1961 Doe Triple-D under the hammer: How did it fare?

This 1961 Doe Triple-D (pictured above) – otherwise known as a ‘tandem tractor’ – went up for auction this month, where it was expected to make £60,000-£70,000 (€68,000-€79,000).

It was part of tractor enthusiast Paul Cable’s 38-strong collection; all 38 tractors were sold (as individual lots) to the highest bidders on May 12.

Alas, it didn’t make quite as much as had been hoped. On the day, it fetched £42,000 (no VAT) plus 5% buyer’s commission.

While not living up to the auctioneer’s expectations it is, nonetheless, a significant sum of money for a classic/vintage tractor of any description.

For the record, this Triple-D’s serial number is 161. The front engine’s number is 1585153; the rear engine’s number is 3038721.

What Is A Triple-D?

The ‘tandem tractor’ developed by Ernest Doe & Sons of Ulting in Essex (England) is probably the most famous of all the Fordson conversions. The design, which was the brainchild of local farmer, George Pryor, first appeared as the Doe Dual Power in 1958.

The concept entailed linking and articulating two Fordson Power Major tractors via a turntable, with steering achieved by pairs of hydraulic rams.

Following improvements, the machine was re-launched a year later as the Doe Dual Drive or ‘Triple-D’ for short. The adoption of Super Major skid-units in 1960 coincided with a further revamp to improve the layout and synchronisation of the controls.

Although it appeared ungainly, the Doe Triple-D was regarded as a very potent machine; the two engines combined to deliver more than 100hp.

Shipments were made to Europe, Scandinavia, Israel, North and South America, Africa and even Russia.

One of the first Triple-Ds to enter preservation, this machine (at the auction on May 12) had a succession of illustrious former owners, including John Moffitt (Hunday Collection), Tom Lowther (who restored the tractor in the 1980s), Stuart Gibbard and Bill Woods.

While in Stuart’s ownership, it became the inspiration for his book – Ford Tractor Conversions – in which it features. Finished in Doe’s own colour scheme, the tractor was supplied new by Ernest Doe & Sons to a farmer in Essex on February 27, 1961.

The front radiator guard is believed to have been fitted from new. The Doe was purchased by Paul Cable in 1990.

It was described as “running and driving well”.