The David Brown Tractor Club is finalising preparations to celebrate 60 years of the 880 and 990 David Brown tractors at the Newark Vintage Tractor and Heritage Show on the 13th and 14th of November.
Some of the earliest models will be showcased on the club’s stand, brought to the event by members. There will also be a focus on the Hydroshift gearbox, 50 years after it was introduced, as well as information on founder David Brown.
Club secretary Roger Brereton explained that Mr Brown made a significant contribution to farm machinery development. His involvement began in 1936 when a subsidiary of David Brown and Sons Ltd struck a deal with Harry Ferguson to manufacture the Ferguson Brown tractor – the first production tractor to be equipped with a hydraulic lift and converging three-point linkage.
Around 1,350 Type As were built before Ferguson left to work with Henry Ford, which prompted David Brown to create his own prototype tractor. The Vehicle Agricultural Kerosene 1 (VAK1) was demonstrated at the Royal Show in 1939 and established the brand.
Following a series of range changes and the company introduced its most popular tractor, the 990, in 1961. Dubbed the Implematic, it was offered in the company’s red and yellow livery.
“The crossflow cylinder head, in conjunction with a two-stage front-mounted air cleaner, developed 52hp from the direct injection diesel engine,” Mr Brereton said. The tractor earned a reputation for being able to handle the cultivation kit of the day with ease, and sales grew.
“In the early ’60s a six-speed Implematic would cost £784.14.0d and the 12-speed variant £815.14.0d,” Mr Brereton added.
The launch of the Selectamatic 990 followed in 1965. The livery changed to the orchid white bodywork and poppy red wheels and mechanics that the brand is known for. Selectamatic referred to the hydraulic system and the tractor featured a multi-speed PTO as standard, differential lock and an uprated, 55hp engine.
Its production run lasted until 1971, with smaller runs being produced up to 1980. More than 67,000 990s were built at the Meltham works, making it numerically the most popular tractor the company ever produced.
The 880 was offered alongside the 990 from 1961 as a four-cylinder Implematic, developing 42.5hp from the diesel engine. This was superseded by a three-cylinder engine in 1964, which produced higher torque and better pulling power.
A year later it was upgraded to include the Selectamatic hydraulic system and the new colour scheme. Production ran until 1971 totalling nearly 40,000 machines which were used across the world.
It will also be 50 years since the Hydrashift gear system was introduced on the 1212 tractor in 1971 and was one of the first semi-automatic powershift transmissions in the UK. It featured four clutchless gears in each of the low, medium and high ranges.
“Such was the groundbreaking innovation, descendants of the Hydrashift still keep modern-day tractors working hard on the land,” Mr Brereton said.
David Brown Tractors Ltd was awarded the Queen’s Award to Industry and the Design Council Award for its Hydrashift gearbox.
For more information and for tickets go to www.newarkvintagetractorshow.com