A fine pair of modern Ford classic tractors!

Posted by Chris Graham on 6th March 2024

Bob Weir meets Jack Francis to talk about his pair of large, modern Ford classic tractors, and what he most likes about them.

modern Ford classic tractors

Modern Ford classic tractors: Jack Francis with his pair of Ford Series 10 tractors.

Nearly 100 tractors turned up to join the fun in the 2023 Shrewsbury Steam Rally’s working field, and there was plenty of horsepower on show. There were also demonstrations of tractor pulling where the souped-up heavyweights went head-to-head with The Challenger sledge. Fortunately, the weather remained fair as the tractors were put through their paces.

Jack Francis’ 1989 Ford 8210 was employed in an important role at the event, ferrying spectators from the main show ring down to the working field. The tractor took everything in its stride, and the proverbial good time was had by all.

Family footsteps
Jack has taken a leaf out of his father’s book, and is a big fan of Ford and Fordson tractors. He also works for the family firm MP Paver Hire & Surfacing Ltd, which is based on the English side of the England/Wales border.

modern Ford classic tractors

The Ford 7910 was only in production for a couple of years, and was a derated version of the 8210.

“We come from a rural background, and my father, David, started the company a few years ago,” Jack explained. “We carry out a full range of Tarmacadam and surfacing services for a variety of customers, from domestic properties and agricultural clients, through to schools, local authorities and commercial businesses.”

Jack has been around tractors since he was a young boy, and grew up with his father’s Fordson Major and Fordson Roadless. “Ironically, given my love for the blue oval, I first learned to drive a tractor on a four-cylinder Massey Ferguson 35,” he recalls. “Even though we’re Ford and Fordson fans, we’ve still got that tractor in the shed!”

modern Ford classic tractors

The 7910’s transmission is operated by Electro Shift/Pulse Command. Steering is provided by hydrostatic power, while the brakes operate on a wet disc system.

Then, once he’d learned to drive, Jack’s interest in farming machinery went from strength to strength. “It became a hobby over the years, and I enjoy taking the tractors to shows and on road runs. The landscape around here is stunning but also very challenging with lots of slopes, and the tractors certainly have their work cut out.”

Heavyweight classics
Jack owns a couple of newer, classic heavyweights of his own and, although his dad initially acquired the tractors, he’s now responsible for their upkeep. “The family bought the 7910 in a sale at nearby Crew Green during the spring of 2011,” he explained. “First registered in 1987, the Ford was very tidy, but quite big for a 10-year-old boy. That said, I really liked it from the off, and it’s been that way ever since.”

modern Ford classic tractors

The Comfort Command Cab was optional with air conditioning on the 7910.

According to David, they had gone to the sale to look for a set of chain harrows. Then the tractor went under the hammer and stole the show. “It’s a local machine, which is nice,” Jack added. “The bidding started at £7,000, and Dad closed the deal at £9,250. Looking back, that was the first time I’d been to an auction, and it was an interesting experience!”

David and Jack know some of the 7910’s history because it was originally sold by Oakleys, the local dealer. “Oakleys are still trading,” said Jack. “In one of those strange coincidences, Martin Shelley, the mechanic at Oakleys who originally gave the 7910 its pre-delivery inspection, is the same man who carried out the tractor’s makeover.”

Jack’s Ford 8210 on taxi duty at the Shrewsbury Steam Fair.

Although both Jack and David like getting their hands dirty and messing around with tools, the demands of their day jobs mean that any refurbishment has to be farmed out to specialists. “We currently use a local firm – Battlefield Machinery – based in Shrewsbury,” Jack said. “When we took the Ford in to get the work carried out, Martin recognised the tractor immediately. It certainly brought back some fond memories.”

According to Jack, Mr Shelley also had an interesting tale to tell. “Martin remembered that the first owner thought it was too expensive to buy the regular Ford-supplied lights on the front of the tractor, so he made his own bracket and used a set of International lights instead! The only things we’ve added over the years are a set of hooks to put on the lift arms and halogen lights.”

Local purchase
By contrast, the Ford 8210 was acquired from a local dealer. “The story goes that the dealer bought that tractor as part of a job lot in Hereford,” Jack explained. “A pair of contractors were selling-up due to retirement, and the machines being offered included a couple of Countys and a TW-35. We were really more interested in the TW-35 but, when we got there, it was the 8210 that really caught the eye. It turned out that the Ford was first registered in January 1989.”

The 8210’s Super Q cab was a big selling point for the model.

Jack can still remember putting the tractor through its paces when they got it home. “The first thing I did was put the tractor on the muck spreader to give it a trial spin,” he recalls. “I started up what I considered to be a steep slope and, much to my surprise, the tractor sailed along in top gear. It was almost as fast as the Ford would have driven on the flat. My immediate thought was ‘this tractor can certainly pull!”

However, there was a bit of a tricky moment when they took the 8210 to Battlefield Machinery. “The mechanics said they could hear some sort of ticking noise in the engine,” he told me. “This was unusual, so they decided to test it on the dyno. Much to their surprise, the Ford registered 175hp, instead of the expected 115hp. Their conclusion was that the previous owner had obviously tweaked the engine a bit, so the mechanics then turned it down and the ticking noise disappeared.”

The 8210’s hydraulics have an SCV flow of 68.9lpm (18.2gpm).

Hydraulics play an important role on Series 10 tractors, and Jack and David have made a couple of changes. “We’ve added hook arms again on both the front and rear linkages to make life easier,” Jack said. “Other than that, the hydraulics are to standard spec.”

Neither of the Fords were bought for show and both are expected to put in a good day’s shift. “Although we’re not full-time farmers, there’s plenty of work that needs doing around the place,” Jack explained. “We use both tractors on the topper, tedder, mower and rake. Because we are Tarmacking most of the year, the work tends to happen during the summer months.”

Jack’s 8210 had had its engine tweaked by a previous owner for more power, but now runs at its standard specification.

Jack admits that both the Fords are a big step up from a Massey Ferguson 35, but he takes it all in his stride. “They’re both great machines to drive, and I enjoy putting them through their paces. We tend to work them in tandem. One will go on the mower, while the other tractor pulls the rake. Both Fords are good at teamwork, and it’s quite relaxing driving them after a busy day on the nine-to-five.”

This feature comes from the latest issue of Ford & Fordson Tractors, and you can get a money-saving subscription to this magazine simply by clicking HERE


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