Tractor ‘legend’ once owned by farmer inventor goes under the hammer

A Doe 130 machine which is up for sale at the next Cheffins vintage machinery sale on April 27 Pict

A Doe 130 machine which is up for sale at the next Cheffins vintage machinery sale on April 27 Picture: CHEFFINS - Credit: Archant

An “incredibly rare” Essex-made tractor built in the 1960s and bought by a notable farmer-inventor is up for auction.

Ernest Doe & Sons launched the tandem tractor, based on the Ford 5000, in December 1964 as the Doe 130. Production ended in 1968, but 73 were sold, with 14 exported.

The tractor had a price tag of £2,850 then, but auctioneers Cheffins has given it a guide price of £65k to £75k for its Cambridge Vintage Sale on April 27.

MORE – Suffolk Show Countdown 2019: Poster pigs Truffle and Squeak become Suffolk Show starsCheffins chairman Bill King said this particular Doe 130 was one of the last examples of the iconic machine ever to have been built.

“It has exceptional provenance and history, having been bought new by George Pryor in Essex – the farmer and inventor who was behind the original concept of the famous Doe ‘Triple-D’,” he said.

“Only 170 of these machines were ever built, making them incredibly rare to the market and a favourite with tractor collectors and enthusiasts, particularly as the majority were exported or split to form two separate tractors.”

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The machine is being sold by a Lincolnshire collector and is set to be one of the highlights of the April vintage sale.

“George Pryor was a hero of the vintage world and his previous ownership of this particular tractor from 1968 onwards will help to ensure its huge desirability amongst the collecting fraternity,” said Mr King.

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In 1957, one of Doe’s customers, George Pryor of Navestock, began experimenting with two Fordson Diesel Major tractors joined together in tandem. His goal was to provide a powerful four-wheel drive machine that would plough or cultivate his large acreage of heavy Essex clay.

After much experimentation, he arrived at a workable pivot-steer design. The tractor performed beyond all expectations and became the talk of the area. Soon, Ernest Charles Doe of local Ford distributors, Ernest Doe & Sons, based at Ulting, Maldon, paid Pryor a visit. He could see the machine had great potential and an agreement was reached for the company to put it into production.

The tractor was launched in 1958 as the Doe Dual Power. Following a number of modifications, the tandem design was re-launched the following year as Doe’s Dual Drive, usually referred to as the ‘Triple-D’ for short, and a legend was born.

Mr Pryor kept his original tractor, much modified and improved by Ernest Doe & Sons, for 10 years. He and his brother bought a new ‘Triple-D’ each in October 1961, and George then purchased the Doe 130, D663 – which is being offered in the sale – in May 1968.

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