Towing and tractor duties


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23 April 2024
Not a Chelsea Tractor in sight... : credit: © Trevor Cuthbert
Trevor’s tractor collection may have been overtaken by Land Rovers, but he still manages to be seduced from time to time…

I bought my first Land Rover for two main reasons. I wanted to join the Northern Ireland Land Rover Club (NILRC) to have some fun with off-road driving and to participate in events. The second reason was because of my interest in classic farm tractors and the associated need for towing a heavy trailer. It was towing needs that tipped the decision to buy a Land Rover, following a particularly bad day on the road.

I had purchased a David Brown 880 tractor in County Tyrone and naively embarked on towing it home with a Saab 900 and a rickety trailer that I had borrowed from my uncle. The bad part of the day started when I had driven the overloaded Saab/trailer combination less than 15 miles, when one of the tyres blew on the trailer. This was followed by a very stern warning from a police officer (remarkably he did not fine me or put a prohibition on my rig), a costly bill from a tyre shop (for two new tyres) and finally a hairy moment when the brake-less trailer pushed me into a very busy roundabout.

When I got home and recovered from the stressful day, I made two vows. One was to get myself a quality trailer with good tyres, lights and brakes. The second was never to tow a load over the rated capacity of the towing vehicle. To this day I don’t understand why that police officer did not throw the book at me – different times, I suppose…

To fulfil the second vow, I bought my first Land Rover – a Defender 90 300Tdi hard top (although I had a brief three week dalliance with a 19J Ninety pick-up).

I know of many, many Land Rover enthusiasts who are also interested and involved with vintage or classic tractors. When one is involved with buying and selling tractors, the excellent towing capacity and capability of the Defender is invaluable. In those early days my collection had reached no less than nine functioning tractors. However, as my interest and love of Land Rovers grew, I became less interested in the tractors. Consequently, the collection of nine tractors reduced down to one (a Massey Ferguson 35), while the Land Rover related stuff around me increased.

A Massey Ferguson 135 needs a decent tow car and a good trailer: Trevor has both

A couple of years ago, my friend Matt and I travelled to Kells in County Antrim with trailers in tow, to collect a pair of Massey Ferguson 135 tractors from the same seller; Matt in his Discovery 2 Td5 and me in my Defender 90 Td5. It was an exciting, fun memorable day that two other generations of Matt’s family were involved in as well – his dad and his two young sons.

Matt’s 135 was already in great condition and was put straight to work at his forestry-related smallholding, near home. My 135 was mechanically excellent, with a rebuilt engine, brakes and hydraulics. It has since had a cosmetic makeover and a new cab fitted. I use it predominantly to transport new Defender chassis’ from my storage barn to my workshop and to tow the old chassis and scrap metal to be weighed in.

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As the New Year came in, my Defender 90 was once again called into action for some towing duties. The first was for a Series III 109 recovery, from a busy shopping centre – not easy with a fairly wide low-loader. The second was to collect a Defender 110 from its owner, to bring to my workshop for a new chassis.

Trevor didn’t set out to buy this nicely restored Massey Ferguson 35, it just sort of happened…

The third job for my Defender in as many days, was to collect another Massey Ferguson 35. I had intended to buy a cheap, rough one to fit a front-end loader to, for lifting duties around my Land Rover work. However, I came across a very nicely restored MF35 and couldn’t resist it – the price was right, unlike a lot of the vastly overpriced tractors on the market.

The tractor collection will never return to those heights of the early years – I am too busy working with Land Rovers for that! But I’m pleased with the ones that I have got and I can tow them safely and legally to whichever shows or events that I fancy. This is thanks to a very capable tow car in my Defender 90 and a decent trailer that keeps me on the right side of the law.


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