Early 2008 and after several discussions with Delbert and family, Kevin and Steven contacted American Custom Harvester Marvin Helland and enquired about him locating a 760 stateside.
Within a short period of time Marvin located an immaculate 1977 760 the deal was done and they arranged for him to deliver it on their imminent arrival before harvest that year.
They had known Marvin for
a few years by way of the internet and their mutual interest in the Massey combines, Marvin snr and Junior had ran Masseys for many years in their custom harvesting business and their knowledge of them was second to none, they still run a 8590 rotary alongside
their newer equipment today and also retain several other models at their farm in South Dakota, their 8590 was one of the last built at Brantford in 1987 before it's closure.
Kevin and Steven returned to Oklahoma
in June 2008 and proceeded with preparations on their new purchase thanks to Marvin, a few minor repairs and an overhaul of the air conditioning was carried out this was a must as the temperatures here in June would regularly top 100deg.
Sourcing spares for these old Masseys is not a problem as you can imagine in the States they were the combine of choice for Custom Cutters and farmers alike and there was many thousands built,also there was a large breaker just 30
miles from Delberts farm which made a lot of sense to justify running older machinery in these input cost conscious times, so after some very long days and trips to the local breakers our Norfolk farmers were almost ready to put this old girl to work except
the weather had other ideas and several inches of rain fell in a few short hours but thankfully the forecasted tornadoes and golf ball size hail missed Delberts farm by a few short miles and at least the rain didn't destroy this crop but it was a close thing
and this is common weather here every harvest season and Delberts mostly used tool is his lap top with the latest radar weather hourly forecasting information.
After a couple of days the intense heat soon had the
crops fit to cut and both Delberts 750 and the Clark's 760 headed to the field and begun cutting the 800 acres of wheat, the 760 apart from a few minor adjustments behaved impeccably and now Kevin and Steven farmers from Norfolk found themselves Custom Harvesting
in Oklahoma a dream come true from a chance meeting a year before.
Their return trip also captured the attention of the local media and the boys were subject to coast to coast television coverage about their friendship
and help with the harvesting at Delberts farm.
Over the last few years Kevin and Steven have returned to Oklahoma to help out Delbert and filmed their harvest experiences extensively,capturing all the trials and
tribulations associated with the breakdowns, the extreme weather,also the sheer resilience of these prairie farming family's who take it all in their stride and face the odds with humour and a next season might be a lot better attitude! Along with the breath
taking scenery and experiences of other farming family's it gives an insight into this challenging business.
During early 2009 Kevin and Steven received a call from Marvin Helland who while cutting in Kansas the
previous season he was told about an abandoned early model 760 that was parked in a corner of a prairie spread by its owners some 30 plus years beforehand because of a transmission failure,as Marvin was cutting nearby he agreed to take a look.
As Marvin inspected this unassuming old 760 he was aware of some subtle differences on this combine that he had never seen on any 760s that he had owned or ever worked on and as he cleaned up the serial number plate he was astonished
to find the number 0001 this indeed was the very first 760 rolled out of the Brantford plant in 1971 amongst a blaze of publicity, this was one of ten machines dispatched for that season to pave the way for a radical change in the size and capacity of harvesting
Marvin Kevin and Steven and Delbert were keen to secure this piece of history and prevent anyone cutting up and destroying this very important combine, so Marvin contacted the owners and offered to purchase
the machine but unfortunately the offer was turned down and it was not for sale!.
So it seemed that this piece of harvesting history would continue its days on this hot windswept prairie at the continuing mercy
of the elements and only the company of the coyote and wipowillow bird and watch every seasons harvest come and go and play no part it seems, her work done.
You may wonder what use this Combine would be after so
long parked up and left to all what mother nature could throw at her, but the tin work was in remarkable condition because of the drier arrid climate unlike here in the uk without doubt here the combine would be rotted out and no use for restoration.
Just about everything else on the combine would require attention belts,chains,and bearings and it would take all the skills of someone and dedication to bring her back into harvest order, a major challenge indeed.
Kevin and Steven
Kevin and Steven's farming and Contracting business typically relies on older machinery obviously Massey Ferguson their motto was simple if it ain't red it stays
in the shed!! The Clarke brothers stringent maintenance and care for their machinery helps to tackle the workload on their 185 acre farm and also their sizeable contracting acreage that is carried out every year, the machinery is a must in these cost conscious
times and it seems a logical way to run their business in Norfolk.
Their machinery to date would leave any Massey collector possibly green with envy, it includes the following tractors,
A 3655, a 3670, on their sludge and muck spreading operation and around their farm they use a 3080,3075 a 575, x2 135, an articulated 1505, a1100,85, a 165, a 65,and 35, a Te 20 also a Massey Harris 744.
X6 Massey Ferguson 865s three of these used on contract cutting around Norfolk, and the other three on their own acreage, also they have x2 500s and x2 410s an 892 and an 87 also a 735, plus 3 vintage
Class combines! Quite a collection by anybody's standards, and now with their venture into the US and further combine ownership and restoration you have to give them a great deal of credit for devoting so much time to keeping yesterday's future alive today!!