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TAS Country : December 9th 2010
22 Tasmanian Country Friday, December 10, 2010 TRACTOR TRAGIC THRUM: The Ford Blitz truck about to pay out its winch cable. The old side valve V8 engine still sounded great from its straight out exhaust pipes. SQUARE: Ford Blitz army trucks, known as a Canadian Military Pattern'', used simple flat stamped panels for the cab to simplify production. BASIC: inside the cab of the Blitz --- hand brake, winch lever and gear lever along with the side valve V8 engine and the 20 litre drum of fuel. TRAGIC Tractor Glenn Shaw LOCAL: The Geelong built AW-6 was a valuable source of parts. Ancient TextBox1 IT'S funny how as a collector you can spend ages looking for something in particular while other times things just tend to fall into your lap. While one tractor that brings back memories of youth may satisfy a few, a diehard collector knows that there is no hope of ever stopping at one example. With my father being a tractor mechanic there was no shortage of tractors around our place to fascinate me when I was growing up. Two old 1940s McCormick Deering Internationals, a W-6 and a W-9, in the bottom shed were still used for contract work and both would leave a lasting impression on me. By the early 1970s these tractors should have been well and truly outdated for contracting, especially with kerosene fuel getting harder to obtain but there were still conditions where these tractors could not be beaten by a modern machine even if they might have been a bit slower covering the ground. Certainly there were times where the big old W-9 on its 32 inch rear tyres was able to work where a Fiat on 30 inch rear tyres was hopelessly bogged down. The W-9 had also been fitted with engine functioned live hydraulics to increase its usefulness and I can remember one occasion when it blew a hydraulic line out covering grandfather with hot oil --- he was pushing the clutch in vain trying to stop it pumping oil having forgotten they were the live type that continued to work while the engine was running. My grandfather was always a McCormick Deering man, if it wasn't red he probably wouldn't look at it. He had owned a number of W-6 McCormick tractors since he had obtained his first example after World War 2. He had purchased a McCormick W-30 new in 1938 which had been his main contracting machine but had sold it upon hearing that the W-6 that had been long on order had turned up at the dealers: unfortunately for him, there was someone with more influence and money also waiting for a W-6 and they managed to jump the queue and took delivery of his tractor. With a sawmill to run as well as contract work to perform he had to resign himself to taking the first new tractor that was available and to his dismay this was a Fordson E27N Major that didn't even have foot operated turning brakes --- he had to pay extra to have them fitted. The Fordson didn't exactly accredit itself well when the first day on the job the flimsy pressed steel drawbar was torn off when trying to skid the first log into the mill. In the end he would drape a big heavy coat over the radiator and literally run the Fordson at boiling point which was the only way he reckoned you could get that engine to work properly. He persisted with the Fordson only until the McCormick W-6 he had been waiting for had arrived. The example that I remember in the shed with the W-9 would probably have been the third that he owned, without exception these were all built
December 2nd 2010
December 16th 2010