Farming family sells collection of 100 vintage tractors for £1MILLION

Where there’s muck! Farming family sells collection of 100 vintage tractors for £1MILLION

  • Father and son duo Ian and Martin Liddell began hoarding the tractors on their farm, in Essex, in the 1980s
  • The tractors sparked a bidding war when the Liddells sold them with auctioneers Cheffins, of Cambridge 
  • A 1983 County 1474 sold for £210,000, the second highest price ever paid for a classic tractor

A farming family is celebrating today after their incredible collection of almost 100 vintage tractors sold for a staggering £1million.

Father and son duo Ian and Martin Liddell began hoarding the agricultural vehicles on their arable farm, in Bishop’s Stortford, Essex, in the 1980s.

Their fleet of tractors grew and grew and became so large they had to store it across three barns.

The vehicles would be as tall as the Empire State Building if stood end to end and weigh a combined 700 tons.

The tractors sparked a bidding war when the Liddells sold them with auctioneers Cheffins, of Cambridge, to free up space on their farm.

The most popular lot was a 1983 County 1474 that sold for £210,000, the second highest price paid for a classic tractor. The machine has been used for less than 100 hours in the past 25 years.

A farming family from Essex is celebrating today after their incredible collection of almost 100 vintage tractors sold for a staggering £1million. Above: Six of the tractors on display at Father and son duo Ian and Martin Liddell’s farm in Bishop’s Stortford, Essex

The pair (from left: Ian and Martin with Martin’s wife Suzanne and son Jed) began hoarding the agricultural vehicles on their arable farm, in Essex, in the 1980s. Their fleet of tractors grew and grew and became so large they had to store it across three barns

A rare prototype 1966 six cylinder Northrop went for £79,900, while a 1989 Ford 7810 Silver Jubilee achieved £45,000 and a 1965 DOE-130 diesel Tandem Tractor made £49,300.

Hundreds of bidders were in attendance or took part in the sale online, with interest from as far afield as the US.

Ian Liddell, 90, said the sale result was ‘much more’ than they expected and they will spend the money on expanding the farm in Essex.

He said: ‘We are very pleased with the result, and thankful to Cheffins for the job they’ve done.

‘They sold for much more than we expected and we’re hoping to now expand the farm.’

Sophie Richardson, from Cheffins, said: ‘The sellers had a passion for vintage tractors and had been collecting them since the 1980s.

One of the rarest tractors on offer was this rare prototype six-cylinder Northrop 5004/6 which dates from 1966. It sold for £79,864. Only two versions of the special tractor were ever built. It was a six-cylinder version of Northrop’s standard 5004 tractor. It is fitted with a 112 horsepower diesel engine. To accommodate the larger engine, the bonnet had a distinctive bulge, as can be seen above

The most popular lot was a 1983 County 1474  (pictured centre) that sold for £210,000, the second highest price paid for a classic tractor. The machine has been used for less than 100 hours in the past 25 years. Released in 1983, the vehicle has a 163 horsepower engine. The Liddell family bought the machine in 1993 

Hundreds of bidders were in attendance or took part in the sale online, with interest from as far afield as the US. Pictured: A Ford 3000 half-track tractor. It sold for £4,600. Ian Liddell, 90, said the overall sale result was ‘much more’ than they expected. He said the family will spend the money on expanding the farm in Essex

This Fordson E27n rowcrop tractor sold for £3,400 after receiving 15 bids. The four-cylinder petrol-powered machine has only one front wheel. Auctioneer Sophie Richardson said the Liddell’s tractors were seen as ‘unfashionable’ when they first collected them

This Muir-Hill Shunter is painted in a funky yellow colour and boasts a four-cylinder diesel engine. It is based on a Fordson E1A Major tractor. It sold for £4,200 after receiving 11 bids from interested would-be buyers, who had dialled in from far and wide

MUIR HILL Shunter 4cylinder diesel TRACTOR Reg. No. SGJ 954 (expired) Serial No. MB1209 Based on Fordson E1A Major tractor, an earlier restoration on 12-24 industrial rear and 8-19 front wheels and tyres. £4,200 

‘When they started to collect these types of tractors, they were seen as pretty unfashionable and they went against the grain and started collecting those which were seen as not worth collecting.

‘The average tractor in the sale was 4m long and 1m wide, so if you lined them all up the tractors would measure 400m long, the same length as four football pitches and almost as high as the Empire State Building.’

Oliver Godfrey, a director at Cheffins, added: ‘With over 90 classic and vintage tractors going under the hammer and a host of excellent spares and implements meant the onsite auction team were in for a very busy day.

Pictured right is a 1978 Massey Ferguson 1200. The winning bid on the vehicle was £26,000. It has 3,963 hours on the clock and is fitted with a six-cylinder diesel engine. Auctioneer Mr Godfrey said: ‘Collections of this calibre are becoming rarer and rarer and with the prices achieved shows the sheer enthusiasm and passion for the collecting scene has not abated even with recent events’

A Ford 7000 (left) is seen alongside the County 1474 and the 1978 Massey Ferguson. The Ford was the subject of a £41,000 winning bid. It has been on the Liddell farm since it was new and has recently received an engine rebuild. It also has nifty power steering and boasts a four-cylinder diesel engine 

Three musketeers: Seen above is a trio of Ford tractors which are among those sold. Left is a Ford 7810, in the middle is a Ford 8830 and on the right is a Ford 8210. The 7810 was the subject of a £45,000 winning bid. It is a special ‘Silver Jubilee’ version released in 1989 to mark 25 years of tractor production in Basildon. The 8830 dates from 1991 and sold for £27,000. The 8210 dates from 1991 and sold for £21,000 

Tractors including the County 1474 and the Ford 7000 are seen parked at the Liddell family farm ahead of their sale, which took place on Monday in what turned out to be an immensely popular auction. Auctioneer Mr Godfrey added: ‘Collections of this calibre are becoming rarer and rarer and with the prices achieved shows the sheer enthusiasm and passion for the collecting scene has not abated even with recent events’

The 1983 County 1474 the 1974 Massey Ferguson are seen parked up on the Liddell family farm in Essex ahead of their sale. The family plan to use the money from the auction to expand their farm. Whilst the winning bid on the County was the second-highest amount ever paid for a classic tractor, the world record is held by a 1903 Ivel Agricultural Motor Tractor, which sold with Cheffins for £328,000 in October 2019

‘What unfolded was nothing short of spectacular.

‘The Liddell family had been collecting for over 35 years and had quietly put together one of the most genuine and original collections of Ford and Ford conversion tractors including Doe, County and Roadless in the country.

‘With collectors and enthusiasts emerging from the darkness of various lockdowns and armed with fresh enthusiasm and cash, they were eager to feed their passion for all things classic and vintage.

‘A huge enthusiastic crowd along with hundreds of registered bidders had assembled at 9am on sale day morning and the prices and amount of bidding was incredible and consistent throughout the day.

‘Bidders came from all four corners of the UK as well as the continent and even interest from the USA.

‘It was a record-breaking auction and one Cheffins were very proud to have been instructed to conduct.

‘Collections of this calibre are becoming rarer and rarer and with the prices achieved shows the sheer enthusiasm and passion for the collecting scene has not abated even with recent events.’

The Ford 7000, County 1474 and Massey Ferguson 1200 are seen parked up alongside each other at the Liddell farm in Essex

Mr Godfery said of Monday’s sale: ‘With over 90 classic and vintage tractors going under the hammer and a host of excellent spares and implements meant the onsite auction team were in for a very busy day. What unfolded was nothing short of spectacular.’ Above: The Ford 7810 (left) alongside the County 1474 and Ford 7000 (right)

Mr Godfrey added: ‘The Liddell family had been collecting for over 35 years and had quietly put together one of the most genuine and original collections of Ford and Ford conversion tractors including Doe, County and Roadless in the country’. Above: The Ford 7000 alongside the Country 1474 and Massey Ferguson 1200

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