The tractor collector hobby in North America has slacked off a bit in the past few years, which is clear from the now lower prices for the common models that made up the bulk of most collections. It’s likely that can be attributed to demographics. An older generation that is gradually shrinking kicked off the trend, collecting models those individuals remember actually using in the field — or having seen a father or grandfather use.
But as the hobby evolves, the really rare models are still demanding a premium, and nowhere is that more true than in the UK, where the tractor collector hobby is still going strong, arguably it’s bigger there than here.
In a recent article in Classic Tractor magazine, Sandy Cox has tracked down what many might consider a holy grail of rare tractors. Cox found a very rare County 1884 equal-wheeled conversion tractor.
The 1884 County was based on a Ford TW-30 platform, and later the TW-35. County Cars of England was engaged in converting two-wheel drive tractors from major manufacturers, especially Ford, during the 70s and 80s, to four-wheel drive to meet demand in that country. The major brands weren’t really building MFWD tractors at that time. And with the often-wet conditions British farmers face, four-wheel drive is a major advantage.
The 1884 that is the focus of Cox’s report has just over 3,800 hours on the tach and is in prime condition. Only 24 remaining models are known to still exist on this low-production conversion model. It went on the block on October 19, 2019, at Sutton Cambridgeshire in England and the demand from bidders was expected to be extremely strong.