Diamond jubilee of little grey Fergie

A tractor that revolutionised world agriculture when it was launched 60 years ago came face to face with one of its modern-day descendants.The meeting of the Ferguson TE20 tractor - known as the "little grey Fergie" - and Massey Ferguson's current flagship MF 8480 tractor, took place outside London's Claridge's hotel.

A tractor that revolutionised world agriculture when it was launched 60 years ago came face to face with one of its modern-day descendants.

The meeting of the Ferguson TE20 tractor - known as the "little grey Fergie" - and Massey Ferguson's current flagship MF 8480 tractor, took place outside London's Claridge's hotel.

It followed the re-creation of the famous staircase descent made within Claridge's by inventor and engineer, Harry Ferguson, to launch the TE20 tractor onto world markets.

He introduced the TE20 in the hotel's ballroom to trade delegations as part of his export drive. When challenged about the tractor's mobility, he jumped on to the tractor and drove it in a tight circle to the delight of the large gathering before leaving down the hotel's staircase.


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Ferguson tractor enthusiast, Tim Joiner, who is also the Lord Mayor of Westminster, asked Claridge's to re-run the 1948 event on behalf of the association, Friends of Ferguson Heritage.

"As 2006 marks the 60th anniversary of the production of the first Ferguson TE20 tractor in the UK, it seemed appropriate to celebrate the event by re-creating Harry Ferguson's famous staircase descent," said Mr Joiner.

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The key to the global success of the Ferguson TE20 tractor was its unique implement attachment system which effectively turned the tractor and implement into a single working unit, replacing the previous cumbersome trailed method of implement operation.

The Ferguson System revolutionised agriculture, producing major advances in the efficiency of global food production.

Although the last Ferguson TE20 tractor was produced in October 1956, Harry Ferguson's spirit of innovation and engineering excellence lives on all modern tractors, including Massey Ferguson's current tractors and harvest machinery, proudly maintaining a 60-year pedigree.

In total, 517,649 Ferguson TE tractors were produced in 10 years at Banner Lane, Coventry.

That is why the giant MF 8480 was on the pavement outside Claridge's to acknowledge the importance of its pioneering ancestor. Standing side by side, there appears to be a world of difference between the two tractors.

Although Harry Ferguson would have recognised the three-point implement connection system used on the MF 8480, he would have been amazed at the MF 8480's maximum power output of 315hp - around 290 more horsepower than his TE20.

As a technological pioneer, Harry Ferguson would have been intrigued also by the MF 4840's electronic control, monitoring and recording systems that allow data from the tractor to be transferred to the office computer.

Speaking on behalf of Massey Ferguson, Jeremy Burgess said that Harry Ferguson would have been proud that the spirit and principles for which he stood 60 years ago were still very much alive within Massey Ferguson today.

It continued his vision of helping farmers to produce food of the highest possible quality at the lowest possible price.

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