From The Chair No:76 Dec/Jan 2017


In the last issue I asked if anyone knew why some Dextas have a longer bulge by the starter motor on the bell housing than others.  I am pleased to report that one of our members, Philip Badger, a long time Ford man from Worcestershire, knew the answer.
He tells me the change was necessitated when the petrol engined version was introduced and was to accommodate the extra length required by the pinion of the bendix type starter motor fitted to the petrol version, in place of the pre engaged type fitted to diesel tractors.  The pattern, once made in line with Ford’s policy of keeping costs down, was then used together with the short bulge version for forming the moulds for casting Dexta bell housings resulting in the apparently random distribution of casting types that I reported. 
I have to say that Brian Dye, the acknowledged petrol Dexta expert, confirmed that this was correct and said that he had already told me and I should listen more carefully in future.
Incidentally if you have a petrol Dexta would you be kind enough to send me details of the serial and engine numbers together with as many casting codes as you can find.  Brian is undertaking some research on these tractors and would be most grateful.
Philip also corrected my comment that the colour of the pre force 2000’s grill should have been silver.  He assures me that the grills on the pre force 2000’s were blue and that they did not have grey side flashings on the bonnet.  I must say, in my defence, that I have never owned a pre force 2000; the only pre force tractors I bought new were three or four 5000’s that were all with Select-O-Speed and I had assumed that the colour scheme was the same for all.  Now doesn’t that tell you just how dangerous it is to assume anything, particularly if it has anything to do with Ford!  My pal Charley is always telling me that but I just don’t seem to learn he’s always telling me that too!
This month there is another interesting little conundrum for you to solve, this time from Worcestershire.  On a recent trip to that part of the world I was shown a Ford 5000 built at Basildon in 1972.  This tractor appeared to be fitted with an eight speed gearbox and is in very nice original condition still sporting what appears to be the original decals that are also in very good condition showing the standard gear shift pattern. However the owner, the well known collector, Jonathan Boaz, demonstrated that the tractor is fitted with a three ratio gear train in addition to the normal four forward speeds and reverse. The gear leavers appear to be the same as a standard tractor but the high/low leaver has three gear positions instead of the normal two. These ratios are selected by moving the short leaver in a straight line fore and aft just as one would with the standard gearbox. Incidentally the high and medium ratios appeared to be similar to the normal high and low but the third position provided a set of creeper ratios.
I have no idea if this was a factory fitted option nor indeed if it had Ford’s seal of approval as, to date, no one I have spoken to has been able to find any reference to it in either Ford parts lists or workshop manuals. It may be an ‘after market’ fitment but if so it is an exceptionally neat job.  Jonathan has been told of a tractor fitted with a similar arrangement but has not seen it.  If anyone has any information about this very unusual gearbox please do give me a call.


A call to Members 

We need you.... each year we receive more requests for the Club to have a stand at rallies and events than it is possible to attend, we just do not have enough manpower.  There are neither enough of us on the committee nor are there sufficient area representatives to meet the demand. Committee members do represent the Club at many shows up and down the country but the size of the committee is sensibly limited to a practical working number by our constitution. The existing active area representatives do a sterling job in their areas, but there just aren’t enough of them either and not enough of the country is covered.
It would be good to do more in the North and Scotland than is possible now and likewise in the West Country and Wales, not to mention Ireland. 
Its not just lack of manpower although the distances involved and the cost and time taken to get there exacerbate the problem.  In round figures the distance from London (which is not the centre of my world either) to Aberdeen is five hundred miles, to Swansea is four hundred and to Penzance is three hundred and usually involves taking lorry and caravan to get a tractor to the venue with all else that is needed. 
Member interests are also very varied, some enjoy road runs, others ploughing matches, while some go in for working days, fun days, rallies etc.  People like to try new shows and events each year but most of the events they go to are not too far away from home.  This is particularly true of local ploughing matches where ploughmen are usually drawn from just one or two counties. Members keep telling us that they would like the Club to be involved in events in their areas how are we to meet this demand?
The answer is blindingly simple, we need area representatives to look after members in their own local areas.  This would address all the problems, the lack of manpower together with those of both distance and cost, as they would be going to the event anyway.   The committee is keen to support any member brave enough to put their head above the parapet and to help them either organise a local event whether on their own or in conjunction with others or represent the Club at a show.  It is much easier than one might think and is both very pleasurable and rewarding.  Please give this some serious thought and do contact any committee member who will be only to pleased to talk about your ideas. 
There follows a report from Gerard Schoenmakers our Dutch representative that just shows what can be done, Gerard has been organising Ford and Fordson ploughing matches for several years.  He came to our AGM at York and Roger Ingham went to last year’s match in Holland.  In this life you do get out what you put in so why not have a go?
Gerard Schoenmakers reports: Dutch FFA Ploughing Match was held 20th August.  The day started fine but soon temperatures climbed to 29C a bit too warm for ploughing. On arrival the ladies offered the ploughmen coffee and cake, which was very welcome as some had had a two hour journey; they were then introduced to the judges.
The flag went up and ploughing commenced. The ground was dry with a lot of straw on top, which made ploughing difficult, but the more experienced did well. 12.30 was time for lunch and all enjoyed the soup and sandwiches the ladies had ready and there was a lot of discussion about ploughing. At 13.00 the tractors went back to work; it was great to see all the Ford and Fordsons working in one field. At about 16.00 they all finished their plots and as usual they reviewed their neighbours work.
After ploughing was finished the ploughs where cleaned and tractors loaded ready for the journey home. All gathered round the tent for a cold drink and, of course, the traditional tasty meatballs.
The judges announced the winners:
Mounted Class :
1:Henk Pras  2:Co Looyestein  3: Jurrie Potze  
Trailer Class: 
1:Menno de Graaf-2:Piet Bos
3: Gerard Schoenmakers
After congratulating the winners they journeyed home with memories of a fine day and I hope to see them all next year. Our thanks to Mr Johan Hogeboom for the use of his land and to Djoeke and Jarich Hibma for help over the years and of course to my wife Ineke.


From Around the Country:

The 63rd World and the 66th British Ploughing Championships 
Were held at Crockey Hill near York on the 8th to 11th September. The World Championships were last held in England in 2000 and will not return again until 2032.  The 500 acre site, provided courtesy of Hobson Farming, was host to twenty nine countries and for those who were not fortunate to have witnessed the spectacle it was, in the modern parlance,’ something else’. Beginning with a service of Dedication and Blessing of the Plough in the magnificent York Minster, complete with a thankfully very well behaved horse in attendance, and followed by the flag ceremonies and the daily parade of competitors not to mention some of the best work that can be seen anywhere.
Roger Ingham had assembled twelve doughty Yorkshire ploughmen to represent Ford & Fordson split into three classes.
They were a great crowd and made us ‘Southerners’ very welcome.  Alan Nicholson, from Driffield, brought a full set of beautifully restored 1000 series tractors.  
Battle commenced on Friday morning with the parade of ploughman going to their plots. Murphy’s law was working well as when our men arrived at the muster point their numbered pegs were conspicuous by their absence.  However, the standard of workmanship was high though a little varied, but was far better than anything I could have done.
The Ford and Fordson class winners were:
Vintage Trailer Plough: Chris Donaldson
Vintage Mounted: Ray Thompson
Classic Mounted: Roger Ingham
Adding an international flavour on the stand was Don Wilson who was representing Canada and had borrowed Roger’s lovely E27N P6 and Ransome TS59 plough together with his coach was Tony Westbrook and fellow countryman Ken O’Brien, ploughing with a Massey Harris 101 and a number 26 plough. All were accompanied by their wives.  The group brought a welcome fresh perspective, good humour and it was a real pleasure to make their acquaintance.
There was a tremendous amount to see, trade stands, demonstrations of horse and steam ploughing as well as the competitive ploughing which is a real eye opener to the uninitiated.
  There was a continuous bus service, essential to get you round the site as one needs to go back regularly as each plot progresses. The British National Championships were held on the Thursday and Friday with the World Championships on the Saturday and Sunday.
  I have to say that the World reversible competitors’ ploughs bore about as much relationship to a plough found on a farm as an iphone to a telephone in the days when one picked up the hand set and asked the operator to connect you, but it was quite fascinating to watch.  I have to confess I personally found the vintage ploughing more relevant and interesting.
When I started ploughing, you had to pull a straight furrow or suffer a lot of flack in the local that evening, the trash needed to be buried and the finished work had to be level or there would be complaints about its roughness for the rest of the year every time someone else worked in that field.  However the biggest difference was probably the need to turn over as much land in a day as possible, hardly a consideration during a competition.  I hasten to add that, in my case, there was absolutely no comparison with the standard of work turned out at these Championships but it still needed to be workmanlike or one needed the hide of a rhinoceros.


FFA Southern Ploughing


Held 2nd October by invitation of Henry Castle of The Ferguson Club at Fornham St Martin, report to follow, however the winners were:

Vintage mounted:
       1st place  Mick Debenham
    2nd place Roger Starling
3rd place Ken Bailey
Classic mounted:
1st place Terry Stinson
    2nd place Conrad Hopkins
Vintage Trailed: 1st Max Cherry
Terry Stinson & Max Cherry having fun
Ford & Fordson Club overall winner with the most points Max Cherry was awarded the Phil Livertons shield
Ferguson Club overall winner with the most points Richard Welling was awarded the C R Swifts shield.


FFA Northern Ploughing Championships

Roger Ingham writes: The 9th October dawned and we had sunshine at last, the match was held at Towton, Near Tadcaster on land kindly provided by Hartley Farms of Birkin near Selby in a 200 acre field of good ploughing land.  As usual competition was of a high standard and some very good plot ploughing took place, testing the judges ability, but a good team of judges they were and ably sorted out the 2016 champions.
Soon after 2.30 pm the competition ended and so did the sunshine, rain poured down on the prize giving and soon we were towing the remaining stragglers out - what a change in our luck.  So after a brilliant time with sixty plus ploughmen enjoying the day out, we tidied up and left for home wet through, such is a ploughman’s lot!
Northrn Plouhging FFA Champions for 2016:
Vintage Trailed - Chris Donaldson
Vintage Mounted - Richard Wilson
Classic + overall champion - Anthony Boldan


Autumn Tractor World

Held on 8th and 9th October on Newbury show ground, a new show this year.  The basic Malvern formula of a Pugh sale on Saturday and Autojumble on Sunday etc. was adapted to a very different show ground and worked well.  The standard of stalls was certainly well above average.  The weather was acceptable which was fortunate as much more is outside, I spoke to several traders and other clubs and most seemed happy and plan to return next year.
The FFA stand was particularly busy on Saturday and it is always great to have a chance to chat to existing members and meet so many new ones.  That, really is, what its all about.
We were awarded first prize for the stand and Peter Nutley’s superb ‘Land Army’ exhibit, with an E27N provided by the Club, was awarded first prize for the best exhibit, a very successful weekend.
The show ground is very easy to reach being just off the M4 and Mark tells me he has great plans to improve next year’s event.  It was a very promising start and I am sure the show will go from strength to strength.


Forthcoming Events/Looking forward to 2017:

Somerset Vintage & Classic Tractor Show on Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th January at the Bath and West Showground, Somerset, BA4 6QN. This is an indoor static tractor show largely held under cover in three large permanent buildings.  The 2017 Special Feature is: 100 Years of Ford and Fordson, we are hoping to have a full display of Fordson tractors built from 1917 to 1967 - the first 50 years - and key models from 1967 onwards.
Many other makes will also be on display, including Fergusons, Massey Fergusons, David Browns, John Deere and Field Marshalls. The popular H J Pugh auction of vintage and classic tractors, implements and related items will be on Saturday 28th. Last year over £8,000 was donated to local charities and this year we aim to donate a similar amount.
Entry forms and more show information is now available on the show's website: 
Enquiries: Nick Bryne 01749 860514 or Mike Mitchell 07976 535762
Eastern Counties Vintage Show on Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd April at the Royal Norfolk Showground. Special features: Case/International and ring events to include the UK’s No.1 Monster Truck Team. For FFA stand enquiries contact Keith Broomhall 01379 677866/07831 130005
The Tractor Fest to be held at Newby Hall on the 10th & 11th of June: Kevin Watson writes -  organised by the YVA showcasing Ford and Fordson. To celebrate 100 years of the Fordson F we are putting together 100 tractors one from every year of production. Showing a time line from 1917 to 2017. We are also looking for the weird and wonderful factory conversions based on the Fordson tractor. We have had a lot of interest already and we are lucky to already have a strong Ford and Fordson following at Tractor Fest. Join us on Facebook The Tractor Fest @ Newby Hall
Spring Tractor World on 25th and 26th February: We have won the best Club Stand in Show for the last two years a hat trick would be nice.  We plan to put on a display of Fordson F’s so if you have one please enter it, there are other plans afoot to make things more interesting, but as always the back bone of the display will be your tractors, All are welcome but do put FFA on your entry form.  The Club’s AGM will also be held on the Sunday.
The Great Dorset Steam Fair on 24th to 28th August: The Club has a special display again this year to celebrate the centenary of the Fordson F. We are looking for tractors so please contact me using the details below if you are interested in joining us.