The Cheffins-run auction of the Liddell family’s machinery collection must go down the best of the year. It was a fantastic tractor sale!
After an initial welcome to all present, Cheffins’ Oliver Godfrey headed straight into the tractor spares and miscellaneous items that were arranged under a leaden sky. As the sale progressed, the crowd continued to grow, until the car park was over-flowing. The early highlights to fall under the hammer in this section included several Roadless front weight blocks – the best making £1,150 – and a Fordson Major Weathershield cab, which looked in reasonable condition (some rust showing) and sold for £3,700.
There followed a clean, Ford 7000 AP safety cab, which raised £3,500; the cab fitted on the 7000 in the sale was a 5000-6600 type. Also of note was the £820 paid for some Ford Super Q lights. They didn’t look very special to me but were certainly in great demand.
The sale continued with ploughs and other implements, conducted by Bill King before Oliver Godfrey returned at noon to start on the main tractors. After a staggering £9,500 was paid for an admittedly stunning, 1975 Ransomes Crusader 2800B combine, we returned to reality with a 1965 Claeys M103 New Holland 10ft combine, which sold for just £750!
Just a few lots on, the 1983 County 1474 short-nose (No. 48724) came up. This tractor was purchased in 1993 and mainly used with a five-furrow Dowdeswell plough. It had been fitted with rare, 38in wheels – the extra 2in does so much for the performance of these tractors. On the flip side, the increased diameter does place all sorts of additional stress on other components.
But all that’s in the past and, with only 4,802 hours on the clock of this fine and clean Ernest Doe-supplied example. I felt it was very capable of making £100,000. Oliver started the bidding at £70,000 and, for a while, it was stuck at £74,000 but, once it reached £110,000, that seemed to galvanise bidders for the big push which took the price on up to an amazing £196,000. Factor in all the additional charges, and the total paid was £249,312!
The sale continued with a 1989 Ford Jubilee with 12,161 hours and an excellent front linkage. Despite a set of wheels in real need of a repaint, this machine went on to sell for £42,000. Next, there was the most interesting but tatty, ex-Frank S Foot 1966 Northrop 5004/6 prototype, which sold for £74,500.
However, the tractor I loved more than any other at this sale was the 1971 Roadless Ploughmaster 95 (No. 6D-6307). It had been supplied by AT Oliver & Son in Luton and was being sold with its warranty card and instruction book. It looked good but we didn’t hear it run so the buyer, who paid £22,000 (+VAT) for it, took a bit of a gamble, mechanically speaking.
Another bumper price was paid for a Ploughmaster 6/4. I’ve certainly seen better examples selling for appreciably less than the £27,000 this one made; the model is still very much in demand.
I enjoyed the line of fine, original and clean crawlers, the most desirable of which appeared to be the County P55 Ploughman. It had been supplied by AG Potter (Framlingham) Ltd, and eventually sold for £10,800. I also spotted a fine Weatherhill 12H loading shovel. Despite being a superb, ex-military example with very low hours, it sold for just £800! Sadly, people don’t place more value on British plant like this.
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