From the Chair June / July 2020 for Issue 97
"The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men Gang aft agley,"…as Robert Burnes penned in his poem 'To a Mouse', about a poor creature that together with her nest of young was turned up by a plough in 1785, an apt observation of today's upside down world. The modern ploughman, snug in his heated air-conditioned tractor cab would be totally unaware of the havoc he had so carelessly wrought continuing on his way, not so a ploughman in those days walking behind his team of horses.
Vehicle Testing: Cars and Light Goods Vehicles. The position depends on the date the vehicle's test expired and is split into two groups, heavy goods and PSV vehicles are treated differently.
Groupe 1: for a MOT expired or if the first test was due on or before 29th March you must either SORN the vehicle or apply to have it tested as garages are still open. Note, you must not take it for test if you are self-isolating in those circumstances or if you fall into the 'extremely vulnerable' group you should seek advice, see the DVLA's "Coronavirus: MOT's due from 30th March" guidance.
Groupe 2: if the test was due after 29th March the MOT will be extended for six months but it is your responsibility to ensure that it is in a roadworthy condition. For example, a vehicle that's test expired on 3rd April will automatically have its MOT extended to 3rd October, it will be possible to renew that vehicle's tax once the MOT record has been upgraded, this can be checked online. Further guidance will be issued as matters develop.
Heavy Goods Vehicle Testing: on 20th March the DVLA suspended heavy vehicle tests. All HGVs, trailers and PSVs with an annual test due to expire in a particular month will be issued with a 3-month certificate of exemption (CTE) until further notice.
Replacement certificates will not be issued but digital records will be automatically updated. There are different rules that apply for vehicles and trailers that are returning to service after their test certificate expired, those that have not had their first test or for carrying dangerous goods, for these groups an exemption will need to be applied for.
The onus is firmly on the operator to ensure that any vehicle is in a roadworthy condition. You should verify the vehicle's test certificate status by checking on the Government's web site "Check the MOT history of a vehicle" to make sure that it has been updated.
E10 petrol: early last year the government's intention to increase the methanol content from 5% to 10% in petrol to reduce vehicle CO2 emissions was discussed (Issue 89). On 4th March they announced the opening of a consultation period that ran until 3rd May, that is now closed. It is proposed to introduce E10 in place of the current E5 as the standard 95 octane grade in 2021 and that petrol containing no more than 5% is available for at least five years thereafter, however this may only be available in the higher octane 98% super grade.
Members tractors were not designed for petrol containing ethanol and I'm afraid that our advice is unchanged, certainly only buy the petrol containing the lowest % of ethanol and invest in an additive to prevent damage. See the Federation of British Vehicle Clubs website, our Club is a member (www.fbhvc.co.uk), go to 'Legislation & Fuel'. It is quite a complicated subject, but the Federation only recommend three additives providing protection against ethanol damage these are:
V5PePower, VSPe and EPSfrom Millers Oils
Ethomix from Frost ART Ltd
Ethanolmate from Flexolite
Choose your poison, it is up to you.
Ten-year-old tyres on heavy vehicles:
Following a tragic fatal accident involving a coach in 2012 a campaign to ban the use of old tyres on heavy goods vehicles was started. Another fatal crash in 2017, this tine involving a large van on a motorway, resulted in the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) commissioning research and subsequently instituting a scheme to alleviate the problem. These proposals did not ban the use of these tyres and sensibly related to tyres on steering axels, which were the cause of both these dreadful events. It told anyone who wished to use such tyres to show that they had undertaken a proper tyre management process. As a result of this instruction you may well receive an advisory note when your vehicle is next tested when that restarts.
Although the DVSA's research, when published was far from clear cut, Jessie Norman, then minister at the Department of Transport, decided to ban the use of ten year old tyres on heavy vehicles and this decision was later confirmed and extended by Michael Ellis to include minibuses. As yet no legislation has been enacted so it is, of course, unknown how historic vehicles may be impacted.
However it does seem odd that although we are constantly told by the government that their decisions are led by the science (whatever that is) and that on leaving the European Community we would slash the unnecessary red tape imposed on this country by commission, that those same ministers are introducing more without allowing their own Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency proposed remedy the chance to prove its worth.
We are indebted to The Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs (FBHVC) for a comprehensive report on the progress and for an in-depth report of this see FBHVC News, 2019 Issue 5 they also took part in the consultation process.
From Around the Country:
John Allsop, a member from Derbyshire,
I saw a drawing by Lucy Hague, a friend of Elizabeth - his daughter - of some beach huts and was so impressed that he asked her if she would draw his tractors which she has done.
The E27N is John's and was built in 1947, it features elsewhere in this issue, note the starter motor and I know just why he has fitted it, they are not cheap to buy but do make the tractor so much more usable as one gets older. The E1A is Elizabeth's and dates from 1952. The drawing was done from photographs and makes a splendid composition.
Andrew Green from Devon writes:
In these extraordinary times, there is little to look forward to in the foreseeable future! However, life goes on under a huge cloud. Our County Show has been put back to the end of August, the 28th to 30th and we obviously hope that it will be able to go ahead then and the Mid Devon organisers are also hopeful that they can still proceed on their 25thJuly date. There will be many other organisers of shows and village fetes who will be hoping that this dreadful virus will recede, and we can get back to some degree of normality, whatever that means in today's world!
On a more positive note, I thought I would just write about a fantastic trip that my wife, Lyn and I made to Canada in 2016 and, in particular, a visit to the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village at Dearborn, near Detroit. This was a fulfilment of a lifetime dream as I have been a great fan of things Ford all my life. It did not disappoint as even Lyn thought that it was going to be 2 days of wall to wall tractors and it was anything but! Yes, a few tractors and agricultural exhibits but there were cars including several American presidential limousines, planes, trains, engines and many museum pieces. It was a thrill for me to see the early prototype tractors that developed into the Fordson Model F tractor and the No 1 production tractor was there.
About 750,000 were produced over the next 11 years including 6000 of the very early 1917 production that came over to the UK to help us out with the WW1 effort as nationally we were desperately short of men and horses to feed the country. This situation was not helped by the German U boats sinking Allied shipping. These tractors became known as the MOM tractors as they were ordered by the Ministry of Munitions. Quite a few of these still survive to this day.
Henry Ford was born in 1863, the son of an Irish immigrant farmer. As well as building and producing the Model T car, he also resolved to make the life of the farmer somewhat easier by developing a machine to alleviate the hard graft of manual labour, hence the Fordson tractor. I think it was way ahead of its time and better than anything else on the market as by comparison they seemed like self- propelled stationery engines! Yes, I am biased, but you can put the latest New Holland tractor alongside the Fordson F and see how it evolved from Henry's finest!
There is one benefit that our hobby has at this present time insomuch that we do not have to adhere to the social distancing requirements! But very seriously for a minute, please all of you take great care, keep safe and well, look after yourselves and your family. As the great man, Winston Churchill used to say, KBO!
John Skipper writes: Well, it is hard not to mention Covid 19 when we are all in lockdown and the usual programme of shows and tractor runs has been curtailed. Sadly the premier event in SW Wales, the Pembrokeshire Show in Haverfordwest scheduled for 18-20 August, has been cancelled. But, the organisers have scheduled in a stand for Ford and Fordson for the 2021 event and I'll be in contact with Association members as soon as details are known.
Time is never wasted and the Super Dexta has enjoyed a good overhaul ready for the organic hay crop later in the year.
Covid won't stop that - just the weather! The Dexta was rebuilt 5 years ago and it has served me admirably since then, taking turns with my IH 434 on the topper, mower and haybob. I'd had big ambitions to exhibit the Dexta with the Ransomes TS54A 2 furrow attached - brilliant little plough - and, although my furrows are far from straight, it's a great combination.
It just leaves me to wish all Association members good health and to keep safe during this challenging time. Many of us can count our blessings as generally we do not live in a bedsit in inner London. Getting out to the barn and workshop is a pleasure to savour.
Representative and Committee Matters
Michael Alcock - our new Representative for Northamptonshire writes - having been a tractor fanatic since I was seven years old, when I had a Power Major of my own, becoming a contractor with Ford excavators and tractors and, latterly New Holland equipment, was a natural progression.
Other interests include old British scrambles bikes and Tractor Pulling. My first Puller was built in five weeks, had twin V8 Chevys and that was 38 years ago. Currently we have one under construction with two Alcohol V8s. If I can be any assistance to anyone in the Northampton area please contact me on 07946 568052.
Many members will know Michael and Lynn who, with friends, front "Vintage Enthusiasts," a like minded group who raise monies for local charities and have a good time doing so, staging working days and other events in Northamptonshire area. Keith and Jane Broomhall attended the ninth Autumn working day last year, report in the December January issue, and what a splendid friendly event it was. This year's is scheduled for 12 - 13 September.
Roy Cowgill: introduces himself, a Committee member and area contact for South West Scotland.
Having been brought up on a farm it no surprise that my interest in tractors and machinery developed at an early age. My earliest memory is of a Ferguson TEF and a gold belly 35, both of which were changed for a Power Major, then subsequently for Super Majors, Super Dexta then two Ford 5000 in 1965, along with a solitary MF135.
At the start of the 70's I joined the Ford tractor dealer in Stirling and during this time I saw a couple of significant changes in the line-up. The first was the introduction of the factory fitted safety cabin, the second was the introduction of the Ford 7000 the first production line turbo charged tractor.
I was at the product training presentation at Fords training centre at Boreham house where I was introduced to the "Pocket Rocket", a very powerful and nimble tractor in its day. During this time, we supplied many Select O Speed tractors including 4 x 4000 to the new coal fired power station and a Roadless 75 to a local estate. I sold another Roadless 75 SoS a year later but had to settle for the standard 8speed box when Ford stopped suppling the SoS gearboxes. I moved to MIL (Midland Industries Limited) supplying loaders, buckrakes, feed boxes and potato planters to dealers throughout Scotland, Northern England and Ireland.
On joining Erskine tractors Ford went through another major change with the introduction of the 10 Series tractors, which will always be remembered for the Syncromesh gearbox or rather the Rubix Cube selector mechanism, which fortunately only lasted a few months before the H pattern was brought in making gear changes much easier. Even with these challenges the tractors sold well locally, some are still around here today.
I left the industry for some 27 years to work in a nuclear power plant but never lost my passion or interest in Ford tractors. So, when the opportunity of early retirement presented itself it allowed me the time to devote to my collection of tractors and the time to assist with the local tractor club.
These opportunities have enabled me to share my knowledge and promote fellowship within the community while flying the flag at many shows and events throughout the area. It is important that ALL members come forward and talk to us, give their input, ideas and share their experience in order for our Club to grow and prosper. I look forward to meeting and talking with everyone when the shows, rallies and road runs start up again and can be contacted on 07971104695.
The Chairman: I have made no secret of the fact that I would like to retire as Chairman of your Club, the problem is that there has not been a flood of volunteers to take on the role. This is obviously not a good time for more change, not that I would discourage anyone who wishes to come forward, but until things settle down, I am happy to continue to the best of my ability.
Finally: Your committee hopes you are well and that we can all come through these troubling times without mishap. Undeniably it is a difficult period with our freedoms severely curtailed, our access to friends and family prevented and, in many cases, real hardship caused to businesses, jobs and income as never before in peace time. Unfortunately, there is no rule book to follow, it will only be when the outcome is known that we see if the sacrifices now being made by so many were justified.
Please do take care and stay safe. Let us hope that life can return to a more normal rhythm before too long, our freedom returned, and lessons learned so that a similar crisis can be prevented from recurring.
Word Count 2589 @ 8/4/20 Target. 2.7 to 3.0k
Target 7 to 10
Photo Ref. piece Caption
1 Andrew Green An experimental tractor then called an 'Automobile plow'
2 Andrew Green A Fordson model F, the one that started it all seen in the henry Ford museum.
3. John Skipper John Skipper with his Dexta and plough in his shed
4. John Allsop John Allsop and his daughter's tractor drawn by Lucy Hague
5 Michael Alcock Michael Alcock with his Roadless 118
6. Roy Cowgill Roy Cowgill enjoying the sunshine on his Dexta