Eight-decade-old tractor fetches $46,000

Readers will recall news of Euro Auctions in Northern Ireland selling over 100 classic tractors with many historically important models from the 1940s, 50s and 60s in a one-day auction this past Easter.

Most of the collection had been amassed by John Flynn over the past four decades, with many of the tractors having been restored and regularly maintained so were in full working order.

Over 500 bidders pre-registered for the auction from 25 countries with more than a third bidding online, but the majority of tractors were sold as ‘one off’ purchases to individuals in the UK and Republic of Ireland.

Most of the tractors went for really good money, with several in the collection, as expected, selling for just a couple of thousand pounds each, but the star lot was a little grey 1938 Ferguson Brown Type A.

It was bought for £24,500 by Cecil Murphy (pictured left with the tractor and his older brother Robert) a retired arable and beef farmer who lives in Hillsborough, just a couple of miles up the road from Euro Auctions’ Dromore site.

This tractor (BZ 5845) has a Coventry Climax engine and had its original log book and a wealth of documented Irish history and had originally been owned by Cecil’s uncle and then his father who bought it in 1938 and sold it in 1952.

“There was considerable interest in this particular lot which drove the price up a little, but for me it was a must-have purchase and it’s really good to have it back in the family and for it to remain in Northern Ireland,” says Cecil.

“According to my family folklore, Harry Ferguson visited the farm on several occasions in the 1940s and will have seen it in operation and may well have driven it himself.”

Cecil says the vintage tractor will be exhibited at various regional shows to help promote farming heritage and raise money for cancer charities.

The Ferguson Brown revolutionised farming back in its day as it was the first tractor that allowed various implements like ploughs to be connected directly to the vehicle and raised and lowered using a gear system. When originally sold it cost £224 plus a further £26 for a basic range of implements. By contrast the contemporary Fordson cost only £140.

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