Henry Ford's first tractor, the Model F, was launched in the USA in 1918 and quickly established itself as a bestseller on both sides of the Atlantic. Although it was superseded by the very similar Model N in 1929, with close to one million examples of the two tractors constructed, it is fair to say that Ford's influence on agriculture was every bit as significant as his contribution to motoring for the masses.
In the USA, the Model N was replaced by the Ford-Ferguson 9N in 1939, but production of the original continued in Britain throughout the war and it wasn't until 1945 that Ford's Dagenham plant launched a replacement for the ageing original, in the form of the all-British Fordson E27N Major. But, with 60 per cent of its parts shared with what had gone before, the E27N was little more than a stopgap and, in 1951 it, too, was replaced, this time by an altogether more modern tractor - the E1A New Major.
Available for the first time with a choice of factory-fitted petrol, diesel or TVO engine, the New Major was designed to exploit the market for tractors that had been created by the need for farm mechanisation in the aftermath of World War Two. The new tractor proved itself versatile, reliable and affordable, and was an immediate success.
In 1958, the original New Major was replaced by the improved Power Major. The Super Major followed in 1960, and the New Performance Super Major in 1963 and, by the time production ended in 1964, a total of almost 490,000 examples had been produced and this hugely capable machine not only helped to mechanise farming across the world, but also provided the basis for Britain's emerging construction plant industry.
This book describes the development of the New Major series, not only setting the tractor into its historical context, but also looking at the importance of the machine to the classic tractor hobby. The book also includes information on finding, restoring and operating a New Major and, whilst few New Majors continue to work for a living, the distinctive blue and orange livery has become as familiar on the rally field today as it once was on the farm - 50 years since the first example was produced.