Introduction (Inside Cover)
No one can dispute that one of the leaders in traction and 'big' tractors of years gone by was County Commercial Cars Ltd, formed in 1929. The small manufacturing firm was set-up by two brothers, Ernest and Percy Tapp, who joined engineering talent with a business mind to form a striving company. Concentrating its early work on vehicles for the transportation of goods and military vehicles, post-war development saw the company look towards agricultural machines such as tracked crawlers.
One of the first developments in this field was known as the County Full-Track - a lightweight machine based on the Fordson E27N Major. This lead to a new direction and the company turned its attentions to agricultural and industrial machines.
Crawler production made way for tractors such as the famous 'Super-4' models of the 1960s, based on the Fordson Super Major; drive to the front axle was taken by twin propeller shafts from the rear axle of which the company is now famously recognised for.
A six-cylinder 'Super-6' soon followed and County continued to update its range on Ford's latest skid units. Export demand increased dramatically as did horsepower requirements and the company expanded rapidly to employ 475 people and cover a 10-acre site by the late Seventies.
On a high, the company launched its biggest tractor yet, the flagship 1884 based on Ford's 188hp TW-30. Although the tractor created much interest, County began to struggle in the recession and found it couldn't compete in the competitive export markets and sales dropped by almost half.
With Ford's decision to launch four-wheel drive models and horrendous bank rates, it was the final nail in the coffin and the company went into receivership in early 1983.
All was not lost however and the company continued under the instruction of David Gittins, a County dealer in Shropshire and later as the Benson Group that built a number of tractors in the early 1990s but struggled to find suitable cabs to meet the UK legislations.
The last tractors included the famous 'Ford 40 Series' based machines for the Falklands in 1995 and sadly no further machines were built.
Today the marque has a considerable following as Ford and Ford conversions are still at an all-time high on the enthusiasts' scene.
The County name now remains in the hands of Mark Osborne of Romsey in Hampshire who still provides parts and service back-up for tractors under-going renovation and not forgetting the many machines still working in both the United Kingdom and the rest of the world.