'Old Abe', the Case Tractors American eagle emblem.

On Friday 15th September, we visited a family collection of vehicles and engines. The event was organised by Noel Cochrane as our now traditional ‘thank you’ to landowners, marshals and other people who have let us in the MG Club make use of their property to run events throughout the past year. As Noel rightly pointed out, we simply cannot run these events without their generous help and we are indebited to them. I should point out that this event was for landowners only and, unfortunately, not for members or friends of the club on this occasion.

We were greeted in the yard by the owner who has been responsible for most of this terrific collection. Outside were a Triumph TR6 and a Riley RME, both in show condition.

We then proceeded inside to a magnificent collection of tractors from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and elsewhere around the globe. Most were beautifully restored to stunning condition. Those yet unrestored are on our host’s ‘to do’ list. Most of the restoration work has been done by the man himself and so his stories were from his first hand experience. He has a quiet passion for farm machinery and, when parts cannot be found, they will be made on his lathe or fabricated using his massive overhead drill. His shed is very much a working environment with thousands of parts and material waiting to be put into commission. John Deere, Lanz, Hanomag, Chamberlain, Case, Massey Ferguson and many other makes of tractor were on display. One tractor had a curious function where the steering wheel could be detached and used to turn over the engine for starting. Others used a large blowlamp to heat a bulb to get the tractor started. We then had demonstrated to us us the starting procedure for a large John Deere machine that used a 2 cylinder petrol ‘pony’ engine to start the larger diesel engine. The large diesel reluctantly fired up throwing large puffs of smoke into the air. Great drama but it demonstrated to me exactly why drivers of such machines tended to leave them ticking over rather than turn them off and have to go through the starting process again. 

We were then shown a further selection of classic cars. These included a couple of MGAs (one a beautiful Twin Cam), an MG TC and two beautiful Rileys, one an alloy bodied special and the other a concours condition Austin Healey 3000. The large straight 6 fired up with ease and ticked over like a Swiss watch.

Finally, we moved to a different shed that contained a large engine that used to be installed to drive a pump at the flood gates in Newtownards. It was quite a treat to see it come to life, spinning its huge flywheel.

It was a magnificent tour and one to remember. We cannot thank our host and the family enough for letting us see this magnificent collection, the work of a lifetime.

To see some photographs of our visit, please click the tab above marked ‘GALLERY’ and find the last file at the bottom entitled ‘Farm Museum Visit 15.9.17’.