Vintage enthusiasts can bid on historic 1928 steam tractor worth over £200k

A restored 1928 Foden C Type will be one of 300 tractors that will go under the hammer during the first vintage auction of the year held at Cheffins’ sale ground.

A 1928 Foden C tractor will be one of the highlights at the Cheffins vintage auction at Sutton, near Ely, at Cheffins
A 1928 Foden C tractor will be one of the highlights at the Cheffins vintage auction, photo by Cheffins.

Over 2,700 lots, including several one-of-a-kind tractors, steam engines, vehicles, motorcycles and automobiles, will be looking for new owners.

This includes the stunning 1928 steam tractor, which was treated to an extensive nut and bolt restoration by its previous owner, creating what was described by the auctioneer as “one of the finest examples of a C Type in existence”.

The restoration began in 1988, when the vehicle was owned by Vincent Allen of Houghton Le Spring in Co Durham. It was then purchased by Bruce Nicol in 2007.

The pre-sale estimates for this model are between £200,000 and £220,000.

Variety and quality of machinery  

Tom Godsmark, associate at Cheffins, said that buyers will be excited by the variety and quality of machinery on offer.

He added: “This is a mammoth sale, with some hugely important historical tractors alongside some models that have been subject to extensive restorations.

“Some of these machines haven’t changed hands for several decades, and being able to offer them to the market again is a privilege.”

Stunning example 

One of the earliest Ferguson Brown tractors, which was almost certainly a pre-production demonstrator and includes the first manufactured Coventry Climax engine, will also go under the hammer at the sale.

The tractor, which carries the serial number 5, was originally supplied on steel wheels to Imperial Motors of Hereford and was brought into preservation in the 1970s.

Mr Godsmark said: “No 5 possesses the correct features for such an early machine, including the paired-plug head and shallow sump. It is a stunning example, and its early serial number signifies its huge historical importance. It is entirely possible that the only earlier example of a Ferguson Brown still in existence is number 1, which is owned by Massey Ferguson.”

The Ferguson Brown No 5 tractor will also be available at Cheffins vintage auction, photo by Cheffins.

One of the oldest tractors on sale is a 1915/16 Overtime Model R, two-cylinder petrol tractor, believed to be one of the earliest working models in the UK.

This mid-war example was rescued from the undergrowth in 1959 and was a mainstay on the rally and show circuit until 2018. Various invoices from the restoration are still present, and its current vendors bought it in 2021 and have treated it to a full repaint to match the original chassis.

Other auction gems

The line-up extends to an immaculate 1973 County 1164, six-cylinder tractor and a 1932 Fordson Model N, which is one of only a handful of ‘transitional’ models produced when manufacturing moved from Cork in Ireland to Ford’s Dagenham site in Essex.   

This model was assembled in England but used many Irish parts, as can be seen from the ‘Made in Irish Free State’ legend on the fuel tank and found on the flywheel during the restoration. It spent over 60 years on one farm in Northamptonshire before undergoing a five-year restoration with its current owner.  

The pick of the vehicles is a 6.2-litre V8 Bentley T-Type Mulliner Park Ward 2-door coupe, which is an immaculate early example and one of only 79 right-hand drive models built between 1966 and 1971.   

Coachbuilt by H.J Mulliner Park Ward Ltd of Willesden, it features rare early type internal door handles, and the Burr Walnut woodwork is in superb condition. It still has its original box of tools and a jack, while the hardback owner’s handbook is also present. It carries an estimate of £50,000 and £60,000.   

Vintage Land Rover enthusiasts have 11 vehicles to choose from, including an early racing green Series I, through to series III models.  

There will also be 55 motorcycles, comprising a 1929 Velocette KSS, 1928 James Model 12 V-twin, and a 1929 Douglas EW, many of which are to be offered without reserve. As usual, there is a wide selection of automobilia and petroliana, including Price’s Motorine U.C.L – a countertop upper lubricant dispenser in unrestored and original condition.  

The vintage auction takes place on Friday and Saturday 19th and 20th April at the Cheffins sale ground at Sutton. Click here to view the catalogue.  

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