Digger Man

Digger Man Blog

by Nick Drew  |  Thu 07 Jan 2021

Classic Plant at S.E. Davis (Readers Photos)

One thing that has been consistent over the years here on the Digger Man Blog is the photo and video contributions from our readers, not only in the UK but around the world.

Classic Plant at S.E. Davis (Readers Photos)

Pictured above: S.E Davis's Cat 983 was a star attraction at the inaugural Plantworx show in 2013. Photo from the Digger Man Blog archives.

Just last week during the post-Christmas break a batch of photos flew into my inbox from regular reader and heavy haulage man Mike Ponsonby which I thought I would share with you this week.

The photos feature some classic items of plant owned by our friends up in the Midlands at S.E. Davis & Sons, who as we all know have a massive collection of old machinery at their museum yard at Astwood Bank, in Redditch. It really is one place that has been on my bucket list to visit for a very long time, and hopefully that will come to fruition this year!

One of the star attractions in the collection must be the Caterpillar 983. In the late 1960’s there was a demand for a larger track type loading shovel. Caterpillars solution to this was to introduce the 983 in 1969, which took many of its components from the hugely successful D8 tractor. The S.E. Davis working example is seen here in action at an event in 2009, which looks like it could be the Dorset Steam Fair vintage plant section.

The 983 took its power from a Cat D343 turbocharged, six-cylinder engine producing an impressive 275hp, driving a three-speed powershift transmission. The production run of these giant tracked loaders wasn’t that long in the wider scheme of things and the machines suffered from front idler issues mainly due to the weight of a full bucket bearing down on them. However, it is estimated that around 1,600 were built, all of those being manufactured in the USA.

Apparently, an older example was in the collection too used for spares or for sale as seen above.

Mike also shared this photo of a fine classic red International TD24 which when first launched in 1947 was powered by a 180hp (130kW) 6-cylinder diesel engine. International launched the TD24 to compete with Caterpillar’s legendary D8 tractor, however by 1955 the model was discontinued.

Talking of Caterpillar’s D8, no classic dozer collection would be complete without an example of the legendary D8H 22A model. This example is a 1968 build with rope-controlled blade, a proper old school Cat!

Finally, in this batch from Mike. Cranes don’t really float my boat, but when specced up as a dragline, now that’s a different matter. This machine is another long gone British make, the Smith Rodley SR28 model. Its very angular design still looks pretty modern in all fairness.

The Digger Man Blog would like to thank Mike Ponsonby for sharing these photos with us.

Our friends over at Diggers and Dozers visited the S.E. Davis collection back in 2015, and you can check out one of their videos from the visit below.

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