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New books from machinery writer Martin Rickatson

Published on 5th April 2017

Guild Member Martin Rickatson has recently helped launch the fifth book to which he has contributed in recent years – with a sixth due out later in 2017.

Forty Years with Ford Tractors tells the story of David Pearson, who spent more than four decades working for Ford’s tractor business, starting on the production line at the maker’s Dagenham factory before moving to the then-new Basildon tractor plant opened by Ford in 1964.

Mr Pearson went on to become the maker’s UK sales manager, and earned a reputation among farmers and dealers as the man who knew all there was to know about Ford tractors.

He was involved in the development of some of the most famous machines to bear the blue livery, from the Dexta to the 7000, and the FW articulated tractors to the 7810.

Mr Pearson retired from the company during the period just after its farm equipment interests were acquired by Fiat and the business was restructured under the New Holland name.

“David had contributed a series of ‘Memory Lane’ articles to Classic Tractor magazine over a period of months, and asked if I would help turn these and some further written material and photos into book form,” explains Martin.

“He had some superb photos from the 1950s and 1960s, including one where he had been pictured on the Dexta tractor at its launch, which was used 25 times in one issue of Farmers Weekly in reports of the event and various supporting dealer adverts.

“With the help New Holland’s PR team we added some excellent photos of machines and the factory from the 1970s and 1980s, so although it’s mainly a book of words rather than pictures, there’s a set of 40 black-and-white and colour photos, some of which have never before been published.”

5M Publishing’s Old Pond business, with whom Martin previously worked sub-editing Brian Bell’s Farm Machinery student textbook, agreed to publish and distribute the book.

It was launched earlier this year at the Doe Show, the annual event held by the UK’s largest New Holland – and formerly Ford – dealer.

“David still lives close to Basildon and to the famous former training facility used by Ford, the Boreham House stately home, and it was really enjoyable to visit and talk with him to turn his memories into book form,” says Martin.

A freelance machinery, arable and dairying writer, Martin (pictured left) has just finished his contribution to the third in a series of books from American publisher Octane Press.

Having previously written UK sections for Red Tractors and Red Combines, two large, coffee-table type books covering the respective histories of tractors and harvesters made by International Harvester (IH) and its successor Case IH, the next book in the trilogy focuses on large four-wheel-drive tractors.

The UK portion of the book covers everything from the first Roadless and County-based 4wd conversions of IH tractors in the 1960s to the introduction to the country in the 1970s of four-wheel-steer models from Case.

In addition, the book looks at the advent of 2+2 articulated models from IH, plus the introduction of Steiger tractors – which later became part of Case IH – into the UK during that latter period.

Also covered is the introduction here 20 years ago of the Case IH Quadtrac, the first articulated high-horsepower tractor on tracks. Big Red Tractors is due to be published in September.

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