Wilsons are to sell a collection of rare vintage tractors by online auction starting on the Friday, March 25.

Topping the bill is a Whiting Bull from 2016. Of these, it is believed that around 12 were imported into Ireland in or around 1918 and this may well be one of the survivors.

Rare example

These machines were powered by a two-cylinder horizontal engine that produced 20hp and drove the single, large drive wheel on the right-hand side.

The other two wheels were there to keep the machine upright, the left hand wheel being adjustable in height to keep the tractor level when ploughing in the furrow.

Another machine of rarity is a Lister powered motor-plough that appears to have been adapted for haulage work.

Motor ploughs were a popular idea from 1910 onwards as they were seen as a direct swap of the horse by an engine. Adaptions were common and this appears to have a steering axle mounted on to an extension bolted to the front of the machine.

Rare lister tractor Dursley
A motor plough conversion although it’s new purpose remains unknown

The engine is by Listers of Dursley, Gloucestershire, and the transmission casting states that it was manufactured for Wyles Motor Ploughs by the same company.

This makes it a rather interesting example as its inventor, Albert Wyles, had originally entered into partnership with John Fowler of Leeds, who are generally recognised as the manufacturers of his ploughs.

Switch in production

By 1917 production had transferred to Listers, a good deal closer to Albert’s home Village of Badsey in the vale of Evesham, where he was originally a market gardener.

Unfortunately, the company’s luck, and money, ran out in 1922 and it was wound up in the summer of that year.

Other tractors on offer include and Oliver standard and John Deere `Model B’ featuring the impressive art deco styling of Henry Dreyfuss.

The rubber wheeled versions of the Model B were provided with six gears while those produced in wartime, with steel wheels, had just four to limit the top speed.

There are also a pair of Allis Chalmer tractors in need of total restoration; these are also known as ‘Model B’s’ although completely unrelated to the Deere machines.

No sale of older tractors is complete without a grey Ferguson of some sort and there are two on offer here, both requiring total rebuilds.

The older is a Ford Ferguson, either a 9N or a 2N. The Ford badge is still present but the Ferguson logo has been lost at some point, somewhat ominous of the great split between Henry and Harry themselves.

Machine tools

In addition to the tractors there is a small range of implements and other agricultural items although the greater part of the lots are workshop and machine tools.

Machine tools engineering lathes
A range of professional machine tools is available for serious minded metalworkers.

These include lathes, drill presses, vertical mills, grinders and so on. There are a few 240V items that could be be run in a smaller workshop but the majority are professional engineering tools capable of major repairs and fabrication.

However, there is also a smattering of workbenches, storage racks and bench grinders which are quite suitable for the less ambitious farm workshop.

The online auction runs over three days from Friday, March 25. All Items are on site at Garvagh, Co. Derry/Londonderry, and viewing is via appointment through Wilsons Belfast office.