Cheffins’ mega Vintage Collective sale!

Posted by Chris Graham on 30th May 2024

Peter Love reviews Cheffins’ mega Vintage Collective sale which took place in April and saw nearly 3,000 lots raise an incredible £2 million!

All photographs by Peter Love, unless otherwise stated

Vintage Collective sale

The big one was the 1928 Foden C-type tractor unit Merlin which started out as a six-wheel tar tanker, it sold for £190,000 and has headed back to Scotland.

Cheffins had a fabulous opening on Friday 19 April with the literature seeing a rare Fowler Gyrotiller 80hp sales leaflet selling for £300. The  rare Fowler steam roller three-page sales brochure changed hands at £240. As for the 1909 John Fowler 12 page steam cultivating and ploughing machinery parts book, it raised £200. Later on the Wallis & Steevens Advance steam roller leaflet took £50, while the parts book sold for £35. The A4 reproduction Wallis & Steevens traction engine and steam wagon catalogue put together by J P Mullet and R C Wallis sold for £35.

The colourful 1920 Spanish language Thornycroft J-type brochure raised £45. There were 100s of tractor literature and sundries. The best was £900 for a large selection of A4 David Brown black and white pictures circa 1942-48. Some £440 was paid for a collection of delightful Blackstone oil engines parts list and instruction manuals and Stationary Engine magazines.

Vintage Collective sale

Changing hands on the Sunday after the sale, 1911 RSJ 6hp No. 24585 compound Northern Star attended the first northern rally in 1954.

Just before that a raft of boxes featured plant and construction brochures that protractedly got away for £320. However it was Ford, Fordson and Massey Ferguson literature that led the way throughout the literature when £360 was paid for County and Roadless brochures. The rare and genuine Ford Basildon factory Ford TW35 1964-89 pewter model sold for £450. However the Massey Ferguson 165/175/178 technical manual with all the updates, the size of a large bible, raised £900.    

The Burrell 4in showman’s parts were not even a quarter finished but sold for a good £1,500. A reproduction Ransomes ‘Ploughs For All’ sign 30 x 22in sold for £700.

Vintage Collective sale

Looking from the rear we see the 1925 Fowler DN1 compound showman’s No. 16439 Delilah, formerly a steam roller.

On the Saturday for Old Glory readers the main interest was the four steamers from the Nicol’s collection from Kintore, Scotland, which we reviewed in the April issue of Old Glory.

It started with the 1928 Foden C-type No.13156 which today is a tractor unit, but started life as a very ugly six-wheeled tar tanker for Trinidad Lake Asphalt. The wagon was basically scrapped with the horn plates cut off and the boiler sold for soil sterilisation. Russell Kingan gained a host of original and used parts and he put these together with Billy Milner, the ‘king pin’ in the work. But after being sold in 1988 Vincent Allen stripped the tractor down and undertook a meticulous re-restoration. This included a 2006-built boiler and firebox. Merlin, as it is called, changed hands in 2007 to Bruce Nicol who hardly used it and it is due a 10-year hydraulic test in 2025.

Vintage Collective sale

The three rollers in the sale all went to the same owner and have gone ‘north of the Watford Gap.’

The company brought the Foden south of the border arriving on the Friday morning to be admired by all. On the Saturday it went on to sell under Oliver Godfrey’s hand for £190,000 and has gone to a new owner in Scotland. Many predicted it would make over £200,000, but perhaps if it had been in steam that would have changed matters.

Next on was the 1911 Ransomes, Sims & Jefferies 6hp double-crank compound traction engine No. 24585 Northern Star. This historic engine took part in the first northern rally at Pickering in 1954. It features a new-in-1993 firebox and looked very smart. The bidding stopped at £98,000 and it was sold on Sunday 21 April. It’s reported to have gone to Worcestershire and will need a 10-year hydraulic in 2027.  As we all know steam roller showman’s conversions are going out of fashion price-wise at the moment and bidding stopped at £80,000 for the 1925 Fowler DN1 compound No. 16439 Delilah. It looked a treat; purchased by Bruce Nicol in 2011 it changed hands on the Monday after the sale.

Vintage Collective sale

Running so well, the Greens WD type roller carries a later Perkins L4 engine.

Then it was the turn of the 1921 Marshall 12-ton compound roller No. 73893 which our Rally Archive Editor Bob Moorman had last seen at the Aberdeen Rally in 1976. This ex-Perthshire County Council roller has spent all its life in Scotland and was purchased by William Nicol in 1971. The rolls were rather thin, but the tubes looked like  new and it was said that the thickness readings were good on the firebox. The tender water pocket looked so-so and the gears were good, but the copper chimney cap had worn right away. All in all the engine looked lovely with the correct style of canopy and uprights and was got away at £38,000 without a boiler ticket, and it will need a hydraulic test.

Vintage Collective sale

What a fine line of commercial vehicles of which 75% sold.

The same purchaser also came away with the very well restored and rare 1930 Aveling & Porter DX3 No.3126 Blackstone-engined 6-ton roller. It runs well and came from Norfolk. The 1944 Greens WW2-style roller No. TGSRRAW1001, DFW741 would have been fitted with a Fordson Standard N p/p engine when new. In the 1950s it was fitted with a Perkins L4 engine. The roller was presented in better than new condition and ran very well – it changed hands at £4,500.

Playing such a good tune was the 89-key Chanctonbury fair organ which had been stripped and rebuilt in 2011 and had fronted Ken Fox’s Wall of Death ride at one time. It sold in its trailer for £6,600.

Vintage Collective sale

Top tractor in the sale was the 1977 Massey Ferguson 1200 STL884R, which changed hands again at £56,000 and has travelled across the water.

When it came to the tractors the punters could not get enough of good well-restored tractors, The 1964 Massey Ferguson 35X Multi-Power XJT438B fitted the bill and created a new world record for a restored example at £17,000. Next was the ex-Billy Wood Junior 1932 Fordson Standard N interim. In other words the parts were made at The Marina, Cork, Ireland works, but it was assembled at the then new Dagenham works and sold new to E Ward of Kettering. The tractor had an easy life and was not altered by the end of its working life. As always with Billy Wood Junior’s restorations it was perfect, to concours standard, and it was a major award winner at Tractor World in 2009 after a five year restoration. It went on to sell for £16,000, which was a tad disappointing, but the paintwork was bubbling in one area, rather letting down the concours-style finish.

The Billy Wood Junior 1932 Fordson Irish interim N sold for just £16,000. (Photo: Chris Rowberry)

Doug Palmer’s 1915 Overtime R No. 2929 had been owned by the late Ted Goldup, who rescued it in 1959 when he had to cut down a tree to remove the wreck. In Ted’s ownership it appeared at 200 shows and 150 ploughing matches and was always kept in excellent order after a two-year restoration. It was sold to Doug by Cheffins in 2021 after Ted’s passing. The family painted the tractor and the carburettor and magneto were overhauled and it ran very well. In 2024 it sold here for £40,000 looking good and running well.

The rare 1962 Mailam Dexta in patina’d condition sold for £9,800 plus VAT.

There were no less than four Ferguson Brown A tractors in the sale. The first was the most interesting being the one carrying No. 5  with engine No. 101. A pre-production model, it was first registered in Flintshire in 1939. The tractor had been rebuilt by Fred and John Goldup, but was now in patina’d condition and on steel wheels, it sold for £36,000. As for the others. No. 958 made £14,200 while No. 459 sold for £11,800 and the last, No. 557, without steering shaft and steering wheel went for £11,500 plus VAT.

The highlight in the tractors was the 1977 Massey Ferguson 1200 STL884R in restored order changing hands to Ireland for a mighty £56,000. The 1989 Ford 7810 III Jubilee sold for £46,000 plus VAT in restored so-so order. The well-restored 1973 County 1164 YNE902 went on to raise £40,000 plus VAT. The Irish 1975 Ford 3000 created a new world record for a restored example at £15,000 and it was certainly a lovely tractor. The Italian-made original patina’d style 1962 Mailam crawler sold to Kent for £9,800 plus VAT. It really wasn’t a Field Marshall weekend with the 1951 Field Marshall Series III carrying a hydraulic pack on the rear in older restored style doing best at £14,000.

Ferguson Brown A No. 5, the second oldest survivor, changed hands at £36,000 in grade 4 condition.

In sale 4 at 9am Oliver Godfrey started selling the stationary engines; these essentially came from the late Robin Goulbourne’s estate in Norfolk. They were lovely small engines all on trolleys and older restorations, starting with the 1915 Little Jumbo 1.75hp N model No. 16018 with the igniters missing selling for £850 in restored condition. It was followed by the 1915 Amanco ‘Johnny Boy’ 1.5hp No. 254896 at £1,600. The 1914 Stover Pilter 2hp YA No. 61378 made £1,800 and the 1914 Amanco ‘Hired Man’ 2.25hp No. 130649 raised £650. Moving to the 1921 Bamford 2.5hp ‘Tulip Top’ No. 1004, it went for £1,400. Back to North America and the 1917 Emerson Brantingham 2hp U No.17013 made £2,100.

An excellent selection of stationary engines came under the hammer: 1914 Amanco ‘Hired Man’ 2.25hp £650; 1921 Bamford 2.5hp ‘Tulip Top’ £1,400; the 1917 Emerson Brantingham 2hp U at £2,100.

One with a well known history was the 1923 Petter M (V2) ‘Little Pet’ No. 2149 which worked a potato peeler near Swansea behind a fish and chip shop and raised £650. The unrestored 1920 Crossley 5hp No. 1060 worked at a Macclesfield sewage works and made £1,100. We moved to the Ingeco 3hp W No. 31283, which sold for £800 to be followed by the Petter 3hp M No. 65933 with twin flywheels at £650. Then it was the Welsh-made 1920 Powell 3hp No. 20355 which cost £14 new and raised £550.

Perhaps the most interesting engine was the 1910 Kewanee 2.5hp 18A single-cylinder which was used for pumping water in the Adirondack Mountains in upper New York State, USA. In unrestored-style condition it featured some frost damage and was yours at £2,400. It was followed by a 1922 Ruston & Hornsby 2.5hp IMP with Lincoln Imp insignia which raised some £650. The PB 2.5hp from the same maker, No. 207823, raised £180. Lastly the Petter M ‘Cistern Top’ No. 65060, all dismantled but in the process of being restored and painted, went on to make £2,800, the best was clearly left to last!

The ex-Ken Fox Wall of Death 89-key Chanctonbury fair organ played an excellent tune and sold for £6,600.

In the Tom Godsmark automobilia, motor-bikes, cars and petroliana section the superb 1956 Studebaker E-series 4.2 litre V-8 petrol ½-ton truck came up. It carries a three-speed transmission, power steering and a servo fitted on the brakes making this rare-in-the-UK machine ideal for modern road conditions, but not original I suppose. It needing some body work where it was going slightly ‘flaky,’ but with a V5c it sold for £12,200. A lovely 1929 Velocette KSS 348cc with no reserve in excellent patina’d condition raised £12,500, in fact 84 percent of the bikes were sold. The Price’s upper cylinder lubricant cabinet made an astounding £3,000 against a pre-sale estimate of £800-£1,000.   

The fabulous Ken Thomas 1948 Maudslay Mogul Mk II 16ft flatbed, JXL198, No. 40121 that’s so well restored and was driven to the site raised just £9,500 and did not change hands. Similarly, the previous lot, the extremely rare 72-year-old 1952 Maudslay-badged Majestic twin-steer 6-wheeler, 325YUD, No. 36001 from the same stable, went to £17,500 but it wasn’t enough to see it change hands; it must have cost over £50,000 to restore.

The 1928 James V-twin 498cc sold for £7,000 and was part of the 84% of the motor-cycles sold on Saturday 20 April at Cheffins.

We moved onto the 1953 AEC Mandator, ASL472, No. 3472857, an artic unit that was new to the Ministry of Supply then moving to the UK Atomic Energy Authority. It’s been rallied in East Anglia in its yellow and white livery for some time under the T V & J Jeffery name. In older restored condition it sold for £7,000 online.

It was followed by the 1975 Leyland Lynx flatbed, HDO311N, No. 7501220 in the green livery of John A Rains, Moulton Marsh, Spalding, Lincolnshire. It was in excellent restored condition, better than the Mandator from what one saw, and sold for £4,500. The buyer has certainly got an excellent commercial and recommissioning will be a relatively easy thing by the looks of it, congratulations to the new owners.

Three-roller ex-RAF Roadless Full Track sold for £13,000 in older restoration style.

Next was the good looking ‘organmouth’ 1968 Dodge 500 K-series, LDX681G, No. 35276. The vendor’s deceased husband had restored the lorry back to its original Pauls of Ipswich livery in 2009 and it was popular on the show circuit with its Perkins 6354 6-cylinder engine. The lot included an up-to-date V5c and sold for £5,000. It’s ready to rally by the looks of it, but both this and the Lynx will need MOTs.

The 1996 Seddon Atkinson Strato 6 x 4 artic unit in its later blue and white livery, PNZ6173, No. 93819 looked just like a yard shunter. It had been supplied new to RAF Wittering during the Gulf War and was disposed by the MoD in 2011 with 503,000km on the clock. This rare machine carries the Cummins 14 litre engine with double-drive and cross differential lock and PTO pumping gear. It holds a valid MoT until August 2024 and went on to sell for £11,000.

‘Little and large.’ The Muir-Hill didn’t get away, but the 1930 Trackson made in Milwaukee, which came from Canada, sold for £7,500 in running condition.

We have only just skimmed the surface on what was sold here with 84% of the motor-cycles having sold as well. All in all the preservation vehicle movement is holding up very well indeed, but the demographics are certainly changing and in certain areas the older lots are not making it anymore, however there are exceptions of course.

This report comes from the latest issue of Old Glory, and you can get a money-saving subscription to this magazine simply by clicking HERE


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