Back to the future

Published: 03:26PM Nov 8th, 2011
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When this previously exported Ford 2000 Dexta came back to its country of origin it took a whole load of imports to finish the restoration.

Back to the future

Bob Griggs’s Ford 2000 petrol model

At first glance you might think this tractor is a normal Pre Force 2000 Dexta but on closer inspection you soon discover that this is a petrol model – the giveaway being at the driver’s right-hand side as it sports a distributor and a Holley carburettor.

Owner Bob Griggs says: “I am always on the look out for a tractor that’s a little different; this one was purchased in early July 2010, once again from eBay.”

Ford petrol tractors were mainly made for export and were built at the Ford plant in Basildon, Essex; tractor production was moved here from Dagenham in 1964 as the Fordson era tractors finished. Bob believes that the petrol option was available on the 2000, 3000 and 4000 tractor range up until the early 1970s. Bob’s tractor was exported to Denmark where petrol tractors were very popular at that time.

After a lifetime of hard work the vehicle was returned back to the UK to an import/export yard in Leicester from where Bob collected it. On arrival at the yard he was shown some very interesting tractors (two petrol MF 135s, a Fordson Dexta petrol model and a high clearance MF 65 diesel), all very tempting but his treasure awaited at the rear of the yard – a 1965 Ford Pre Force 2000 petrol model.

On a precursory glance of his purchase Bob was delighted to see that it still had its Danish dealer’s badge attached (As bech Hansen & Co, Hobro, Denmark), as it’s always nice to have some history when undertaking a restoration project. The vendor warned Bob that the tractor could at times be hard to start.

Bob discovered this later, once he got his pride and joy home, but not this time. “A flick of the key, and it was away on the trailer, money changed hands and it was time to head back home,” said Bob.

Once in the workshop it didn’t take long for the starting problems to rear their ugly head; the first plan of action was to get the tractor to start and run reliably so the tractor could be moved about.

Parts for the three cylinder petrol engine were ordered through a local New Holland/Ford dealer sourcing parts from as far afield as Spain, Mexico and the US.

After a new petrol pump, distributor cap, rotor arm, points and sparking plugs had been fitted there was still no difference. Bob then turned his attentions to the Holley carburettor, which he discovered was very badly worn, after a huge gulp of air he ‘bit the bullet’ and ordered a new one direct from the US. A local vehicle electrical expert supposedly sorted the starter motor for Bob.

With all things running fine, and winter approaching, Bob started to strip the tinwork from the tractor; the only salvageable piece from the rusty heap was the bonnet, which has the hole in the side for access to the paper element air cleaner.

With the purchase of new wheels and tyres, seat, brakes, lights and myriad small but vital parts the tractor came together and the new tinwork received some paint.

By December 27, 2010 Bob had the tractor up and running, now registered with an age related plate, just in time for the road run that Bob has organised for the last three years after Christmas. This was the tractor’s debut, and all that remained to do was the preparation and painting of the chassis but that could wait until the warmer weather in the spring.

Cloud of smoke

At the top of the article I mentioned that a new starter motor was needed for the project.

The one that was supposedly fixed early on in the restoration decided to envelop itself in a cloud of smoke and then failed to show any signs of life just as the rally season was getting under way. Bob tried in vain to get the motor fixed again but this time it was terminal and had no other option but to go shopping in the US again.

However, Bob said all-in-all the price wasn’t too devastating with the basic price cheaper than starter motors this side of the pond, and with carriage and import duty added on, the final price was not far from what you would pay over here.

Bob would like to thank in particular Malcolm Hipperson Tractor Parts and everyone that has helped along the way with this restoration; what’s next Bob?

1 Response to “Back to the future”

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