British Northrop Ltd
Successor JCB
Defunct 1967
Headquarters Blackburn, Lancashire, England
Products tractor conversions

Northrop was a obscure conversion of Ford tractors with a short production run. It could almost be considered the Forerunner of the Muir-Hill tractor range. These conversions were completed by the British Northrop Ltd company in Blackburn, Lancashire, England.


British Northrop Ltd was an Engineering firm based in Blackburn, Lancashire, England. They were loom and weaving machinery manufactures, who merged with Chaseside engineering in 1959. British Northrop started in 1902. The loom business was in decline in the UK by 1950's and they had considerable factory and foundry capacity, which lead to the merger as Chaseside was financially stretched following development of their new hydraulic loaders. The tractor was built on a Ford 5000 skid unit. The prototype was built in 1964.

The Northrop tractor operation was set up at the Chaseside factory at Ware, Hertfordshire, England.

The tractor was designed by David J.B.Brown, who moved on to Muir Hill and then later founded DJB Dump trucks at Peterlee in County Durham, England.

The company got into difficulties in 1967, the foundry was shut and Chaseside was sold to JCB who were looking for a loading shovel manufacturer. Tractor production stopped and the last 3 units went to JCB. Apparently they put them to work on the Joe Bamford's estate farm. It is reputed that JCB paid £100,000 for the Chaseside businesses stock, work-in progress and intellectual property (Considered a bargain price by some).

Models Built Edit

Northrop 5006 4WD Tractor Diesel

A 1960s Northrop 5006T 4WD Tractor Diesel with industrial trailer

  • Northrop 5004 - built 1965-67 (production was 100-150 tractors only)
  • Northrop 5004/6 - built 1966 (2 prototype 6 cylinder versions)
  • Northrop 5006 - Built 1967 with only 4 built before production ended.
  • Northrop 5006T- The last Northrop 1960s tractor model with a Turbocharger fitted to its engine.

UK PreservationEdit

A only a few examples are known to have survived and are in preservation, but these are one of the rarer tractors about and have a commanding presence to then;

There is also a recreated one built by Mr. Wall which can be seen with a number of other self built one off at his sawmill demonstrations at Duncombe Park Steam Rally, Newby Hall Vintage Gathering(TractorFest) and the former Pickering Steam Rally events in Yorkshire.

Northrop lookalike - GAJ 178D at Newby 17 - IMG 5212

Recreated Northrop tractor

Recollections Edit

I worked as a apprentice with Bill Harper on the original builds in 3 bay at Chaseside on all these prototypes - M Gibson

See alsoEdit

Other Ford ConvertersEdit