I have a soft spot for Ford tractors in part because many years ago I was able to co-write a chapter for one of Motorbooks publications with the wonderful Palmer Fossum. He was a busy guy. So, I would call him around 9:30 at night to get the information. He was the man with the knowledge, I just got to transcribe his words into print! It was an honor I will always remember. Those long conversations has enamored me with some of the fine workmanship that has went into these Ford beauties. When Motorbooks’ Complete Book Series sent me The Complete Book of Classic Ford Tractors Every Model 1917-1996 for review, I was excited.
The book is written by tractor historian Robert Pripps and Andrew Moreland. There are over 350 pages of illustrations to ooh and ah over. The book provides a detailed and complete account of Ford tractors, from the earliest Fordsons to the Ford-Fergusons, the Ford N Series, and the Ford “World” tractors manufactured into the 1970s.
Personal aspects of Ford’s life
What I like is some of the personal insight in the book. Henry’s father deeded him 80 acres of woodland.. Pripps writes, “William deviously scheming ways to get Henry back from Detroit and interested in the farm…”
Another fun instance is when developing his first four-cycle engine. Pripp writes, “Henry’s later comments on the event indicated that more than being excited about the running of his first engine, he was amazed at the good fortune of having a wife, who on Christmas Eve, with her parents expected for a visit the next day, would drop everything…”
Throughout the book are examples not only of Ford’s mechanical genius, but also his somewhat ruthless business acumen. He did whatever it took to get ahead, cut prices below what others could afford etc. to make his tractor the one available and affordable. The deal with Harry Ferguson was another stroke of genius that revolutionized the farming industry, besides the entire assembly line method of work!
Chapter by the late Harold Brock
I was excited to see a Chapter about the development of the Ford-Ferguson 9N tractor by the late Harold Brock. I had the pleasure of meeting this amazing man that worked for Ford and was in charge of this project. (He would later work for Deere).
Bedtime or travel reading
The Complete Book of Classic Ford Tractors is a great book to read before bed, or do like I do and take a book for reading while on the road!
The reasons to like this book go on and on. Photos of the amazing experimental tractors alone are a good reason to buy to book. If you enjoy Ford tractors this is one that should be on your shelf!
I find that tractors can be enjoyed anytime, anywhere. Tractors can be found in unexpected places. If you enjoyed this article, check out my story about Tractors and Mardi Gras!