We thought we'd do something a bit different this week and review an old school machine. Stuart's been reminding himself of the beauty that is the Ford 7810.
Having witnessed all of the nice shiny new bits of metal recently at the FTMTA Show, I couldn't help but think of the machines they intend to replace, the tractors with the hard hours done, the ones that have sat out in the yard through countless wet winters, started first tip of the key every morning and never got a wash in their later years. As childish as it seems, I almost feel a sense of betrayal when I upgrade one of the tractors at home even though I upgrade each one every four years. They do the work for me and then after 48 months, it's adios and hello new tractor.
But what about the older tractor ? The 80s/90s child. The old girl that blew black smoke and more than likely drew you towards the love of machinery. If you have an old timer in your yard amongst a fleet of new machines and consider off loading it, it's like plotting your mother's murder, you just don't do that. And the tractor that springs to mind for me for the golden oldie contender, the Ford 7810 4wd.
Built from 1987 to 1991, the 6 cylinder Ford from Basildon sold in its droves and after a few teething problems in its first few months, namely lift pumps and porous blocks (!!!!! I shit you not !!!!!!), errors were rectified and the end result was a compact 91hp tractor that ticked all the boxes.
Sitting inside the Super Q cab and looking at the digital dash, a large hand throttle mounted on the right of the dash block and an offset exhaust rising out of the bonnet, the Ford was equipped with a manual 1-4 H pattern manual gear box with Dual Power courtesy of a toggle switch mounted on the gear stick. Having spent many summers on board a 7810 with a Smyth Silage Trailer hanging off of the back of it, I absolutely loved every bit of that tractor. I chose it over the 7840s and 8340s in the yard because I loved the roar, the smoke, the not so refined look like the newer machines had at that time.
You could say it was rough around the edges, it had one speaker working and the sunroof had no rams on it so getting a shot of grass in on top of you was the norm. No front mudguards yielded plenty of muck up on the windows but I didn't care. It held its own on the hills and it never once gave me a fright or moments worry. It was a fantastic tractor and when the Summer came around and the yard was full of TM's, sure my behind was in great comfort with cab suspension and I had air conditioning but the fun had gone, the spark had died. Having shared 3 seasons with the 7810, going up hills wasn't a challenge anymore, well timed gear changes were replaced by a push of the thumb and the clutch was only used for the shuttle.
One could argue that piloting an old school bus would make you a better driver and I do believe it did but it also made me appreciate the older generation. For now, being surrounded by Power Command gearboxes, Varios and a host of electronics, my quest for a 7810 continues. Trawling done deal every night and other websites looking for the "minter" will come to an end soon I hope and I'll reunite it with a Smyth again for throwback of days well spent.
Ford 7810, I salute you.