On Saturday 9th October the UK auction record for a vintage or classic tractor was demolished at Cheffins October Vintage Sale when the iconic and much fancied 1903 Ivel Agricultural Motor sold for £328,600 (hammer price of £310,000 plus buyer’s premium of six per cent).
As Farmers Guardian had reported before the sale, it was touted as the most important tractor ever to come to auction. With a pre-sale estimate of £250,000 the bidding starting at £100k, before swiftly reached its record climax in front of enthusiast from all over the UK, Ireland and Europe.
The gavel came down in favour of a telephone bidder. The Ivel will be remaining in the UK but the buyer wishes to remain anonymous. There are just eight complete examples of the Ivel Agricultural Motor, which was built in Biggleswade, Bedfordshire, known worldwide and four of those are in museum collections.
This particular Ivel, number 131, has tremendous provenance which is detailed in a book published in 2003 written by its previous owner, John Moffitt, a much-respected cattle breeder, agricultural entrepreneur and vintage tractor collector.
The previous record price for a classic or vintage tractor of £94,500 was surpassed a further two times on the day in what was said to be the strongest collection of tractors that the auction house has catalogued in recent years.
The hammer fell at £132,000 (£139,920 with buyer’s premium of six per cent) for a 1982 County 1884, the holy grail for many collectors of classic tractors. Just a handful of the flagship model of the County range were produced, which was launched at the 1980 Smithfield Show, with only 20 thought to be in preservation today.
Based on the Ford TW-30, it used a turbocharged and intercooled version of the 401S engine delivering 188hp.
It was the first of the 'long nose' County tractors and had an extended bonnet housing the oil-cooler and main fuel tank. The tractor was fitted with the 'F-type' flat-deck version of Ford's straddle Q-cab with air conditioning as standard.
In original condition, it sold with 3,833 hours showing on the clock plus full documentation including its original manuals, parts book and sales leaflet.
An 1980 County 1474 brought the hammer down at £94,000 (£99,640 with buyer’s premium of six per cent). The ‘short-nose’ 1474 was originally launched at the 1978 Smithfield Show, using the Ford 9700 skid unit with a 153hp turbocharged version of the 401S engine.
Within a year, as this model show, the 1474 was up-rated to TW-20 specification with a larger flywheel, an oil-cooler and a new twin-entry turbocharger. It was fitted with the ’F-type’ flat-deck version of Ford’s straddle Q-cab. With County Commercial Cars entering receivership in 1983, just 40 of these tractor were thought to have been produced.
The tractor showed 5,967 hours and had been restored to an extremely high standard in 2015.