Celebrating 50 years of the iconic Massey Ferguson 1200
The 50th anniversary of the Massey Ferguson 1200 is one of the important milestones that will be celebrated at this year’s Newark Vintage Tractor and Heritage Show.
This year’s event is shaping up to be one of the largest gatherings of vintage tractors, engines, machinery, commercial and military vehicles in the UK.
The MF 1200 was the first articulated four-wheel tractor to be manufactured in Britain.
These icons of their time will be exhibited at the Newark Vintage Tractor and Heritage Show from 5-6 November, with one long-time collector sharing his passion for this more unusual tractor that came into his procession some 20 years ago.
“I like to see and show my tractors in what I call their working clothes,” said 79-year-old Peter Tack, who keeps himself busy between his haulage company and his collection in Crowland, Peterborough.
“Everyone has their own preferences; I like something different, that you might not see many of, and I choose to keep them how they look after a working life.
He continued: “I was looking for a bigger four-wheeled tractor through a dealer.
“They didn’t have exactly what I was looking for, however, they asked if I would be interested in seeing a Massey Ferguson 1200.
“They didn’t have much idea on its history – but liking something a bit different, I agreed to take a look. We went to the farm where it was and walked across grassy fields, at the top of which were two trees with a thicket of blackberry brambles and stinging nettles – it was in there – so we got to work.”
Not expecting much life from the long-abandoned machine, Mr Tack hooked up a 12v battery and to his delight – and surprise – the engine came to life.
“I didn’t keep it running for very long for being concerned with damaging it. I got a lorry and brought it home.”
Today, Mr Tack enjoys sharing his classic tractor collection with fellow enthusiasts and the general public at events like the Newark Vintage Tractor and Heritage Show – where this year there will be a static display.
“Be it on display or in the ring, I like to have something behind it,” he stated.
“I often have a spring-tined heavy-duty cultivator behind my MF 1200 – I think it better shows the machine’s history and purpose.”
The MF enthusiast believes the needs of farmers were considered in the tractor’s design.
“The aim of it was to provide farmers with much more grip and manoeuvrability for heavier work – but there was a lot in its design to also alleviate soil compaction.
“When cultivating, other tractors were working with one wheel in the furrow and one wheel on top. The MF 1200 kept the wheels out of the furrow, which was a great benefit.
“It’s a balanced machine with roughly 65 per cent and 35 per cent of its weight on the front and back, respectively. It was a clever consideration; when you put an implement on the back it balances out very closely to 50:50.
“All in all, it has huge significance to British farming and engineering,” he added.