A County 1884 tractor – which was described as a “rare and very desirable machine” – sold for £132,000 plus VAT and commission (approximately €153,450) at an auction in the UK on Saturday, October 19th.
Ahead of Cheffins’ Cambridge Vintage Sale, a spokesperson noted that only a small number of County 1884 tractors were built, and those few in preservation, always attract a crowd whenever they are “let out of captivity”.
Estimates suggest that there are no more than 20 County 1884s in preservation.
This sales catalogue outlined that the tractor in question is in superb condition with low hours and has had two owners from new. The serial number suggests it was built at the end of 1981, and it was first registered on February 1st, 1982.
It was supplied by the Essex dealership, Cleales Ltd of Saffron Walden and Haverhill to its first owners, Butlers Farms of Halstead. An annotation in a price list that has survived with the tractor suggests its purchase price when new was £40,940 (approximately €47,576).
The 1884 was sold three years later, changing hands on January 14th, 1985.
“It was purchased by the present owners and has remained with the same family for more than 30 years and recorded only 3,833 hours.”
The tractor was sold with full documentation including its original manuals, parts book and sales leaflet.
The 1884, the “holy grail” for County collectors, was launched at the 1980 Smithfield Show, according to the auction catalogue.
It used a turbocharged and intercooled version of the 401S engine delivering 188hp and had an extended bonnet housing the oil-cooler and main fuel tank.
The tractor was fitted with the 'F-type' flat-deck version of Ford's straddle Q-cab with air conditioning as standard.
“The high specification resulted in a hefty price tag: listed at £34,531, a massive investment at the time.”
“Just a handful were built by the original firm, which went into receivership in February 1983.”
Image source: Cheffins \ website