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Fordson tractors

Early Fordson Tractors at Rushden show 2008

The Ford Tractor division was the result of Henry Ford’s desire to replace horses on farms. The company was originally called Fordson, but after losing a price war to International, he withdrew U.S production. In 1938, Harry Ferguson met with Ford at his house in Dearbor. The two agreed to build a "Ford tractor with Ferguson system". The 9N, as it was known, was met with instant success. In the 1960s, the Ford and Fordson divisions agreed to merge. The Ford Tractors replaced the previous Fordson in England. After Fords U.K. factory was moved from Dagenham to Basildon in the 1964, the Fordson name was dropped from the company's tractors, with the last Fordsons coming out of the Dagenham plant in 1964. In the 1980s, as the oil crisis made manufacturing difficult, Ford decided to sell its tractor business. To make the Tractor division more desirable, Ford set about to make itself a full-line manufacturer. In 1985, it bought out New Holland from the Sperry Corporation. The company was then renamed Ford-New Holland. In 1986, after Steiger sold out to Case IHFord decided to make its own Articulated tractors, purchasing Versatile to form Ford-Versatile. The company then stopped expanding. In 1991, Fiat, already one of the biggest tractor companies ever, bought Ford-New Holland, and Ford-Versatile. In the years that followed, the Ford blue and Fiat terracotta were merged, and the tractors were re-named New Holland. In 1999, Fiat also bought Case IH, thereby becoming the world's second largest tractor producer. After the merger, in 2001, Versatile was sold to Buhler industries, and the International Harvester plant at Doncaster was sold to ARGO, which re-branded the tractors as McCormick.


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The beginning[]

Fordson F -JAE 223 at Bath sw - DSC01605

An immaculate Fordson F reg JAE 223 with the solid cast rear wheel centres at Bath and Southwest Tractor show in 2009

Henry Ford decided that his mass production techniques could be applied to tractor building to meet the needs of feeding the population using small light tractors rather than the early Prairie Heavyweight tractors designs derived from steam tractors. But the board of directors did not agree and so he set up his own operation under the Fordson brand.

The Early Years[]

Ford produced tractors under the Fordson brand in Dearborn, Michigan, USA from 1917 to 1928. After that, production was moved to Cork, Ireland and in the 1930s, to Dagenham, England. They produced the various versions of the Major and the F & N series of light-weight designs using the Ferguson linkage system.


Ford 9N-restored in Red-Driffield-P8100580

A Highly restored Ford 8N at a steam and vintage rally

  • Fordson Model F
  • Ford N series
    • In 1942 Ford introduced the Ford 2N model tractor. This was surprising because so much steel was being used to manufacture products for U.S. and allied troops during World War II.
    • In 1948 the very popular Ford 8N tractor was introduced. More than 500,000 8Ns were sold between 1948 and 1952. The 8N was replaced with the 1953 "Golden Jubilee" tractor The Ford NAA, built to honour the company's fiftieth birthday.
  • Fordson E27N Major


The move to Diesel engine models

1960s - New Factory and Model range[]

Ford 3000 super Dexta-Concourse restoration -P8100498

A Ford 3000 Super Dexta

  • 1964 Introducing complete new model range and a revised Blue colour scheme.

After 1964, all tractors made by the company worldwide carried the Ford name. Ford stopped using the Fordson Name and switch to branding as FORD Tractors UK in Britain. Production was started in new factory in 1964 on a 100 acre site at Basildon in Essex, to coincide with the introduction of the new 1000 range tractors.

1970s - Turbos and 4-wd models[]

  • Ford 7000 - 1971 - 83 hp from a turbo charged engine.
  • Ford TW Series
  • 1976 saw the 700 range upgrade from the 600 range.
  • 1977 brought the 4-wd versions of the 8700 & 9700, using German axles.

The range had a gap from the 4 cylinder 7600/7700 of 96 hp to the 6-cylinder 8700 with 128 hp. They took a 6700 backend and fitted an industrial Ford 2715E engine of 115 hp to it, but being an industrial engine they had to incorporate a frame as these engines are not of a stress block (load bearing) design usually used in the tractor line. The machines were built by County as they were a low volume model. Launched in 1978 as the Ford 8100, for the European market. The model was soon replaced due to poor balance by the Ford 8200, another machine made from the parts bin.

1980s - Higher horsepower models[]

  • 1980 the 8200 introduced based on a 7700 rear end and a 115 hp 401s engine and a Schindler front axle.
  • The whole 1000 Range of tractors was updated with the Launch of the Series 10 versions in 1981.
  • 1982 the 8210 was introduced built by Ford in house to compete with the re-engined models built by other firms, like County, Roadless and J J Thomas in the UK and EVA in Belgium. This was restyled to match the 10 series, and fitted with ZF 4-wd axle system, and a baby brother version de-rated to 103 hp, the Ford 7910.
  • the FW High HP range introduced, from Steiger till 1986, when Case IH took them over and Ford then in 1987 bought Versatile of Canada for their high Horesepower model range, which were then painted blue and badged as Ford for some markets.
  • 1988 saw the Ford 7810 introduced based on a 7600 chassis and lightweight 401S engine, this was designed by South Essex Motors (SEM) of Basildon who built some special versions like County for Ford. They also did development work for new designs, building prototypes for testing.
  • Ford Took over New Holland from Sperry-New Holland in 1985. Followed by introducing the 30 series tractors in the TW range. These had powershift transmissions and electronic controls in 1989.

1990's - the demise of Ford Tractors[]

  • By 1990 Ford sold a major share of the tractor operation to Fiat of Italy, who finally bought the remaining share in 1994. The use of the Ford name being phased out by agreement by 2000.

The Mergers, Take-overs & Sales[]

  • In 1986, Ford expanded its tractor business when it purchased the Sperry-New Holland skid-steer loader and hay baler, hay tools and implement company from Sperry Corporation and formed Ford-New Holland which bought out Versatile tractors in 1988.
  • In 1991 Ford sold its tractor division to FIAT with the agreement that they must stop using the Ford name by 2000.
  • In 1998 FIAT removed all Ford identification from their blue tractors and renamed them "New Holland" tractors. (2 years prior to the dead line set at the time of the takeover).

Current Day[]

The Ford Tractos brand is no longer in use as part of the sale of the division to CNH, Ford withdrew the right to the "Ford" name on any production after 2000, so by 1998 the Ford Tractor line was all rebranded as New Holland (still in a Blue colour scheme, but with a black engine and transmission).

  • New for 2009 in its original (cream & red) color scheme, is the Boomer 8N with a Korean built diesel engine, IPTO, 4wd, and a CVT, with a retro style to echo the original Ford 8N.[citation (source) needed]

Ford Engines[]

Main article: Ford engines

Early Ford tractors had their own petrol and TVO engines fitted, but when the market started switching to Diesel engines in the UK ford fitted some models with Perkins engines. But when they opened the Basildon factory they had capacity to build their own and the new 1000 series was built with Fords own engines. They also sold a lot of Skid units to other OEM manufacturers in most cases fitted with a Ford engine. Due to design commonality some manufacturers fitted other models or industrial version to suit their application. Ford also had firms like County build low volume models to fill gaps in the line up and meet certain markets needs.

Model range[]


Main article: List of Ford tractor models

(Put detailed info on each Range/model on its own page please)

UK Models[]

Ford 4000 -Concouse restoration ORA 967E-Driffield-P8100499

Concourse restoration of a Ford 4000

Ford TW20

Ford TW20 in excellent condition for a working tractor, just off silage duty, seen at Newby Hall Vintage show in 2008.

Ford 9600

Ford 9600 at Newby Hall Vintage show

Ford FW30

Ford FW-30 at Astwood Bank Vintage show gathering 2008

Ford 4630

Ford 4630 at Cromford Steam Rally

Ford TW10 4wd tractor

Ford TW-10 4-wd

Ford TW25 (rough) at Bath - DSC01735

A rough looking Ford TW-25 that was offered for sale at the Bath and Southwest Tractor show auction

Ford Brand

1964 Ford UK factory moved to Basildon in Essex from Dagenham and a new range introduced.

American Models[]

  • Workmaster
    • Ford 501 Workmaster
    • Ford 601 workmaster
  • Powermaster
    • Ford 861 Powermaster
    • Ford 961 Powermaster
  • Ford FW Range Steiger tractors painted blue
    • FW-20 USA only model not imported into UK
    • FW-30
    • FW-40 USA only
    • FW-60


Main article: List of Ford Industrial


Main article: List of Ford harvesters


Main article: Ford Implements

Ford first began manufacturing implements for the Fordson tractors under the Dearborn brand. Later implements all carried the Ford name.


3rd parties made a whole range of models based on Ford tractors or factory supplied Skid units over the years. The principle firms being:-

  • Bray- loading shovels based on Ford units & articulated unit base on Ford 5000 axles.
  • County - 4-wd tractors & crawlers, some 2 wd specials.
  • Doe - Articulated tractors made from 2 tractors joined by a turntable unit.
  • EVA of Belgium, built customised 4-wd models for niche markets.
  • Jewell tractors - Rebuilt Ford 5000 select-O-matic's with 6-cylinder engines.
  • J J Thomas - 6-cylinder conversion of Ford 5000 units.
  • KFD - Kent Ford Dealers - Orchard special conversions
  • Landini - mini tractors + crawlers.
  • Mailam - Italian built Crawler Tractors based on Ford 5000 Skid unit
  • Matbro - Tractors & Loading Shovels
  • Muir-Hill - 4-wd Tractors and loaders based on Ford components / skid units
  • Northrop/Chaseside - High hp model based on Ford skid unit. (rare)
  • Roadless - 4wd tractor & crawler conversions

Other UK Brands[]

Prototypes R&D[]

UK preservation tractors[]

Ford Tractor advt - flickr - scan0019

Ford tractor advert

Ford collections[]


A number of events have featured major gatherings of Ford tractors. But in 2012 the Blue Force club and David Leach organised the Ford Conversions Event 2012 which was exclusively focused on all Ford based tractor conversions. About 200 tractors attended and many took part in the working field demonstrations on the 500 acre site.

See also[]


External links[]

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