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by Nick Drew  |  Wed 08 Jul 2020

Classic Tracked Type Tractors Uncovered

Last week I was on an Earthmovers assignment in Fordingbridge in the New Forest to visit Earlcoate Civil Engineering & Coastal Defence Contractors, which is a really interesting business in more ways than one, while I was there the Director Alister Cutts very kindly showed me around his collection of vintage machinery.

Classic Tracked Type Tractors Uncovered

In one of his sheds on the farm which doubles up as the HQ for the business Alister has amassed a sizeable collection of tractors and tracked type tractors, and in this blog post we will share some of the best items we saw. The shed is jam packed so photo opportunities are tricky, but I’ve done my best.

The first example pictured above, we see a Komatsu D30S-15 crawler loader which Alister purchased from Edward S Brown, the brother of famous Ringwood based earthmoving legend Raymond Brown. This machine was previously owned and operated by Hants & Dorset Plant Hire. These 1970’s machines were once a common sight around my home city, and I recall seeing both Southampton Plant and Bath Plant Hire running examples.

This nicely restored Caterpillar D6 – 2h 7792W was manufactured in 1940 and is powered by a 51hp 3-cylinder diesel engine, with the familiar 2-cylinder petrol donkey engine for starting. According to Alister this machine was originally imported into the UK during World War 2 via the lend lease scheme. It was apparently used to pull timber out of the forest for use in the war effort.

After the war it was used to clear West Park, Damerham, Fordingbridge of timber and brush by Mr George Whidden, working alongside another ex-war tractor in the shape of a 1942 International TD14, fitted with a “Ruston Bucyrus Bullgrader Blade”. That machine is also in the collection and currently undergoing restoration. This D6 was found by the Cutts in 2003 and restored during 2004/5 by their great team, Harold Thomas, Derek Webb and John Jackson.

Once a stalwart on British building sites and earthmoving projects, the Caterpillar 951A was first built in 1964. This cabless example in the Cutts collection features a general-purpose loader bucket.

The iconic Caterpillar Sixty was acquired by the Cutts family in 2017 and is now part of the Oliver Cutts Collection. This model is serial number 5397A and was built in 1930. C.L. Best Co first introduced the Sixty in 1919 and it was rated at 60 belt HP and 35 drawbar HP from its 4-cylinder petrol engine.

This example was brought to England from the Heidrick Ranch in California by Peter Thomas who fully refurbished it and fitted the famous California hood which was often fitted to these tractors to protect farm workers from the searing heat in the American state.

What classic collection would be complete without a Caterpillar D2 in it. This fine 1938 example of a D2 – 3J 522 model is fitted with a rare La Plante Choate hydraulic dozer blade. The Cutts purchased this machine from Jim Harris of Titchfield, Hampshire, who had bought the tractor in 1990 for preservation. Seen being added to the Cutts Collection the machine has been completely overhauled including clutch, brakes and engine. A really fine example of this classic Cat model.

This Caterpillar D4 – 7J model was delivered new to Mr Read at Barton Stacey, Hampshire in 1941, he used it to farm his own arable land and later to clear old army camps with the Birtley Dozer Blade that was fitted to it.

Sometime later he fitted an engine taken from a 1943 D4 – 2T tractor and continued to use the machine until the early 1970’s. It was purchased by the Cutts family in 2005. The 73-year old tractor is fully operational.

Finally, this later model D3 is still used from time to time on the Earlcoate fleet.

It was a great afternoon and one of these days I would like to go back and spend a lot longer looking around. I would like to thank Alister Cutts for showing me around. It was also great to catch up with Alan Russell who was working for Swanwick Construction back in the days when I spent 10 years working for them. Till next time, cheers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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