As most enthusiasts know, they will go anywhere to get their hands on a coveted piece of equipment to add to their collection. It fills a gap, makes a collection complete and the satisfaction rates are immeasurable.That is what Johnny Hamill from Northern Ireland felt when he scooped a significant piece of tractor engineering history - A JCB Fastrac P5 prototype.
Just the day before, he returned home from Essex, having bought a Fastrac 145-80 for a bare chassis restoration project. Upon his return, Johnny’s nephew Páidí informed him of the sale at the JCB auction and he turned around and flew back to the UK in order to bid for it.
“We used to do a lot of agricultural contracting with a Fastrac 145-80 and after we sold it, I always promised I’d buy another sometime and do it up” said Johnny, who is now an electrical and civil engineering contractor.
The JCB Fastrac P5 is the fifth prototype of the revolutionary tractor to be built in the late 1980s before the final design went into production in 1991 with a unique combination of features still unmatched today.
Today’s Fastrac, both the 4000 and 8000 series are widely recognised as being a consummate all-rounder. “I’ve sat in a new Fastrac but daren’t drive one because I think I’d be wanting to buy it,” said Johnny, who plans on a sympathetic refurbishment of the P5. “I think it needs to stay original as a machine that paved the way for the great production tractors that followed,” he added.
Johnny Hamill was delighted to meet Paul Hemingway, a member of the Fastrac team for eleven years, back when the tractor was being developed, launched and demonstrated to farmers and contractors. Johnny stated that it really added to the experience of buying the historical prototype.
The successful concept has been maintained and enhanced over the years with the addition of four-wheel steering, an anti-lock braking system and a highly efficient continuously variable transmission – as well as a lot more power.