Britain’s ‘most important’ tractor goes up for sale
- Credit: Archant
A tractor billed as one of the great British inventions is set to go under the hammer in East Anglia in October.
The Ivel Agricultural Motor, described by a tractor historian as "the most important tractor ever to come to auction in the UK" and estimated to be worth around £200k and £250k, will be offered up at Cheffins' Vintage Sale in Cambridgeshire on October 19.
It is one of just eight complete examples of the machine - registered in 1903 - known to remain worldwide and four of those are in museum collections.
MORE - Suffolk's 'natural larder' showcase vies with top food and drink festivals from Tuscany to ParisOn top of its rarity, the model on sale - No. 131 - is probably best known of all the survivors, having been a star attraction at the National Tractor & Farm Museum in Northumberland for many years when it was displayed as part of the late cattle breeder and collector John Moffitt's Hunday Collection, said Cheffins.
Tractor historian Stuart Gibbard, who assisted in the writing of The Ivel Story, published in 2003, said its importance to early tractor history could not be overstated.
"This is an unparalleled opportunity to acquire a unique and famous machine with incomparable provenance.
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"Such an opportunity is unlikely ever to be repeated."
The machine, invented by Dan Albone, was the first commercially viable British tractor and the first to go into volume production.
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After experimenting with motorcycles, powered tricycles and even a car, Mr Albone began developing a farm tractor which became the Ivel Agricultural Motor.
It was a simple three-wheel design with a single speed (forward or reverse) transmission. The engine was a two-cylinder horizontal unit of 24HP.
The first model was completed in 1902 - the same year Ivel Agricultural Motors Ltd was formed.
It won numerous prizes at agricultural shows and was widely feted.
No. 131 is said to have been used as a demonstrator and exhibited at the Royal Agricultural Show in London in 1903.
John Moffitt purchased the Ivel from friend Derek Hackett of Ross on Wye.
After the National Tractor & Farm Museum closed, the Ivel remained in the Moffitt family's ownership.
It was loaned for a time to Beamish Museum and, in 1994, underwent an extensive rebuild. To celebrate its centenary in 2003, John Moffitt embarked on a 100-mile charity drive around the country, raising £120k for hospices. Following his death in 2008, it was exhibited at various events.