The little tractor that could

Few classic pieces of machinery are more worthy of rescuing from a slow death than the Ferguson tractor - especially one with the work history of this little beast.

Neville Madsen's lovingly restored 1955 Fergie looks an absolute treat, thanks in no small part to the six months of hard yakka that he put in to get it back to its former glory.

Many moons ago, before he picked the old girl up from a friend's farm in Redbank Plains, this particular tractor played a role in the post 1974 flood clean-up in Ipswich.

A few years later, Nev's friend of 40 years, Des Price, bought the Fergie from a property in One Mile, driving it home at the earth-shattering top speed of 15kmh to his property at Redbank Plains, where it would provide reliable service for the next few decades.

Mr Price put the old tractor out to pasture in 2007, when it started showing a few signs of age, and it was replaced with another Fergie.

Showing just how tough these old things are, the tractor stayed out in the weather for the next eight years, slowly rusting away before Nev finally got the itch to salvage it.

"I went to Scotland a few years ago to see my wife's cousin, and the chap next door had an old Fergie," Mr Madsen said.

"Seeing it totally reignited my passion for them - I loved them as a kid.

"I got talking to Des one day about how I was looking for one and Des mentioned the one he had sitting around on his property."

Far from being a lost cause, the old Fergie, despite looking a bit sad, was in surprisingly good nick.

The Massey-Harris-Ferguson TED 20 tractor as it was found. Mr Madsen plans to take the newly refurbished Fergie (above) on the country show circuit.
The Massey-Harris-Ferguson TED 20 tractor as it was found. Mr Madsen plans to take the newly refurbished Fergie (above) on the country show circuit. Contributed

Mr Madsen was able to complete the rebuild using almost all of the original machine, bar the new tyres, some of the ignition parts, the exhaust, the lights, and a generous lick of paint.

Fergie parts are still extremely easy to find, with many enthusiasts keeping suppliers busy.

"When I picked up the radiator the guy in the shop told me it was the third Ferguson tractor radiator they had delivered that week," Mr Madsen said.

Mr Madsen spent many hours rebuilding the tractor in his Collingwood Park garage, taking it from rusted farm wreck to a little rustic charmer that's enough to get any classic machinery lover salivating.

When it turned over first go, it gave Mr Madsen a smile ten miles wide.

"We heard him over in Redbank Plains," Mr Price said of his friend's excitement at firing up the Fergie after the rebuild.

"Now that Nev has got it looking so nice I think I want it back again."

Mr Price might have a hard time convincing his friend to part ways with the old Fergie.

"I spent about $7000 working on it but they've told me you can get about $10,000 for a fully restored one like this," Mr Madsen said.

"To me they are priceless."

Mr Madsen plans to take the Fergie on the country show circuit.

Topics:  ferguson tractor general-seniors-news restoration

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