Introduction (Inside cover)
Compiling a book about tractors is no easy task, as I am sure you can imagine. At Tractor & Machinery though, we come into contact with notable machines every day - which does make things a little easier.
The magazine is well-known for its coverage of agricultural machinery from 1940 to 1980, and so we decided that it would be a good idea to highlight 50 possible landmark machines that were available to farmers and contractors during that period.
This inevitably means that some of the tractors included will have been introduced in the 1930s, but were nevertheless on sale at dealerships in 1940. You may be wondering just what makes a good tractor and what merits its inclusion in this book? Naturally, sales volume isn't always an accurate indicator - although demand for a great tractor will invariably mean that vast numbers are built. On the other hand, a tractor may have been produced in large numbers - but poor build quality and basic design flaws may have meant that it would gain a reputation as something of a white elephant.
Generally, a tractor or crawler makes it into the book for a combined 'score' of its cost, features, reliability and performance, but some will inevitably make the cut perhaps on just one or two of these points. For example, the mass-produced Massey Ferguson 135 was competitively priced with a brilliant three-cylinder engine and an excellent hydraulic system, while the Marshall MP6 gained its reputation for being an excellent lugging tractor thanks to the brute force of its Leyland engine.
Throughout the book we have provided a description of what makes each machine a worthy entry, along with basic specifications - to give you the opportunity to see how one tractor stacks up against another.
There will, of course, be machines absent from these pages, as well as some featured here that raise a few eyebrows - particularly for those of you that are loyal to a specific brand. But that will just serve to fuel the debate that rages at rallies and working days across the land!