Vintage tractors aren’t just for the older gentleman, say two young enthusiasts who plan to show their tractors this year.

Alex Kettlewell, 24, from Davenham in Cheshire, has been into vintage tractors since childhood and says it’s a great hobby with a real community spirit. He has a 1979 Ford 3600, which he saved up to buy and renovate when he was 16, and a 1959 Fordson Power Major.

“Vintage tractors have a massive social scene,” says Alex, who clocks up 2,000 miles a year on his Ford taking it to rallies. “Recently we went on the world’s largest vintage tractor road run for Cancer Research, from Liverpool to Whitby and back – it was 600 miles. We met loads of great people, that’s what I love about it.

“Young people think it’s not cool, but the teasing at school never phased me. So many of my old school friends just sit at home playing video games, but I encouraged a new friend into vintage tractors recently.

“The appeal for me is the sense of achievement. What I feel I’ve achieved doing the tractors up is brilliant. I’d say don’t be afraid to have a go – if you save up and buy one, it’s a big daunting project, but it’s also a huge learning experience.”

Love and tractors

Alex, who used to spend every spare moment after school with his grandad, Alan Davies, and his vintage tractor, has even encouraged his girlfriend, Jennie Whittingham, 24 into the hobby.

“When we first met she wasn’t at all interested in tractors,” says Alex. “But as she spent more time with me and her dad who’s also into them, she got the bug. She loves the social side, and she has a 425 Nuffield which her dad built for her from spare parts in his workshop, and a 1954 Fordson E1A New Major.

“We drive our own tractors out together and have fun overtaking each other in fields. We also did the road run together,” he says.

Vintage tractors need more young people

Twenty-one-year-old Katie Birch, from Gainsborough, is another young person with a passion for vintage tractors, also inherited from her grandad. She now has her grandad’s Fergie TED20 which she plans to keep true to how he maintained it, and take it to rallies the rest of the year.

Katie took her Fergie to the Newark Vintage Tractor & Heritage Show at Newark Showground last year, as well as Newark County Show – where it broke down in the ring after over-heating! But she says she’s often the only young woman showing a vintage tractor at such shows.

“It’s a shame, we need more young men and women getting into vintage tractors. You’ve got all this history right in front of you when you have a vintage tractor and if you want to restore it then you’ve got a nice project. They’re also just really fun,” says Katie.

The Newark Vintage Tractor and Heritage Show will be held 5-6 November at Newark Showground. There will be lots of history lovers, as the show celebrates a number of anniversaries:

  • 70 Years of the new Fordson Major E1A (Produced 1952 – 1958)
  • 75 Years of the David Brown Cropmaster
  • 50 Years of Massey Ferguson 1200
  • 75 Years of Series II Field Marshall
  • A celebration of “Nicholson’s of Newark” machinery
  • A celebration of Ruston engines from Lincoln

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