Ayrshire Vintage Tractor & Machinery Club

By Staff
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Selection of M-H tractors at our rally.
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M-H tractors in at the Kilmarnock factory where some were built.
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Selection of Ferguson tractors at Rally. Sue in foreground.
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'Sue' The South Pole tractor with me driving.
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Alex Howat with the tractor Harry Ferguson drove in 1952.

Kelk Cottage Crosshouse by Kilmamock Scotland, KA2 OBG

I write to you as a GEM reader of many years. I am a founding
member of Ayrshire Vintage Tractor & Machinery Club. We
exchange newsletters with two clubs in USA as well as others in
Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.

In 1996, we were hosts to C. H. Wendel and a party of vintage
enthusiasts from USA. Ye Olde Reflector is an honorary member of
our club.

Readers may be interested in some of our club activities. 1998
was our 17th annual Rally, when we featured Nuffield tractors and
Land Rover rough terrain vehicles. Both had completed 50 years
since they were first produced. The turnout of vehicles and
spectators was excellent. The snag, however, was that our very wet
summer produced one of our wettest weekends. It all ended in a mud
bath.

In previous years, we had celebrated 50 years of Ferguson and
150 years of Massey Harris.

When Ferguson produced his TE 20 in 1947, it was of great
benefit to British farming, which was beginning to recover from
World War II. The first Fergusons produced at Coventry were
equipped with Continental gas engines from USA. Subsequently, a
Ferguson distillate engine was introduced, and later, when 200
thousand had been built, diesel models became available.

Two unique tractors were on show that year. From the Ferguson
Factory Museum, we had on display the tractor which was part of the
Sir Edmond Hillary’s historic expedition, which in 1958 drove
1200 miles, in the worst terrain known to man, to reach the South
Pole. For the journey, it had been fitted with full tyre tracks.
Sue, as the tractor was affectionately known, was in the condition
in which she arrived home from the Pole. Her trip to Scotland would
likely be her last, as she is now restored and permanently on show
at the Massey Ferguson Museum in Coventry. The other tractor of
special interest was a TE20, which had been driven by Harry
Ferguson himself. In 1952, the owner Alex Howat was transporting a
binder to do contract work near his Ayrshire home, when a large
Bentley, with a driver in uniform, stopped in front of him. The
passenger who stepped out was Harry Ferguson, who was on holiday
with his wife and daughter. He questioned Alex on the tractor’s
performance, before asking permission to drive it himself. Before
leaving, Harry Ferguson commented on the tractor’s condition
and wished Alex well. The tractor is now restored and has been
fitted with a Perkins P3 Diesel engine. The Massey-Harris 150th
celebration year also brought out a large selection of tractors. In
addition to the Rally, we took a selection of M-H machinery to the
factory at Kilmamock, where Massey built tractors and combines from
1948 until 1980. Old employees were invited to attend the
gathering. An afternoon was spent reminiscing among their former
workmates, and pointing out the part they had played in building
the machines on display.

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