In my view our interest in preservation isn't really about tractors, or cars, or steam or whatever your particular fancy may be, it is about people. That's not to say that tractors are of no interest, of course they are, but it is the people you meet and the friends you make while working or showing, or simply chatting about them that make the hobby worthwhile. It dosen't matter how many other interests you have or how diverse they may be, perhaps you are into shooting or free fall parachuting or whatever else happens to 'float your boat' and for each one you will have a circle of pals peculiar, but not necessarily exclusive to it.
That is the benefit of being part of a Club like ours, you meet people you wouldn't otherwise have come across who come from all walks of life. An added bonus is that advice and help is readily and freely available on any problem that crops up with your machine or on just about on anything else as well. Like so much in life, it's not what you know but who you know that counts.
The other day I was in Devon at their county show, and over the last couple of years we have met some really nice folk there. The weather was gloriously sunny, unlike last year when the rain was fairly persistent, or as the locals euphemistically prefer to call weather fit only for ducks 'liquid sunshine.' Anyway Imbert May, who I first met last year, and his charming wife Alice, many of you will remember Alice helping us out by manning the stand and graciously serving teas at Great Dorset last year. Imbert had not bought Fordsons this year but had joined the 'grey menace' because they were this year's show feature and had brought two nice Massey Fergusons from his collection. He asked Ken and I if we would like to visit his tractor collection - we jumped at the chance. So as there was no ring parade on the Friday we set off in the morning accompanied by Graham (of the Nuffield Club) and Imbert's pal Les, a retired haulier who has an inexhaustible fund of good stories, chauffeuring us, a treat was in store!
Imbert lives near Exeter so it was only a short trip and what a collection he has; sheds full and here I'm being conservative most are not sheds but much bigger, large barns is a better description and when I say full I mean tightly packed like sardines.
The first shed is mostly Ford and David Brown and includes a workshop area where a Thomas was undergoing refurbishment. The second was stuffed with Allis and the next was built on the hillside and therefore has split floor levels and included Nuffield, Marshal, H S C a Turner and combines and many others. The next was mostly Ferguson, ranging from a Ferguson Brown up and included examples of Wallis, Case and MM. Then, some distance away, up a steepish track through beautiful rolling Devon countryside we entered one containing John Deer, more Case several crawlers a working high drive Cat with its blade fitted and assortment of implements. The last contained some unusual gear including a Schluter and plough and a very original Lister, plus muck spreaders etc and how many of you know what Sutcliff is, let alone have actually seen one?
One does need to be fairly nimble to really enjoy this huge and varied collection as everything is really tightly packed in and to see any particular machine involves a bit of an obstacle course clambering over others to get there. There is so much to see that it is quite impossible to take it all in in one visit and the description here barely scratches the surface as to what other gems it contains. There is some very rare and unusual kit but the one that stuck in my mind was a Fordson N powered by a wood powered gas generator that was built by Imbert, presumably a continental manufacturer. There aren't many collectors who can boast owning a tractor bearing their own name. If you are ever lucky enough to be invited to visit don't hesitate, just go, it was a great trip out with excellent company.
Bob Owens of The Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs has updated the position regarding MOT exemption of vehicles. I strongly recommend that members who may be affected read the article, which may be seen on Our web site on the FBHV CLUB NEWS
In Issue 2 of this year's Newsletter, Bob writes that the Federation has received further information:-
I am using that as the basis for what I now understand to be the actual position on all aspects, which is quite complex.
1. Motorcycles, cars and light commercial vehicles built more than forty years ago are all (with the few exceptions listed in the Guidance) entitled to be declared as VHIs and thus exempt from the MOT test.
2. All buses and coaches, whether or not they are in commercial use, built before 1960 are entitled to be declared as VHIs and thus exempt from the MOT test.
3. Buses and coaches not in commercial use built more than forty years ago are entitled to be declared as VHIs and thus exempt from the MOT test.
4. Buses and coaches built more than forty years ago, but in commercial use, are not entitled to exemption from the MOT test.
5. Heavy Goods Vehicles built before 1960 and not in commercial use are entitled be declared as VHIs and thus exempt from the MOT test so long as they do not travel laden or towing a laden trailer.
6. Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) built after 1960, whether or not they are in the 'historic' taxation class, are not entitled to any exemption from the MOT test.
I realise that some of our members who preserve historic HGVs will be disappointed at this outcome. All the Federation can say is that this decision was set out in the DfT's Consultation response and was not thereafter subject to any further influence by the Federation or anyone else.
The concern must be that the 1960 date is not a rolling one and that the age at which preserved HGVs still have to be tested will therefore increase year by year. The Federation will keep this matter under review, particularly with relation to the number of test stations which can carry out this testing, and their geographical locations. The Federation will continue to make the case that the Government should not require that any vehicle be tested unless it is practically able to offer the owner of that vehicle a test within a reasonable geographical distance of the place the vehicle is usually kept.
From around the Country:
Eastern Counties Tractor & Vintage Spectacular - 21st and 22nd April. Keith and Jane Broomhall report: held at the Norfolk Showground, this event should go from strength to strength for the effort made to present it, and certainly the commercial vehicle entries increase each year. Few other shows have such a large collection of pre-1930 tractors or vintage cars. Roger Desborough's 'green leather Bentley blower' is an amazing exhibit, unlikely to be seen widely in the UK. Both exhibitions deserve a greater audience.
For Ford and Fordson it was an enjoyable and successful show with a full hall of tractors, together with good membership and merchandise sales. The Dexta is our feature tractor this year, as it celebrates its sixtieth anniversary, and Club members rose to the challenge for exhibits, our Prize Winners were:
Best in Show: Stuart Bailey Fordson E27N
Best Unrestored: Tony Weavers Ford 5000 Select-0-speed
Judges Favourite: Ann & Brian Dye Petrol Dexta
April sees the first of Cheffins vintage sales and also the East Anglian Game and Country Fair, now held at Euston Hall, and surely it is unwise to coincide an event with either of these? However, if we are to see the continuation of this vintage show in our County we also need to see it publicised widely in both vintage and local press listing.
The 42nd Stradsett Park Rally held 6th and 7th May:
Gordon Carson and his team worked their magic again, but I thought that the '100 Years of John Deer' was not as interesting as their usual themes. This was not altogether surprising as the company has really only come to the fore quite recently in this country.
Otherwise the rally was up to its usual excellent standard. The bank holiday weather was excellent, the 'interesting' trade stands were probably a bit down, but this is in common with all other rallies, probably largely due to the convenience of selling on EBay and the like. We had ten tractors on the stand, and were in a similar position to last year, it is a bit far away from the general tractor line up which is a pity but I have made this point before, however I know that compromises have to be made when organising any layout.
It was nice that the event was held again on this parkland site as there had been a threat that it would not. If you have not yet visited this rally I thoroughly recommend that you do next year.
Road run held at Item House, Kent on 6th May:
Philip Broad reports. Well what a glorious day Sunday was, just perfect for trundling through the Kent countryside! When we chose to have our spring road run on the 6th May I don't think we quite realized it was the bank holiday weekend! We chose this date as Robert Mitchell informed us this would be the weekend to see his fruit blossom at its best and he was certainly right. Although I didn't make the journey with you, Phil kindly took me round later when we collected the signs.
As always you support these charity road runs with great enthusiasm and it's so wonderful to hear all the lively conversation, so thank you all for taking the time to come. I can report today that we raised £1040.00 which will be going to the Alzheimer's Society, a fantastic sum which we should all feel proud of.
How nice for us to see some new faces each time, I think word is getting round. Please tell your friends about our road runs as everyone is welcome whether on a tractor, in a 4x4 or just spectating. Our farm yard comes alive with you all there, I'm sure the sheep wondered what on earth was going on! It's such a beautiful farm and a pleasure for us to welcome you there. As always Phil and Matt were busy before the day getting ready and I had to get Matt off the strimmer at 9.30 on Saturday night.
Our thanks, as always, go to our wonderful catering team who we could not manage without. Your kindness is so very much appreciated by all who consume the bacon rolls and cakes, not forgetting the tea and coffee to wash it down. Thank you to all who donated delicious cakes, we really appreciate your generosity as everyone seems to enjoy them especially the kids both young and old. As usual the flying saucers were all eaten.
Our thanks also go to Beth for being our resident photographer. She took photos of each and every one of you so please get in touch via us if you want a photo from the day, I'm sure she won't mind emailing it.
It's so nice to think of the support we can offer such worthy charities doing what we all take pleasure from, well done everyone for the role you played in the day. Our next road run is on Sunday 21st October, proceeds to the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund, do come.
Devon County Show held 17 -19 May:
report from Andrew Green:
As I write this in very early June, the signs bode well for a good old fashioned summer but fingers crossed as we all know the reliability of any forecast! It was great that the FFA HQ team graced us with their presence at our recent County Show and we are delighted that they made the considerable journey to be with us: thank you, we do really appreciate it.
However, they did bring a little of their East Anglian weather on set up day, but the following 3 days of the Show were wonderful Edward Underdown deservedly won best in Show with his Ford Force 3000,
Den Marks's, a long-time supporter of the Devon County Show, was awarded the prize for the best unrestored with his Fordson N and Michael Coleman's Fordson Major E1A was the judges favourite.
Late Event News:
My thanks to Gerrard Schoenmakers for this.
Yesterday's Farming will be held 18th - 19th August at Dillington Park Estate, Ilminster Somerset, TA19 9DQ Contact: 07754 593545 or www.yesterdaysfarming.co.uk The special feature this year is International tractors, but no doubt there will still be plenty of Ford and Fordson tractors on display. Also, heavy horses, threshing and combine harvesting, ploughing, large crafts marquee and much more - from Pat Bryne.
Some shows & Rallies for 2018:
14 - 15 Cambridgeshire Steam and Vintage Vehicle Rally, Stow- Cum- Quy, Nr Newmarket FFA
20-22 Weeting Steam Engine Rally and Country Show, Weeting, Nr Brandon.
27-29 Welland Steam Rally, Nr Upton - upon - Severn FFA
28 - 29 Kedington Steam and Vintage Show, Kedington, Haverhill, Suffolk
28 - 29 Dacorum steam and Country Fair, Hemel Hempstead FFA (John Worley)
3-5 Gloucestershire Vintage and Country Extravaganza, South Cerney Airfield, Nr Cirencester
4 - 5 Weald of Kent Steam Rally, Woodchurch, FFA
11 - 12 Starting Handle Summer Show, Marsham, Norwich
18 - 19 Lincolnshire Steam and Vintage rally, Lincoln show ground
26 - 27 Shrewsbury Steam Rally, Onslow Park, Shrewsbury
23-27 Great Dorset Steam Fair FFA - (merchandise only)
1 - 2 Working Day at Langham airfield FFA
8 - 9 Haddenham Steam Rally, Nr Ely FFA
14-16 Bedfordshire Steam and Country Fair
15 - 16 Grand Henham Steam Rally
6-7 Tractor World, Newbury FFA
6-7 FFA Southern area ploughing match
13 -14 British Ploughing Championships, Austrey, Nr Atherstone, Warks, CV9 3ED FFA
10 - 11 Newark Vintage Tractor and Heritage Show FFA
We are happy to report that a new member has agreed to become the Club Representative for South Wales. John Skipper, who served in the Army for over 35 years but is now retired and runs a 20 acre smallholding near Carmarthen.
"I was born in the country, not far from Bury St Edmunds, and my ambition has always been to get back to my roots and own a vintage tractor. A couple of years ago I was fortunate enough to find a restored 1964 Super Dexta and an International 434 to replace my very tired Ford 6610. Both are in regular use and will soon be harvesting organic hay small bales. The two of them share my ancient PZ Haybob and 1972 vintage Hayliner 276 baler, with the Dexta just managing to balance the new Talex mower.
I live in a beautiful part of rural Wales, surrounded by farmers who also own tractors that can be repaired with spanners and the odd expletive, rather than a computer laptop! The Dexta attended the excellent Tractor World Spring Show at Malvern in February and I'm really looking forward to running the Association stand at the Pembrokeshire Show between 14-16 August 2018. I look forward to meeting you all there.
There are quite a few tractor runs locally - great fun and a brilliant opportunity to network. I'm very much the 'new boy' and look forward to sharing these opportunities with other Association members. Finally, everyone is very welcome to come by my high valley retreat near Llangynog - a good cuppa and Welsh cake awaits!"
Dear Keith, (Membership secretary)
It was my pleasure to hear from you last week, reminding me that my membership is due for renewal shortly. I had remembered that it would expire in the next few days and I am glad you offer a 'direct debit' payment option.
Unfortunately, Ford tractors are not as appreciated or as common on this side of the Channel as they are in GB, and this gives me even more pleasure to own one.
They have more than 2000 milking cows. This is not very common for our part of the country, but a few of these farms do exist at the Niederrhein though many of them struggle to make a living because milk is still much too cheap to allow the producer his profit.
Best wishes from Germany