Introduction (Inside Cover)
Much has been written about Harry Ferguson, his determination to improve efficiency in agriculture and the 'Grey Fergie', the iconic tractor that was the result of many years of hard work and development. Indeed, the first few pages of this book provide an insight into the great man's life and what drove him to create one of, if not the most iconic agricultural machines ever built.
It was, however, not the intention with this book to create the ultimate reference work for Ferguson tractors, but to highlight the sterling work done by enthusiasts aiming to preserve a true legend of British agriculture. The Tractor England 20hp, or TE-20, has always been popular with collectors for many reasons. For some it was the first tractor they drove, for others it was the tractor that grandad had on the farm and, for a good few, it continues to provide a cheap introduction into tractor restoration.
It is, perhaps, inevitable that when the Standard Motor Company produced more than half a million TE-20s it would still be popular sixty years later - but for a tractor to continue to demand such a following is testament to the design and build quality of the little machine. The versatility of the 'Grey Fergie' and its three-point linkage, coupled with the availability of petrol, tractor vaporising oil and diesel engines (among others) gave the sub-30hp Ferguson a fighting chance against rival manufacturer's larger machines - but it's almost certain that Harry Ferguson could never have envisaged the success his tractor would enjoy both at home and abroad.
Having achieved great things with his ground-breaking TE-20, it was obvious that Ferguson would look to build on the success by introducing a new tractor to the world. The FE-35 was an amalgamation of American and British technology with, in simple terms, Herman Klemm's dual-range transmission married to Harry Ricardo's 23C diesel engine.
The striking grey and gold livery was radical compared to the mundane 'battleship' grey of the TE-20, but the styling was still very much Ferguson. It was unfortunate that such a good-looking tractor could gain a bad reputation, largely through being a poor starter, but that is how the tractor is remembered.
Today, most can see past the FE-35's perceived faults and like it for what it is - a useful tractor that looks different to most others of the period. It's a tractor that many people loathe (thanks to its starting characteristics), but one owner that features in this book likes them so much that he owns three!
With enthusiastic clubs committed to preserving Ferguson's heritage, dedicated Ferguson classes at ploughing matches and a wealth of companies keen to offer a comprehensive range of parts for the tractors, it is unlikely that the popularity of the TE-20 and FE-35 will wane. They are relatively cheap to buy, simple to maintain and easy to transport - important factors to consider when buying a tractor.