Newby Hall date for tractor saved from post duty

The Ford Model T tractor restored by vintage machinery enthusiast Kevin Watson.
The Ford Model T tractor restored by vintage machinery enthusiast Kevin Watson.
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A 95-year-old Ford Model T tractor previously used as a farm postbox and the only Model T Speedster in the UK are joining the line up of vintage machines at North Yorkshire’s forthcoming Tractor Fest event.

The weekend-long event on June 10-11 is the UK’s largest outdoor vintage engine and tractor festival and will be held at Newby Hall near Ripon.

This year’s incarnation of the popular show celebrates the centenary of the Ford marque and the legacy of Henry Ford.

Kevin Watson from Bishop Auckland, County Durham, has been a vintage tractor enthusiast since he was a child and will be exhibiting his Model T Tractor dating from 1922 at Tractor Fest.

“Restoring vehicles is a passion of mine and I’ve restored 20-30 over the years,” Mr Watson said.

“However, owning and restoring a Ford Model T has been a long-held dream, so I was delighted when a friend working in the States discovered one being used as a letter box in the mid-western American state of Minnesota.

“Knowing my interest, he approached the owner about rescuing the tractor from this ignominy and negotiated a deal on my behalf. I then shipped the car to the UK.”

The tractor was in a thoroughly dilapidated state needing total refurbishment. Mr Watson spent six years restoring it to its former glory, replacing everything from the engine and transmission to the interior which he painstakingly handcrafted.

Meanwhile, Mike Kendall of Newport near Howden will showcase his immaculate grey and brass 1912 Ford Model T Rajo Speedster. Mr Kendall recently acquired the car from Germany and it is believed to be the only one of its kind in the UK.

The Speedster was one of many custom builds offered in 1913 by independent manufacturers to give drivers a less expensive option to the popular but expensive Stutz Bearcat and Mercer Raceabout.

Built as a roadster in 1912 before being upgraded to a Speedster for dirt racing in 1918, the car is believed to have taken part in the 1921 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.

For full details on Tractor Fest, see www.newbyhall.com/events/tractor-fest-2017