Massey Fergusson 50th Year Anniversary
During the Autumn of 2007 i was carrying out repairs to my newly purchased 400,the bearings on the variable speed drive pully and rear walker shaft bearings, and various other niggly items before commencing work on the paintwork the following spring,i had a request from The Friends of Ferguson,if i wouldbe willing to display my 400 at there line up to celebrate. This milestone Anniversary.
I was keen to take part and agreed thinking i had at that time over nine months to complete this restoration although i was limited to paintwork when the conditions dictated, as i had storage in an open shed and at our altitude 1200 feet above sea level, conditions even in the better months can be very challenging to say the least.
By late spring 2008 the combine had been sandblasted and sanded in the vulnerable areas around pulleys,also there was much to do regarding table guard which sat over the knife drive, this was totally shot and had to be rebuilt which took some time, also the front dividers were all but gone and would take someone cleverer than me to fabricate,well luck was on my side my good friend engineer Alan Connock came to the rescue, as an apprentice in the sixties working for a local tractor dealership he had the task of replacing these as most were hit off on gates and fences etc..the sheet metal is actually rolled to make the shape! Easy when you know how ?.
The seat on the 400 was beyond repair and fortune came in the shape of a local village upholsterer, who made us two for both 400s as near original minus the internal springs as this was far to costly.
As the time ticked by we were into June !and I had detailed all the decals to be done, I had a lot of help from Agco from there archives which helped with the missing warning decals, all this information was passed to Dave (titch) Saunders of Machinery Decals, Dave worked tirelessly on the triple triangles and also several versions of the yellow swirl until we got it just right, we have used Dave for all our decals and nothing is to much trouble for him he has a genuine interest in the vintage movement which makes all the difference.
By early July in a somewhat disappointing summer and humid overcast days with the metal sweating, I was a little concerned that in less than 2 months it would have to be finished and ready! for Dorset, one job that I could do was complete the hand sanding of the combine all over! this job needed to be done because the sand blasting although a quick system of removing paint and rust in awkward places, it leaves a pitted effect on the metal which leaves it rough and is highlighted when the paint goes on, it took several days with 180 grade paper and block to lightly sand and taking care not to remove primer, which is why a mechanical sander isn't appropriate.
At the begining of August a weather and conditions improvement meant that a two pack primer could be applied and finally the top coat, this all took 3 days with the help of Malcolm Kite who has a wealth of experience in vehicle 're sprays, the whole job took 3 days splitting the work into 3 sections first the table and trunk, then masking them on day two and spraying the mid section unloading arm engine bay,finally the rear hood and axle and underside!! In between doing the wheels and numerous guards items guards steps lights etc. A very busy 3 days.
After a few days all the panels were fitted the seat the control knobs these were stencilled in white on top ie fast, slow, reel ,table,in white with a cut down mascara brush!!.
Finally the Decals! this was the job I dreaded doing as its very easy to fit these and forever look at something not quite straight! I took my time and with a squeezy bottle and some mild detergent the job was done.
With less than 4 days to go the combine was complete,the only issue the yellow swirl wasn't quite right and another was ordered to be fitted later, the combine was delivered to Dorset two days before the show started the only thing missing the canvas sock on unloader arm.
During the Show I met and spoke to many people from around the world who used and remembered this model combine, with plenty of stories most good some bad! Also one gentleman who worked at Kilmarnock who built them, I asked him do you think I got the colour right? He commented the paintwork was never that good on them and also the variation in red changed as did there paint supplier which caused them some issues at the dealerships.
The show was the first outing for this old lady in red and the first of many to come,The friends of Ferguson put on a very good show with a complete selection of Massey Ferguson equipment, at times it resembled a dealers yard from the sixties! Happy memories indeed.
Below a selection of photographs from the show