I hope that you enjoyed Christmas and the New Year, as far as we were concerned it was great to be able to celebrate with family again and far better than 2020 when, as like many others, we were on our own. I have received more pieces for these pages than ever before, unfortunately there is not enough space to include them all in this issue, so some will be carried over for later publication, my apologies to those delayed but they will appear, a marvellous present, thank you!
Being an eternal optimist I'm sure things will only get better and, on the positive side, the DVLA are at last catching up after long delays due to staff shortages and changed working practices, according to members who tell me they are receiving their age related and retained registration marks often nearly as quickly as pre covid.
Not such good news, I'm afraid, for a member who asked the DVLA for the history of a vehicle he was restoring so he could show its working life. He had successfully taken this route previously, but they declined stating that the reason he gave did not amount to 'reasonable cause'. I remembered reading about this in the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs, 'News' but could not recall the details or date it appeared. An email to Ian Edmunds, their DVLA Liaison Manager prompted the response below:
"The restriction to the DVLA service of providing vehicle registration history was implemented in September 2017 and the relevant form (V888) modified to suit. We discussed the matter with DVLA at the earliest opportunity and they confirmed to us that this change followed advice from Government lawyers on compliance with GDPR. Tracing the history of a vehicle is not considered 'reasonable cause' (as per Road Vehicles (Registration and Licensing) Regulations 2002) for providing the information. Although it is recognised that the non-availability of this information is a loss to the historic vehicle community it is the Federations opinion that DVLA are correct.
I did write briefly about this in editions 6/17 and 1/18 of Federation News.
As a result of the UK leaving the EU the Regulations are now properly known as UK GDPR but the content and application remains the same. Thus, unfortunately this useful service is lost to us."
Nick Battelle our president raises some interesting points about the government's aim to make vehicles cleaner or become electric to reduce emissions, and asks if our hobby will fall by the wayside if the non-essential use of combustion engines is banned: will vintage and historic tractors, cars, lorries and buses all be consigned permanently to a shed forever? He points out that steam already seems to be struggling with cheap imported coal so what is the future for us? Fuels are changing, how many more challenges can we weather and how long can our historical taxation class last. It may sound all doom and gloom but hopefully it won't be all bad, but you never know.
The FBHVC have been very active on preservationist's behalf publicising and fighting our corner over a wide front. There are other recent changes apart from those such as fuels and tyres that have already featured here.
If you are proposing to drive on the continent new rules now apply, from the requirement to display a UK badge rather than the old GB sticker, to changed insurance, driving licence and MOT regulations not to mention items you must carry in the vehicle.
Regulations governing used spare parts, both for sale and for your own use are another minefield. The Environment Agency has assured the FBHVC that their crackdown on the unauthorised scrapping and sale of parts was not intended to inhibit the use of historic vehicle parts. Further guidance is expected shortly, however, to dismantle a vehicle you should hold the appropriate licence and the terms for acquiring one are draconian.
John Maiden from Dorset reports:
7th November, the East Dorset Trac Pack decided to put on a rural run for a change, rather than the usual run through towns for the spectators. The run was planned by local folklore hero Mike Boyt on his Force 3000.
The route took in the villages of Colehill, Holt, Horton, Woodlands, Wimborne St Giles and Witchampton, some 18 miles, before a terrific lunch at the Witchampton Club where spectators were in good supply. The afternoon return, a ten-mile trip, was mainly off-road taking in King Down, Barnsley Drove, Furzehill and back to base at the Barley Mow pub at Colehill for moderate liquid refreshment.
The sun shone all day on the twenty tractors, a weather window enjoyed by all despite previous very heavy rain. Photos are of the convoy on the More Crichel estate before the advance to Witchampton.
Isle of Wight Classic Tractors Charity Road Run - 28th December, from David Lemonius: After an absence of 24 months the day dawned bright but windy, not unusual for the Isle of Wight and thankfully the rain stayed off until early afternoon. We chose a different venue for the start, The Fighting Cocks Inn at Hale Common, Arreton. They have a large Car Park, which we filled with 68 Tractors of all shapes and sizes, sizes being the operative word. When we first started these tractor runs about 10 years ago the biggest was probably the Dutra but are now seeing some monsters of 250hp plus.
There was a reasonable fleet of Fordson/Ford/NH derivatives, mostly in the classics. A couple of Super Dextas followed by two 3000's and four Power/Super Majors. Two 5000's both in good running order, one a Pre-Force and the other a nicely restored Force with cab. A Roadless 118 owned by former ploughing champion John Stallard, a 7610 and 7810, a 7840 and a NH 8360, a TM135 and TM165.
With the start pub being on a main road we were happy to have the assistance controlling the traffic when we left. A short run down the road to A.E. Browns farmland where we struck out across country to Merstone then across the fields to Blackwater. Then to Rookley and over towards Loverstone with a short break taken at Cridmore Farm. At Atherfield Green, on the south coast of the Island, those on cabless tractors started to feel the effects of the 40 knots of southerly wind blowing up the spray from the wet roads! Our route took us on through the wilder parts of the West Wight out onto Brook and the Military Road - which is the coast road that runs all down the SW coast of the Island. The spectacle of the rough seas formed an amazing sight. At Compton Farm Campsite we were rewarded with a cup of tea and cake from our host Anna Smith. A total of 24 miles was covered.
A tremendous day for all and so nice to get out and meet up with old friends and talk about things that matter, tractors, not the blessed pandemic! It was also really good to see a lot of younger drivers taking part and enjoying themselves.
Our thanks to our sponsors Needles Pleasure Cruises Ltd, to all landowners over whose property we passed, The Fighting Cocks Inn, (who did a great breakfast!) and to all our willing helpers. A Total of £1200 was raised for Charity which will be divided between the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance and the Alzheimer's Café, Newport.
Ian West from Canada:
In the aftermath of the devastating British Columbia flooding in mid-November there's been a remarkable recovery in transportation infrastructure. Tragically the loss of life, while minor by other world events, from mud and landslides along these transportation hubs, could have been much more serious given the mountainous terrain of the province. Meanwhile, clean-up efforts continue in the agricultural breadbasket area centred around Abbotsford, east of Vancouver known collectively as the Fraser Valley. The farming areas immediately around Abbotsford was on land reclaimed from a lakebed during the late 1920's an area of approx.400sq.kms. This area was protected by a series of dykes and huge pumping stations, the system became overwhelmed by the rainfall and overflowing rivers converging into the area from Washington state to the south. Thousands of livestock perished and much of the rescue efforts were documented through YouTube clips. Interesting also was the new meteorological term which became known as "Atmospheric River Systems" referring to rainfalls in the region of upwards of 150mm daily. In a previous article I'd mentioned the record heat waves, forest fires and widespread drought affecting Western Provinces-so climate change is certainly gaining prominence from our viewpoint.
Meanwhile here in Alberta, winter is with us once again with overnight temperatures dropping down to minus 31C earlier this week. We're guaranteed a white Christmas alright, and as a result I've retreated to the warmth of the workshop to work on my current overhaul project on a recently acquired flatbed trailer. You might ask-what's the relevance to Ford & Fordson? Well, I bought the trailer to haul my tractors to the various shows. I would like to focus primarily on the electric braking systems generally used on such trailers here in North America as I'm told the system isn't used back in the British Isles. In the UK only a hydraulic or mechanical systems which become activated once the towing vehicle's brakes are applied, thus causing the trailer's telescoping hitch to apply pressure to the brakes. These systems have a number of significant disadvantages, most notably the fact that the trailer will always tend to "push" the towing vehicle ahead in order to apply its brakes and could potentially cause the vehicle to lose control on icy surfaces or gravel roads for example and when backing the trailer, it's necessary to apply the spacer to prevent the telescoping tongue to apply braking. Then, there's the risk of forgetting to remove this spacer causing a scenario of no brakes should you proceed onwards. Meanwhile, I'll explain the principles of the electrical system as best I can in lay man's terminology. Each trailer wheel is equipped with conventional drums and brake shoes.
The brakes are applied through an electro-magnet device operating the brake shoes that are controlled from an electronic modulator receiving current from the tow vehicle's brake switch circuitry through the conventional 7 pin trailer connector.
The degree of braking must be pre-programmed depending on the weight being towed causing the modulator to deliver a voltage range of between 3-12 volts to the electro-magnets, thus varying the intensity of braking to a level where the trailer could even pull the combination to a stop with the controller programmed to the maximum. Obviously, one would need to re-programme should the trailer be empty, otherwise the tendency would be to have the trailer skid unnecessarily. Additionally, braking is afforded in either forward or reverse. New pick-up trucks here can be equipped with what they term as tow packages which comprise the brake controller already prewired together with a heavy-duty towbar as opposed to a mere bumper hitch. I've also wired after-market controllers which aren't difficult to install and typically cost under $100.
Detailed electrical braking systems are explained on the internet, with a number of videos, also for viewing on YouTube for those interested. Over the years I've noticed smaller vehicles such as Toyota HiLux, Land Rover type vehicles with trailers in tow hauling tractors or equipment in excess of the tow vehicles weights with the aforementioned hydraulic braking systems which I've alluded to and wonder about the overall safety of such combinations versus the perceived benefits of an electrical braking system. What are your thoughts?
The subject flat deck trailer under repair is 16ft. in length, 7ft. wide with tandem 16in. tyres with a weight rating of 7 Tonnes being normally towed by an 8cyl.gasoline GMC crew cab pick-up rated at about 370hp. I purchased the trailer at a good price realizing the necessary repairs which will include new mudguards, suspension linkages, a total rewire with all new lighting, a repaint and finally a new set of tyres. As with every item for sale recently a similar new trailer today was just cost prohibitive for the limited anticipated use.
In the meantime, here's hoping for a much more NORMAL year ahead, whatever that means any more. Certainly, an abundance of vintage events to suit every taste would be just what the doctor ordered!
Christophe's passion for Ford and Fordson:
Christophe Famelart is a Belgian member of the Ford & Fordson Association and a passionate collector of blue tractors. Wouter Croquey, the FFA representative for Belgium, went to visit Christophe last Summer and discovered a beautiful collection of tractors, carefully taken care of by a man with a real love for Ford, Fordson and their derivatives that all started with father's E27N P6.
He is a 46-year-old farmer's son and lives in the French speaking part of Belgium, ten minutes south of Tournai. He told me that his passion for Ford and Fordson came from his father and grandfather, who used Fordsons. His father had a small farm and owned 3 E27N P6's to do field work until the early 80's. He even built a front loader on one of them adding power steering, which Christophe dismantled afterwards. Christophe started driving E27Ns at the age of eight and admits to having had a lot of trouble as the steering and clutch were hard to operate and mentioned that on an E27N, the clutch pedal is located on the right-hand side and the brake pedals are on the left.
Christophe's brother took over the farming activities, and when the 3 E27N's became too old to be productive, they were carefully preserved by Christophe. He restored one of them about 20 years ago. This is now his favourite tractor and the pride of the collection. It dates from June 15th, 1950 (first registration) and is equipped with a high-speed top gear transmission, while the two other P6's have the standard low ratio gearbox. But this is only the beginning of the story…
The DOE Triple D: Being a mechanic enthusiast, Christophe didn't stop there and started looking for other Fordsons first and Fords later on. The story of his DOE Triple D started when he was about twenty-two and saw one for the first time on the internet. He had never seen one before and was immediately impressed but didn't know if it was original or handmade. Either way he was sure he could never be able to buy one, so he decided to build one himself. After having bought some parts - tractors, steel, hydraulics etc. - he started the project. However, problems quickly arose as the only information available to Christophe was the book from Stuart Gibbard 'The Doe Tractor Story' offering pictures and a small schematic of the steering system. The gear changing system quickly became a real headache, Christophe remembers that he could select the first gear and then neutral, but not second gear. Getting desperate, he realised that he had to see one in real life to understand how this machine operated. At the time, one of the few places where he was almost certain to see a DOE, was the Dorset Fair. So, Christophe took the risk and went over to the UK. His effort paid off as indeed, he found the tractor he was looking for. He was able to see the brand of the manufacturer of the small transmitter pumps (Lockheed), which allowed him to finish the tractor. At the end, it has taken three years and almost 3000 hours of work to reach the result you can admire on the pictures in this article. Christophe states that his DOE is very close to the original. The main difference consists of the steering. He didn't understand how the system worked, and solved the problem by using an orbitrol unit, which was much easier to apply than the valve managed DOE-steering, while the difference couldn't hardly be noticed visually (note: an orbitrol is a hydraulic rotary slide valve commonly used for hydrostatic steering on articulated vehicles). The construction has been a big job, but at the end, Christophe is very proud to have made it. "You never pass unnoticed at an event", he tells me, his DOE has even been registered!
The E1A Fordson Majors: The Power Major is the latest addition to his collection. It was not far away from where he lives, and the tractor is in a very good original condition. The Super Major is, as the E27N's, a tractor from the family farm. Its original worn out engine has been replaced with a 6-cylinder Ford 590 E as Christophe had several from Clayson M103 combines. After the engine transplant, the tractor was used on the farm for a long time. It was first registered November 14th, 1963, towards the end of production.
The third E1A in the collection, is a 6-cylinder tractor pulling conversion of the Major. Being a tractor pulling fan, with his two sons, Christophe decided to prepare a Major especially for that. The basic ingredients were available: a tractor with its standard engine out of order, and a very good Ford Dorset 6-cylinder truck engine. Everything on the tractor has been worked out perfectly, and the machine now weighs four tons with all added front, middle and rear weights.
The County Super 4 takes a special place in the collection, as it was owned by a friend of his who had asked Christophe to buy it after his death. Christophe told me he had a moment of doubt as the price was quite substantial, although it was justified but, to honour his friend's memory and as it really was a very nice tractor, he decided to buy it. As it had already been restored he only had to rebuild the engine.
The 2N is the smallest tractor of the collection, and the only one operating on petrol. Christophe likes this tiny tractor as it was one of the last models Henry Ford knew: Henry died in April 1947, while the 2N - a basic version of the 9N built due to war restrictions - was launched in 1942. The 8N, replacing both the 9N and 2N, was launched in July 1947, so shortly after Henry Ford died. This 2N has also been restored by Christophe, but he is considering selling it in the near future.
The 5000 6X is another tractor from the family farm. When suffering from a porous block, it received an engine transplant from a 6710 4WD, also on the farm. The latter was considered to be underpowered with only 82 hp, certainly in comparison to the size of the tractor, and when the 5000 needed an engine replacement, it was decided to move the 6710-engine to the 5000 and to put a stronger engine on the 6710 (about 98 hp, if he remembers correctly). Christophe has spent a lot of time working with the 5000, and this should be the next one to be restored. It is an early 6X-version, registered October 15th, 1965. It's Christophe's favourite, after the restored E27N P6. The repowered 6710 was sold by his brother a long time ago that, he now deeply regrets as it was a very easy machine to handle.
The next one badged as a 7000, is in reality a 6-cylinder conversion of a 5000 6Y. It was bought from a friend; whose father executed the conversion. Christophe restored the tractor and has re-badged it as a '7000' to differentiate it from his other tractors. The power of the 6-cylinder engine is close to that of a 7000, so the new designation is deemed appropriate. The tractor dates from September 4th, 1975; it has the same age as its current owner, and it is equipped with a dual power. With a 6X from 1965 and a 6Y from 1975, Christophe owns 5000s from the very beginning to the last production year.
We've kept the biggest for last. Looking for a convenient transport for his tractors, Christophe decided to buy a large trailer. In the beginning, he used a big tractor from his brother's farm to pull the trailer, but after a while, he wanted his own tractor for the job, so why not a TW15, 25 or 35? He placed an advertisement and by luck received the offer for a TW 35. He went over to see the tractor and bought it instantly: although it had a little more than 10.000 hours on the clock, the tractor was, and still is, in perfect shape. Christophe is especially proud of the immaculate condition of the interior, as illustrated by one of the pictures of this article. He is sure never to find such a beautiful TW35 for sale again.
Christophe is a Ford-enthusiast with excellent mechanical skills, that he has successfully handed on to both his sons. During my visit, I met a very pleasant and cheerful guy, and was greeted in the 'unstressed' way typical for the Belgians from the south: we started with a drink and a chat. What a wonderful day, a beautiful collection of blue tractors, honestly, tell me what else you could wish for?
During my visit, we had a video made using a drone to put Christophe's fleet in the spotlights. The video is available on YouTube following the link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDaWq_dWDhI or simply search for 'La passion de Christophe'