the small crowd of experts watching.
To ensure that Murphy's Law was not in operation on that Sunday morning, yet another magneto was fitted. As I expect you know, up to 1931 the American made Bosch had been fitted to the Fordson, then the German made Bosch FU4B was used until stocks were exhausted in about 1940 when the supplies were discontinued due to the outbreak of hostilities. A Lucas copy the GJ4 was then fitted until the end of production, many tractors now are seen sporting the Lucas 4RF which was a service replacement. The Wico A and AP types are seen but were never very satisfactory in part because they lacked the advance and retard facility. What really impressed me about this Bosch magneto was the difference in the strength of the spark when compared to the Lucas, it was much more powerful. Unfortunately, however, it did not cure the misfire.
It was touch and go whether the valve chest cover or the head came off next, however the owner decided that enough amusement had been had at his expense and that he would rectify the problem in his own shed without the benefit of a crowd of onlookers.
I did manage a quiet word afterwards and asked him to give me a call and let me know the outcome. A few days later he 'phoned to say that the misfire had been due to a missing manifold drain valve. He very charitably took the view that it might have fallen out. Frankly all I can say is that I wish I had his faith in human nature, I would never have considered such a possibility.
It is such a shame when one feels that it is no longer safe to leave ones tractor over night 'on the peg' and be sure that all of it will still be there the next morning. This was theft, pure and simple and it is doubly sad to think that the thief must be a Fordson person like us.
DVLA Latest News Registrations and the DVLA
There are a couple of issues that are of interest to members, the first is the demise of the paper part of the photo card licence, the second is an apparent rule change regarding the evidence required to retain a registration mark.
Firstly: although the DVLA have sent some people letters instructing them to destroy the paper part of their licence on the eighth of June, I would strongly advise you not to do so, I am certainly keeping mine. Granted you do not need it in this country but until the system 'beds in' if abroad and for some reason you needed to unexpectedly hire a car you might have great difficulty doing so without it.
Secondly: the DVLA has apparently changed their rules regarding the evidence acceptable to them for the retention of an existing registration mark. I must explain; if a tractor has a registration number that is not recorded on the DVLA data base and if the owner wishes to retain that number under the V765 scheme there were basically three forms of proof linking the number to the vehicle that were acceptable to the DVLA.
An old log book. (Buff or Green), An expired tax disc or insurance certificate (dated 1983 or earlier), If the number is known (eg the plate is still attached), an extract from the original registration record, authenticated by the archivist holding that record.
The log book was always the strongest evidence, but the other forms such as a pre 1983 tax disc have been acceptable until recently. I am writing this in mid June when I received a letter from the DVLA saying that an application had been rejected because the documents supplied to them did not link the vehicle to its registration number. My first thought was that I had made a mistake on the paperwork, so out came the file and no errors were apparent. Unusually this letter had a name and 'phone number (most now do not) so I telephoned the case officer hoping to resolve any problem.
He explained that he had been given new guidance to follow and unless the VIN number (read chassis/ serial number) is on the tax disc, that form of evidence was no longer acceptable to them. I pointed out that tax discs had never had the VIN number on them they usually had, for example Fordson Major or agricultural machine. Although conceding the point he was adamant that unless the VIN number was stated on the disc it was no longer acceptable.
My next question was what proof would now be necessary if submitting a tax disc as evidence. He suggested that a certified extract from the issuing authorities registration record be supplied. I pointed out that many of these did not bear the VIN number and what would the position be then. Although he acknowledged that this was so I received no answer to my question.
As you know the FFA are members of the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs, who do sterling work on all our behalves and I contacted Ian Edmunds their DVLA liaison officer.
The substance of his reply is reproduced below:
"I have raised this matter with DVLA and their response is that this is not a change of policy, rather it is the correct rules being more consistently applied, particularly now that services are centralised. They stress that there has always been a requirement to provide a link between a specific vehicle and a particular registration number. This link can only be demonstrated by a document which shows both the frame/chassis number and the registration number being claimed. A tax disc does not do this as the vehicle information is generic not specific.
Whilst I realise this is not helpful for clubs or individuals seeking to regain registration marks it is entirely logical and consistent with the DVLA policy of ensuring the accuracy of the record. Thus it is not a matter that the Federation feels it can oppose."
Although I understand the logic of the decision, I find this very worrying; it is now unclear how the DVLA are going to treat extracts from registration records that do not carry a VIN number. It also makes it impossible for me to give members definitive advice on this point.
John Worley our Hertfordshire FFA Area Representative reports:
The Hertfordshire Road Run at Chipperfield, was held on Sunday 26th April and despite forecasts of heavy rain and strong winds, we did have good weather on the day! Eighteen tractors turned up, and we set off towards Sarratt and Chandlers Cross.
We then went on to Flaunden and Chesham Vale, with a total of twenty miles covered.
We returned to The Boot Public House to a delicious and welcome Sunday roast of either beef, lamb or turkey.
Many thanks to the members and supporters who helped in any way to provide a day to remember.
The 56th Carrington Rally - 24th and 25th May
This year's theme was 100 years of International Harvester and with some one hundred and forty examples entered there was a sea of red, quite a change from the blue of last years Fordson event. The rally is held on the Sunday and bank holiday Monday and is preceded by a large auction on the Saturday and runs concurrently with a car boot sale on the Sunday.
The standard of entries was again excellent with some very rare tractors on display. The weather was much better than last year and although not completely dry for the two days, nothing to really dampen the spirits but, as always, in that part of the world, one needs warm clothing if the wind blows.
The Club took our marquee and had a successful weekend. I was pleased to see that Paul Cooper's nicely presented E27N won again this year. There was a good selection of cut away engines and tractors which always attract spectators and the vintage and pre 1930 tractors justified a visit on their own.
In all a very friendly and successful rally and my particular thanks to Malcolm Robinson for inviting us and for his welcome,
Stradsett Park Vintage Rally - 3rd and 4th May
It just gets better every year; the display this year was of potato equipment and was excellent. We had a small stand this year for the first time that was well patronised.
There was a hog roast on the Sunday evening, an entry of over two hundred tractors more trade stands than most and a beautiful setting to boot, what more could one ask.
John Worley's reports: St Albans Steam and Country Show held at Oaklands College, St Albans on May 30th and 31st. On Saturday the weather was at its best, and by midday the venue was packed nearly to capacity. A total of 44 tractors were present of which 16 were Ford or Fordson. These included Majors, Counties, Super Majors, Power Majors, Dexta, and an E27N Major. On both days there was a parade of vintage tractors.
Working demonstrations included milling and farm machinery, stone crushing and threshing.
On the Sunday rain came down, but it cleared by midday and we all finished the weekend wet but happy.
Andrew Green from Devon writes; You may have spotted in June's T & M magazine on page 17 that the National Vintage Tractor Road Run is coming to Devon for the very first time.
This is over the Easter weekend on Sunday 27th March 2016. Some of you may not be very keen on road runs but it is a one off chance to be part of a big event where usually 500 plus tractors are to be seen! Put in your diaries now.
I have had a very nice message from one of our members, Mike Lee whose family have been hosting a gas up for many years. He reported that they had one of the best ever this year and how nice it was to see some blue tractors and they raised over £1500 which was donated to the Thorverton Surgery. Well done to you all!
Finally, if you have membership renewals coming up, as indeed I have, can I please encourage you to do this through the FFA membership secretary as it does help the FFA movement with their finances. Look on the website for the form or get in touch with me and I can send you one.
Want to Join the FFA ? New or Renewal
Download & Print it here & send to:
FFA Membership Secretary. "Newhall", Sneath Road, Aslacton, Norwich, Norfolk,
Aldham Old Time Rally & Fair - 6th and 7th June:
Not one of the largest but with plenty of interest; the Club made use of Simon's awning and my thanks particularly to Paula for providing endless cups of tea. The weather was kind and there was an entry of some seventy tractors and a good steam section. The military section is particularly strong the highlight of which was a Sherman M4A1 tank.
Conrad organised a parade for members and tractor games on both days, which filled a spot around lunchtime and went down well with the public. Of course they really enjoy the bits that go wrong, or perhaps I should say 'driver errors'? In all a thoroughly enjoyable event.
Blown away by a brilliant Newby Hall (and so was the tent!)
Friday the 5 June arrived and so did the gales. Jane, Keith, George and I started to erect the FFA tent but the wind had other ideas! After a struggle to put the tent up, "whoosh" a gust blew the tent up in the air and deposited it on top of Jane and George. Luckily without any injury to them but shattering it in a heap, so we abandoned the job until Saturday morning hoping the wind would have calmed, but it still blew. So with more help we finally achieved a result.
We then placed the huge FW30 of Trevor Graham on the windy side of the tent and two Dexta's with ratchet straps holding the tent down, result it stayed put.
In between all of this fun, tractors were arriving on the stand so it was a hectic half day. Finally normal service was resumed with an excellent stand of merchandise put together by the girls and cups of tea distributed to members and friends. Luckily the weather calmed down and a lovely sunny weekend followed.
Many more tractors soon filled the stand, guarded over on either side by the two huge FW30's of Trevor Graham dwarfing the Standard and E27N tractors in between.
The high standard of presentation of the tractors on the stand was a credit to their owners, some absolutely stunning and some homemade conversions an engineering masterpiece.
The FFA stand was a picture bathed in sunshine and attracting huge crowds; during a busy weekend we signed many new members who were impressed by the Ford and Fordson hospitality and high quality presentation of their club stand. The Newby Hall show was once again a huge success, and a credit to the YVA team who put it all together. Huge thanks to our team and the members who assisted in the face of the gale, and who helped throughout the weekend, thanks also to the Newby Hall team for their help. We look forward to the 2016 show, thank you all.
Roger Ingham Our FFA Northern Ploughing Organisor reminds us that :
JE Hartley Farms of Selby, Towton, Nr. Tadcaster.
Will be held on Sunday the 1st of November by kind permission of JE Hartley farms of Selby. The site is at Towton ,Nr Tadcaster on the 200 acre field that was the scene of the famous battle of Towton in 1461, a good ploughing field with good road access. 9.30 am start
For More Details:
Contact Roger Ingham for more Details:07910-272757.
A date for your diaries, we are planning to hold a family weekend in August next year at the kind invitation of Tim Pearman in Worcestershire. It is planned to have a working area, and will feature a road run, bar-b-q and other attractions. The event is still in the planning stage; would those interested please come and talk to us at shows.
If you have or know of anything of interest to other members. Don’t be shy if it interests you it will almost certainly interest others, so share it with us.
I look forward to hearing from you