Ride On Machines

March 25, 2013 in Machinery


There are many ride-on machines and garden tractors available such as this Trusty Steed dating from around 1950

Popular with collectors, enthusiast and exhibiters are ride-on machines. The most common are the garden tractor or ride-on mower types but there are many others too such as tracked crawlers like the Bristol, the three wheeled Gunsmith and the Opperman Motocart.

Whether you are collecting a machine for preservation, restoring & showing or to use on the horticultural plot there are machines ranging from the 1920’s through to the 1990s.

Some of the more common garden tractors of the ride-on mower types which tend to date from the late 1970’s onwards are Atco, Westwood, Roper and Mountfield to name just a few. Many of these lower-spec machines were aimed at the weekend gardener with a large lawn to mow and occassional trailer work. These entry-level tractors often had ‘bigger brothers’ with more power and capabilities.

More robust garden tractors capable of serious work such as pulling a plough on an allotment, powering a rotavator and snow clearing work include well-known brands like the American Wheel Horse tractor range (1950’s -90’s) and the 1960’s UK Martin-Markham garden tractors. These tractors and others which are suitable for ploughing are also great for horticultural ploughing events which VHGMC members can take part in at various locations.

Ransomes Crawler & Bolens Ride-a-matic

Ransomes crawler and Bolens Ride-a-matic working the ground at a ploughing event

Through the decades demand and innovation has created many diverse machines tailored for specific jobs. Machines such as the David Brown 2D (1955-61) that can be used with numerous implements like cultivator tines, a row thinner and a reversible plough – an ideal machine for crop and open field work. Another machine is the 1950’s Scottish designed Rollo Croftmaster, created for working on Scottish small holdings up to 10 acres in size, this is a compact yet substantial four-wheeled tractor.

Bonser truck

Bonser truck from the 1960’s. In excellent restored condition at a show.

Out of the field and into the yard, still classified by the VHGMC as ride-on machines there are a varied range of trucks available. Some with timber bodied rear loading areas and some with tipping bodies too. The three-wheeled Wrigley motor truck (1930’s onwards) and the Bonser truck are two well known makes and always make a good exhibit at a show.

Popular with the tracked crawler users are the Ransomes MG2 and the later MG5. These can often be seen at shows and ploughing events. Also in the ride-on-machines category are the Bristol tracked crawlers.

Many enthusiast tend to collect one or two makes of specific machines and as well as the machines themselves they will collect literature, original brochures and price lists for their specific machines. This makes a collector a very valuable source of knowledge and very helpful advice.

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