Lanz Success Leads To Field Marshal

Lanz Bulldog

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Veterans Row Westbury, Tasmania, Australia 7303

Since my article on restoring a 1938 Lanz Bulldog in the May 1988 GEM issue, I have been delighted to see a number of articles appearing on the Lanz tractors. I finished my tractor soon after the story appeared, and it has been fitted with the full rear fenders and sign written with the original dealer's name on the flywheel covers. Learning the correct starting procedure had been largely trial and error; most Lanzs used a blow-lamp to heat up the cylinder head, but as mine was a road/farm dual-purpose model it was fitted from new with petrol injection and a trembler coil to fire a spark plug as on a normal engine.

It was found that the best way to get 'motor ovation' was to set the injector nozzle screwed down to deliver a wide fan of fuel into the hot-bowl and to set the fuel control lever wide open to the 630 r.p.m. position. With the steering wheel already placed in the end of the crankshaft, two squirts of fuel are primed into the hot-bowl via the fuel pump, the trembler coil ignited and a hard swing given on the steering wheel. When the engine fired you could bet it would be running the wrong way and you would have to reverse the engine rotation. Once up and running, a change over to fuel oil could be accomplished in five minutes, but recently this system of starting has become quite unreliable, with the engine giving just enough of a cough to keep you swinging the wheel, but refusing to pick up regardless of having fuel and spark. So after collapsing in a heap under the starting wheel and uttering some choice vocab, Father and I decided that there must be a better way. The hot-bowl is removed and it is naturally flooded with petrol. After having the fuel pump and injector rebuilt, I began to despair.

'If I had a blow lamp I bet I could have it going in 10 minutes,' comes a reply from the background. This comment came from another Lanz owner from the Australian mainland. 'Why don't you start it the proper way, with the lamp; it's all we use in Victoria.'

My reply was a polite, 'Well, it's the only system I've used and it came factory fitted, but if you can find a lamp, you're welcome to try it.'

We managed to borrow a lamp from a fellow two-stroke owner and our man proceeded to heat up the hot-bowl. After a rather tense couple of minutes, two pumps were given on the pump, one swing on the wheel, and you guessed it, away she went! Well I had a large serve of humble pie and I now realized that a lamp is the only way to go for starting, as it never failed on two attempts at starting.

The photo of my Lanz Was taken while running in our backyard and successfully covering all and sundry with a healthy emission of two stroke lubricant from both the exhaust and by-pass pipes. All this simply adds to the aura of owning a two-stroke.

After restoring and coming to grips with the Lanz, I decided I must have another two-stroke in our collection, but what type? A McDonald Imperial? As only two came to our island state, slim chance. An H.S.C.S.? Well, these are rarer than a McDonald (in our state anyway), with two coming here on demonstration only and disappearing without a trace.

Well, that leaves us with a Marshall, but which Marshall? A 12-20 perhaps? Or maybe a later Field Marshall version, Series 1, 2 or 3 ?

We found only one 12-20 Marshall in the possession of an elderly gentleman who could no longer swing the engine over compression to start it. He was extremely fond of it, and declined to part with it. A while later we discovered a very original Series 3- the same one my father drove new from the dealership to his then employer. After offering more than a fair amount (due to sentimentality), our offer was declined, the owner reluctant to retire a tractor he considered to be more than capable of doing a hard day's work. Well, never mind, all we can do is keep looking. Keeping in mind that I wanted a tractor in good mechanical condition, things began to look bleak. We found quite a few more Series 3 Marshalls but all had either broken or were on their way with small end bearings being the major cause of stoppage.

Why so many failures? Mainly due to the small end bearing being a needle roller setup, and as the oil reservoir needed to be checked every six hours. Many people forgot this, especially when using the tractor overnight to drive irrigation pumps, a job which they could run at full load and use less than one gallon of fuel an hour. A seizure invariably meant the needle rollers welding themselves inside the piston; rebuilding an engine ruined to this extent would consume more time and money than I could afford (even if I could get the parts). Remembering that we had at least 50 more tractors awaiting restoration, we left the 'sick' Series 3's and decided to wait, which we didn't have to do for long. One evening the phone rang.

'Would you be interested in a good Field Marshall?'

'Well yes, but how good?' was Dad's reply.

'I bought her new in '48 and always kept the oil up.'

'1948, must be a Series 2,' Dad mused. 'Has it got a diff lock fitted?'

'No, but it has two hand brake levers and a 3 speed box.'

'Yes, you have a Series 2 all right, but how much are you asking?'

'Come and view it first,' was his reply.

Dad replaced the receiver and informed Mother that we would be going for a Sunday drive, followed by the usual wife's repertoire of the possibility of more 'junk' coming home.

Following our given directions, we arrived at an area we couldn't see as being right, no cleared land, just dense bushland. It was then we saw an elderly gentleman trudging down this long gravel road in his boots. We wound down the car window and politely asked, 'Excuse us, can you possibly tell us where to find a certain Mr. Norman Bradford?'

He removed his hat and gave his head a scratch. 'Norman Bradford? Never heard of him, guess you must be well and truly lost.'

We looked at our map, then at each other, muttered a few choice words and checked the map again. The elderly gentleman watched us with amusement and said, 'You'd be the Shaws from The Vintage Tractor Shed.' We looked at each other again, and Dad said, 'Yes, and you'd have to be Norman Bradford, wouldn't you?'

'One and only,' he says. 'Had you guys worried.'

We jokingly threatened to drive off without him, but we let him step in the car and continued down the long road. A few minutes later we arrived at Norman's home settled in an idyllic setting with a creek nearby. I couldn't see any sign of a tractor around here though. After a quick tour around we were led uphill into the bush, and there under the trees sat a very straight Series 2 Field Marshall tractor, serial #10301. It still had three original tyres on it, thankfully the 19 inch fronts were perfect as they are only obtainable ex New Zealand. The chaff screen on the radiator was still in good order, as were the rear fenders, these sustaining only light damage, and the optional Burgess oil bath air pre-cleaner had been fitted. In fact the only thing missing was the rear seat which had rusted out as the tractor hadn't seen a shed in years.

'Can we hear it running?' Dad asked.

'Sure,' replied Norman and I wondered who was going to draw the short straw and swing the starting handle, which was about three feet long and two inches in diameter.

'Nope, won't need that,' said Norman, as I moved to pick up the handle. 'I haven't used it in years.'

We watched in amusement as Norman released the park brake and rolled down the slope to a clearer area. He set the throttle and the decompressor roller for two revolutions of the flywheel. Next, a piece of ignition paper was placed in the holder at the front of the cylinder head and ignited. Norman selected top gear and in about five feet the Marshall burst into life with that sharp 'pom pom' exhaust note my father remembers so well. Right away I could hear the difference in the running of the Marshall, being a full compression ignition diesel and Lanz being surface ignition semi-diesel, the Marshall really bouncing every time I fired. I listened to the engine carefully, no rattle from the small end bearing, just good old diesel knock. Good, she's healthy enough.

'Told you she's been well maintained mechanically,' replied Norman.

'Certainly has,' I replied. 'How much do you want for the old girl, Norman?'

'Take her for a drive first and see what you think then,' he said with a smile.

Well, the steering was going to need a bit of work; we got three turns on the lock one way and two the other, as the pitman arms had been welded on out of position. Apart from that, I couldn't fault it, no smoke from the exhaust (unless you roused the motor up) and shut the engine down. From the look on my face he knew I was hooked. We settled on a price the same as we previously offered for the good Series 3, so I was pretty happy.

Upon taking delivery a week later it was a sad parting for Norman as he watched us depart with his workhorse of some forty years, but I was determined to have it look eventually as it did in the agent's showroom.

First job was to burn out the exhaust, as quite a few sparks were being emitted from it. After lighting it, nothing happened until we tipped the exhaust upright, and boy, did we have a fire then! Red Adair couldn't put it out!

The exhaust port was amazingly clean, not even needing a de-coke. As with the Lanz, it was not deemed necessary to touch the engine, considering how well it ran. However, wheels, bonnet, tank, guards, platform and wheels were all removed and the tractor placed on jack stands. The frame/chassis was the first thing to be prepared for painting, firstly with a lot of wire brushing and sandpaper, followed up with a lot of buffing with steel wool to give a glass smooth surface. A preliminary coat of red oxide primer was applied, followed by a coat of green rustproof enamel undercoat. All body work was taken back to metal by hand, which took a lot of patience, before being painted in the same manner as the chassis, except this time a heavy coat of grey automotive primer was brushed onto all panels before being wet sanded by hand. This was followed by another coat of red oxide to prepare for the top coat of auto enamel. Jaguar British Racing Green was found to be a perfect match, and thankfully we got a hot sunny day which made the paint glide on beautifully.

The gearshift pattern was detailed in silver, and the badge work, which had been buffed and polished, was fixed in position on the nose panel and bonnet side.

The back platform had been severely rusted and pitted from standing out, and since we welded a new step in, it took some lining up as some distortion had taken place. Foam insulation stripping was attached to the inside edges of the bonnet to guard against vibration and possible scratching, rear fenders were bolted up which again took doing, as the straightened guards did not want to make up to now de-dented guards.

The hand brake levers were a huge problem, as they had to be fitted after the guards had been mounted, which meant they had to be guided up from the undersides of the floor panel and slid into splines, there being no room to force them on (which we naturally had to do). We succeeded, but only after losing a bit of paint. The seat Dad made was bolted on its support and a new upholstered cushion fitted. The steering box had been sent away and had new splines cut into the sector shaft for the pitman arm, so while jacked up the steering wheel was given plenty of exercise to loosen things up a little. New copper drain pipes were fitted to the exhaust and engine pipe, and all we needed to complete things now was some original silver striping and some union jacks as decorated on many special show models I luckily had photos of.

I contacted a friend who is a professional sign writer, and left him with some original sales material to study. He agreed to make a start one night after work. I must admit I was worried about the side striping, as I thought removing the masking tape would remove some of the paint or feather the edges of the stripework. No worries, he had a special tape which applied itself like conventional pinstripe, a couple of careful brushstrokes later he quickly removed the tape leaving a beautiful straight edge. The unfurled union jacks were hand painted the next week over the previously painted white background, which certainly brightened up the green paintwork.

After another week we decided to attempt the first start up in twelve months. After consuming 20 litres of diesel to prime the fuel system I knew not to let it ever run dry. The oil pump was primed via 50 turns of a hand crank behind the flywheel to pre-lubricate the engine, and we were ready for action. We towed the Marshall into our backyard, remembering all the unnerving stories of handles sticking in flywheels and causing severe harm to one's pride and underwear. The ignition holder was removed from the cylinder head and the well greased handle slipped into the end of the flywheel and rotated until a reassuring squawk of fuel injected into the cylinder was heard.

'Would you rather I swung her over?' asked Tim, our right hand man.

Now, I was not about to say I was intimidated by the thought of swinging my own tractor over, but as Tim's a lot stronger than me I figured he could swing that handle over compression easier than 1.

'Only if you insist,' I replied with a smile.

Okay, action stations all! I rolled up an ignition paper (blotting paper soaked in saltpetre solution and dried), and placed it in the holder. A last-minute check on the decompression roller (4 winds), and I ignited the paper. As soon as it began to glow fiercely, I screwed it into the head as far as my trembling hands would allow. As soon as the holder was screwed home, I told Tim to start winding, which he did, building up speed quickly until the roller left the flywheel with a clunk and Tim was rocked back violently by the starting handle. Oh well, I guess hoping for a start first up in 12 months was a bit ambitious, so we set the decompression roller again and swung the engine over with the fuel shut off and the ignition paper removed. This was to clean out the combustion chamber of excess fuel. Tim was raring to go on the handle once again, so once more an ignition paper was lit and screwed home quickly. This time after four winds the roller left the flywheel and immediately the engine fired. As if to say 'told you,' the handle was ejected simply and easily. In fact, you could be in more danger when the handle swings back off compression during a failure to start. Once the engine starts firing, it builds up speed very quickly, and once running smoothly it can be shut down to a steady thump around 450-500 r.p.m.; anything lower than this and you would be bounced to death!

As before, we had a good clean exhaust under idle, and this time it was great to have a seat to sit on. We selected a gear and headed off up the yard, the first time in 12 months under its own power.

We telephoned Norman that evening and informed him that we had finished restoring his old workhorse, and he was eager to know how it turned out.

'Well, you had better come and drive it in the grand parade at our show next week.'

'Really? Yes, of course I'll be there,' Norman said.

The next week it was bright and sunny as I departed down the road to the local showground. It was then I discovered the limitations of a 6 mph top gear, especially when I got rounded up by Oliver 70's and similar hot rods.

Upon arriving at the grounds, I could see that we had a good selection of Marshalls from all over the state, 12-20's through to Series 3. It was then that I saw one gentleman admiring my new arrival more excitedly than anyone else, pointing it out to all the people around him. Looking more carefully, I saw it was Norman, complete with family, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

'Yes, that one's mine!' he exclaimed, pointing at the one original British Firestone tyre on the rear .

We exchanged greetings and discussed aspects of the restoration. He was in fact surprised we had gone to all the trouble of making and upholstering a seat, but he was even more surprised at us cranking the engine by hand. Again the engine started easily, and we invited Norman to go for a drive.

I was sure that he had a tear in his eye as he stepped off. After having his photo taken on the Marshall with his great-grandson, his sense of humour came to the fore again, as Dad arrived on the scene and asked Norman what he thought of his restored tractor.

'Very nice, but I thought you were going to paint it!' was his reply as he laughed, remembering our first meeting on that gravel road.

Norman's Marshall is now proudly parked in our museum opposite its German nemesis, the Lanz Bulldog, two single cylinder two-strokes together. I guess another would be nice ... !