From The Chair : For Issue 78 April/May 2017
Jeffrey Giblin recounts the birth of the Fordson E27N P6:
Jeffrey Giblin is well known in the agricultural machinery trade and to farmers and enthusiasts alike, he is long time stalwart of the tractor preservation movement and spent many years with Earnest Doe and Son retiring as Manager's Assistant in December 2000.
He knew the late Derek Lamb who was heavily involved with transformation of the Fordson Major E27N when fitted with a Perkins P6 diesel engine; Jeffrey owns a fine example of this iconic tractor.
Frank Perkins was born in 1889 at Clifton Villa in Park Road, Peterborough and worked for The Agricultural General Engineers Association that ceased trading in 1931; he registered his own company on 17th June 1932. The first diesel engine was run on the 4th December of that year and in 1934 the hundred and fiftieth engine was produced. At a board meeting held on 12th December 1936 the production of a six-cylinder diesel engine then named the "Panther" that later became known as the jkhP6 and was produced from March 1937 to 1969.
Derek Lamb worked for Mr Frank Perkins and was given a blank open cheque by him to purchase a second hand E27N petrol / paraffin Fordson Major at Grain & Chalk's machinery sale, at their Old Station Yard ground in Cambridge in 1947. This tractor became the prototype for Ford's E27N P6 Fordson Major.
The tractor was on 900 x 36 rear tyres, which were originally fitted to early production tractors. The TVO engine was replaced with a Perkins P6 engine, the sump was fabricated from 5/16-inch plate welded to other cast parts. The tractor was tested on Mr Perkins farm at Peterborough where it completed successful proving trials. As a result, demonstrations were required further afield and Derek was given access to a company Commer flatbed lorry fitted with a P6 V engine. In order to load the tractor, he made some latticework ramps.
The Ford Motor Company introduced 11 x 36 rear wheels for the Major which Mr Perkins realised would give more grip thereby better utilising the 45 H.P. produced by the diesel. A pair were purchased which meant that Derek's ramps no longer fitted, so another pair were made; he asked Mr Perkins what was to be done with the old 900 x 36 wheels, the reply was "Take them home with you".
Once the farm trials had been completed conversion kits were made available to Fordson dealers. This was before February 1948 when the diesel engine became an option on the manufacturing line. Prior to its being put into production the Ford Motor Company lent four P6 E27N's to the Gunnery family at Rainham, their land almost adjoined Fords Dagenham factory. They were market garden people, which was ideal for experimental tractors as they ploughed, cultivated and drilled over a much longer period of the year and they also kept written records of performance etc. Ford's first public demonstration featuring two P6 Majors, one on pneumatics and the other on Roadless DG4 half-tracks was held on 9th April 1948 at Langley Park near Slough.
The first P6 engined tractors had the same air cleaner as the TVO engine, as can be seen from early photos. It was found that this restricted the air intake adversely effected the operation of the pneumatic governor preventing the engine producing full power. The familiar mushroom type was introduced to overcome the problem. The fuel tanks on early production tractors were the all petrol tank with the filler at the rear as fitted to industrial tractors.
When launched in 1948 the list price was £585 for a diesel tractor fitted with a 7.7 ratio gearbox with the high-speed top gear, belt pulley, hydraulics lighting kit with horn and six rear wheel weights. This compares with £285 for the base TVO engined tractor i.e. without PTP, lift, pulley, electrics or wheel weights, incidentally a lighting kit then cost £2.
The price of a complete P6 TA engine kit, supplied in a box less the two six volt batteries was £292 excluding fitting and on the 6th June 1960 a P6 TA factory rebuilt engine could be bought exchange for £151 and five shillings under the Perkins 'Perpetuator Plan".
From around the Country:
Andrew Green from Devon: As I write these words on a grey, cool but dry February day, our thoughts look forward to Spring and the beginning of our celebrations to commemorate the Centenary of the Fordson tractor. We shall be working closely and sharing with existing well established local events.
The first of these is the Lee Family charity gas-up at Thorverton, nr Exeter on Sunday 7th May. Mike Lee has asked us to participate in a special Ford & Fordson display and it is great to be involved. This event has raised thousands of pounds for local charities over many years and let's hope we can carry on this great tradition this year. Can we also please have another beautiful day as in 2016!
Following on from this is the three-day Devon County Show at Westpoint near Exeter on Thursday May 18th through to Saturday 20th and as I reported last time, there will be a proper parade of tractors and vintage machinery in the main ring, the first time for many years. We will be trying to organise a display of tractors through the ages, from the Fordson F of 1917/18 right through to the very latest New Holland high capacity machines designed for demanding large scale farming and contracting.
I am working on providing supporting static displays to demonstrate the innovation and popularity of the F & F products over 100 years and I am also hopeful that we may have the support of the travelling tent from FFA HQ which will be a great addition (Don't forget your passports Chaps!).
We have already some very exciting commitments for displays from our members and others to support the event and where there may be duplication of models, we will obviously give priority to those who only have one tractor to exhibit and ask those with a larger collection to be more flexible please with their entries. This will hopefully ensure that we have as comprehensive a display and parade as possible.
For more details on the Devon County Show and to show your tractor at this event contact Andrew Green on 07809-031177
From David Lemonius: The Isle of Wight 5th Annual Charity Road Run was held on Saturday January 7th.
The day dawned overcast with a bit of mist over the Downs but it was largely dry for the event.
We set off from the Eight Bells at Carisbrooke with some drivers fortified by their excellent breakfast. The route took us around Newport to Downend where we joined the Downs Road to Duxmore Farm. We went off-road through the farm and re-joined the highway at Rowlands Lane. Heading off to Upton and thence to Ashey crossing the main road and stopping at Nunwell Dairy for a cup of tea. Our thanks to Paul Trickle for arranging this.
After tea, we set off towards Ryde passing by a well- known supermarket and all the exiting shoppers! Turning off to Park Farm with another offroad stretch re-joining the highway at Attrills Lane, St. Helens. A very pleasant run through St Helens up to the Ryde, then back to Newport over the Downs but sadly the mist was down so the beautiful views could not be appreciated.
A total of 41 tractors took part in the run with all finishing. It was a real pleasure to see more of the younger generation becoming involved. There was a good selection of Ford and Fordson models including a very tidy 7840SE and an E27N. Others makes represented were Dutra, JCB, McCormick, Minneapolis Moline, Allis Chalmers. David Brown was well represented and, of course, Fergies and MF's and a sole John Deere 6310 took part.
We are able to send a donation of £225 to the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance and a further donation of £22 to the Isle of Wight Branch of the Osteoporosis Society.
The organisers would like to thank all those who took part, onlookers and well-wishers, landowners who allowed us to cross their land and to the Police for their kind co-operation.
The next Christmas Road Run is scheduled for Wednesday 27th December 2017.
Pat Bryne reports on: The Somerset Vintage & Classic Tractor Show held on Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th January 2017:
Record crowds of tractor enthusiasts flocked to the Bath and West Showground, Shepton Mallet on Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th January for the annual Somerset Vintage & Classic Tractor Show.
Over 220 vintage and classic tractors and implements were on display at this indoor event. There was a very impressive display of nearly 100 Ford and Fordson tractors. As 2017 is the 100-year anniversary of Fordson tractors, the display included two 1917 Fordson model 'F's and many more models from each decade of production. The organisers were grateful to TH Whites, from Frome for bringing the oldest 1917 model and the latest 2017 New Holland tractor.
Many other makes were also on display, including Fergusons, Massey Fergusons, David Browns, John Deere and Field Marshalls. The Ford & Fordson Association attended for the first time and had a very successful time.
Aswell as this superb Greens 1944 Fordson Standard Roller owned by G Sage
The popular auction, which included vintage and classic tractors, spares, engines, together with implements, etc. was held on Saturday by HJ Pugh, Ledbury. There were also plenty of trade stands selling tractor and implements, agricultural spares, books, model tractors, etc.
This year's show raised over £8,000 for local charities including: £4,000 to the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance and £3,000 to Dorothy House Hospice.
In Memory of Ralph Sharland by Edward Underdown:
Ralph - 11th December 1944 to 4th December 2016 - was well known for his enthusiastic support of the Ford and Fordson brand, and his pride in displaying and sharing his comprehensive collection of Ford and Fordson models covering 47 years of farming on the Blackdown Hills 1917 - 1964.
He regularly attended many Shows throughout the South West, ably supported by his wife, Angie. The time involved in carefully unpacking and arranging these beautiful models often, as Angie took almost an hour and a half. Should Angie be entrusted to drive the display to any Show, she would have to take the utmost care, avoiding any potholes, or risk the groans and tut tuts from Ralph.
Ralph and his family lived at Whitwell Farm in the Blackdown Hills, the house where he was born, and also died. Ralph had a great work ethic, and was never without a job, despite suffering a debilitating back injury. He worked for Tremaines at Honiton, Ottervale Garage, where he and Angie first met her. the exhaust had fallen off her car and as she says "That was that", also at Sewards Coaches and PLUSS amongst others.
Sadly, Ralph passed away on the 4th December 2016. Ralph had already completed his application to show his collection at the Somerset Vintage and Classic Tractor Show, particularly as the Show was celebrating the 100year anniversary of Ford and Fordson Tractors, and Angie and their sons and families were determined to fulfill Ralph's wish.
Angie was presented with the Cup for Best Model Exhibit in Show, and a cheque for £800 to give to the Devon Air Ambulance in memory of Ralph; a very moving tribute to him.
Ralph will be very much missed for his jolly demeanour, his huge knowledge and many stories. and we send our condolences to Angie and her family.
Forthcoming Events/Looking forward to 2017:
Come and see us in 2017: below is a brief list of some of the events at which your Club will be attending, do come and see us.
Heritage Transport Show - Saturday 1st April 2017 - Kent Showground, Detling
Riverside Country Park English Festival - Saturday 22nd April at Lower Gillingham.
Eastern Counties Vintage Show on Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd April at the Norfolk show ground
Dartfords Annual Steam and Classic Vehicle Fair - 6th May at Dartford
Devon County Show May 18th to 20th at Westpoint near Exeter
The Tractor Fest to be held at Newby Hall, near Ripon on 10th and 11th of June
Journey Through the Ages at Goodrrich Park at Palgrave on 17th and 18th June
Farm Machinery Preservation Societies Rally at Long Melford 2nd and 3rd July
Kent County Show & Hertiage Section - 7th - 9th July 2017 - Kent Showground, Detling
The Cambridgeshire Steam Rally now held on the new site at Stow Cum Quy 22nd and 23rd July
Biddenden Tractorfest and Country Fair - 19th and 20th August. Beech Lane Field, Beach Lane, Biddenden
The Great Dorset Steam Fair on 24th to 28th August: we are holding a showcase to celebrate the centenary of the Fordson model F
All above shows dates with more details can be found on Our What's Going On
section of the website.
This month we are trialing a member's letter section please let us know if you would like it to become a regular feature.
I have just received my subscription renewal, thank you very much for your swift and prompt attention. This coming first bank holiday (spring) will we will be celebrating 10 years of Tractors at The Mill, at Heage Windmill.
It all started in 2006, when I paid them a visit on my E27N one late summer Sunday afternoon As I was looking bored, my wife Maureen said "have a ride up to the mill, as you are always going on about it" as I was born and bred in the village of Heage. When I got there, there was so much interest in my tractor, by the visitors and the windmill volunteers, I asked the miller of the day (Tony Cooper) if my friends and I could visit some time, on our tractors. He took some photos, we exchanged emails then he contacted me to arrange a visit. The first visit was on Sunday the 2nd of May 2007, when 10 tractors turned up. It was a big success, and they asked me if I would arrange another one in September for National Mills Week, which I did.
From that first time, my daughter Elisabeth and myself have done two, one day shows a year. We haven't got the room to have too many tractors, as we have also started allowing a dozen or so stationary engines to attend. Our best attendance, with regard to tractors, was last May when we had 36 turn up. The picture is how it all started!
Kind Regards, John Allsop, Belper, Derbyshire
I'm really happy that my most memorable day in the last few years will be marked by a letter in the Club Magazine. I first came to England when I was 16, that visit established my love for Great Britain. I studied English and Philosophy, became a teacher at "Willibrord Gymnasium" in 1980, and ran our exchange scheme with "Wisbech Grammar School" until my retirement. Many exchange visits resulted in a good knowledge of East Anglia and good friends there. Recently my wife and I toured the East Coast, my wife relaxing and walking our dog, my finding tractor scrapyards, to buy spare part for my Ford 3000 or the Dexta which is awaiting to be refurbishment.
My retirement celebrations went smoothly and my thanks for your help for the Club jacket and the beanie. In my speech I connected the fate of my tractor with my own retirement; I mentioned the importance of Ford tractors in GB, talked about Dagenham with its huge foundry. My head mistress, Mrs McKay, born in Lindhurst in the New Forest, remembers as a child, moving to the Dagenham area where Ford was the most important employer and the Perkins Company of Peterborough, again interesting, because our partner school is near Peterborough.
My love of tractors is due to my grandparents owning a small where I grew up with animals and machinery; that it's not a Deutz or Kramer, but rather a Ford, is owed to my love of England. Anyway, I'm looking forward to more visits to your beautiful country and a visit to the Perkins Company in Peterborough that is still on my "to do" list.
I hope you have a clearer picture now of the chap that finds his tractor and the FFA important enough to include it into his retirement celebration.
All the best to everybody,
Heinz Ulland, Emmerich, Germany
Last time I promised to let you know if I ever got into my shed. Well the answer is both yes and no, the trouble started when a barn I'd been trying to sell for a while suddenly sold. That sounds like good news but it was full of stuff, which needed moving. That necessitated emptying my shed and restacking it differently to try to get everything in. Those of you who have moved house will know what an upheaval that can be - well I can tell you moving sheds is far, far worse. Fortunately, I did have lots of help from two sons, one flying over from Germany, and from Ken Bailey. Stage one clearing my old yard was nearly complete when my trusty forklift let us down, that's now repaired and battle will recommence shortly.