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TAS Country : April 21st 2011
18 Tasmanian Country Friday, April 22, 2011 The Tractor Tragic ROBUST: A well executed air-cooled conversion that runs a four-cylinder Deutz diesel capable of developing 80 horsepower fitted into an F3M-317 tractor. A touch of EFFICIENT: The big Deutz tractors were well-equipped to handle Australian conditions with suitably large oil bath air cleaners with pre-cleaner intakes COMPLEX: The pre-war Deutz F3M-317 three-cylinder tractors imported to Australia all appear to have used compressed air start charging into cylinders one and three by a timing mechanism. IMPROVISATION: The fuel injection pump on the right-hand side of the engine shows the home-made governor box. TRAGIC Tractor Glenn Shaw THE driver of a big Deutz F3M-317 was well-protected with wide rear fenders that were filled in right around to the fuel tank support bulkhead. Polished wooden capping around the forward inner edges of the fenders also added a touch of class. The platform was roomy and a decent level of comfort was afforded by a sprung steel pan seat that incorporated a back rest (although some models were fitted with a well upholstered bench type seat). Steering was rather heavy regardless of whether or not steel or rubber tyres were fitted, especially at low speeds although handling was good; particularly if the optional sprung front axle was fitted to absorb the shocks when working rough and undulating ground. A sprung front axle was always a standard fitment on road express tractors that could be had with either a full cabin or a canopy for added driver protection. Instrumentation was fairly sparse, especially in non-electric equipment farm models which generally provided an oil pressure gauge in the bulkhead and an air pressure for the compressed air starting reserve tank. Specify electrics and you would be provided with an amps gauge to monitor the charging rate from the generator but generally a heat gauge was not seen as an essential piece of equipment. The big Deutz was just the machine the Australian wheat fields were calling out for, high horsepower from an easy starting full diesel engine that promised great fuel economy and a drawbar capacity to handle the biggest trailed implements the farmer could couple behind it. By 1938 an importer trading as Deutz Diesel Australia Pty Ltd had been set up at 422 Collins Street, Melbourne, and would supply dealers in each mainland state, these being the following: Melbourne --- Stokoe Motors Sydney --- Deutz Diesel Australia Pty Ltd Brisbane --- Deutz Diesel Limited Adelaide --- Parsons and Robertson Perth --- Leyland Vehicles The first shipment of Deutz diesel tractors imported appears to have been made up of 28 horsepower F2M- 315 two cylinder and 50 horsepower F3M-317 three cylinder models, possibly following a Government directive to import larger tractors to better cater for an increase in acreage under plantation. Deutz were not the only diesel powered tractor maker to enter the Australian market at this time, Demco Machinery had been appointed agents for the excellent Hanomag range of tractors which were re-badged as ''Demco Diesel''. With two excellent German diesels hitting the market, the farmer had some serious thinking to do as to which tractor best suited his needs. Availability would have certainly been a deciding factor and the first shipment of Deutz tractors appear to have sold out fairly quickly, something that would have no doubt pleased the importer greatly and given the impression that they were onto a very profitable agency. Had circumstances been different that would have well been the case but with the world plunged headfirst into World War II in 1939, ties with the manufacturing country were cut. The one shipment from 1938 that was so well received by the importer and dealers would be the only one they distributed. As soon as the 1939 shipment of Deutz tractors landed they were seized by the government due to being German in origin, this shipment not only consisted of the two and three-cylinder models previously imported, but also the little 11 horsepower F1M-414 single cylinder that had been in production since 1936 and proving very popular on smaller European farms. After the push for larger tractors in the first shipment it seems odd that the importer decided to include the smallest model in the range as well in the second shipment; truth be known it is more than possible that it was suspected the German Nazi party was close to causing international unrest. That being the case, it was going to be impossible to obtain tractors under any circumstances so they took all they could get hold of at the time. By 1942 it was apparent that the war was not going to be over quickly and things were looking bleak. Having a stockpile of new tractors under wraps by the government, doing nothing when they could be out in the fields, made little sense and the decision was made to allocate them to primary producers with contracts for food production. It was under these conditions that many Tasmanians got their first look
April 14th 2011
April 28th 2011