David Brown Tractor


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c.1949 David Brown VAK1 Cropmaster Tractor
Registration no. to be advised
Chassis no. P19717

Perhaps best known for his ownership of Aston Martin from 1947 to 1972, Sir David Brown had become managing director of the family firm, David Brown & Sons, in 1931. The company had been founded in 1860 by his grandfather, also called David, as pattern makers in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, where it remains to this day. By the end of the 19th Century, the firm was specialising in the manufacture of machine-cut gears and other precision-engineered components. David Brown became Managing Director following his father Percy Brown's death in 1931.

Trading as David Brown Tractors Ltd, the company first turned to the manufacture of tractors in 1936 in collaboration with inventor Harry Ferguson, building the Ferguson-Brown tractor at a plant in Meltham Mills, West Yorkshire. However, Messrs Brown and Ferguson disagreed over design details and went their separate ways. Ferguson then entered into what would turn out to be an acrimonious partnership with the Ford Motor Company, leaving Brown to design his own tractor, the VAK1 or 'Cropmaster', during WW2. Brown eventually sold over 7,700 of his new VAK1 heavy tractor and became a wealthy man.

In the post-war era, David Brown Ltd was one of the UK's largest tractor manufacturers. Following the acquisition of Aston Martin in 1947, these two elements of the family business became closely linked, sharing facilities and management; indeed, the manufacturing of Aston Martin cars was overseen by the tractor division's chief engineer, Bert Ashfield, while engine design and production was based at Meltham. But its owner's subsidisation of his beloved Aston Martin could not be sustained forever. When the sports car maker was sold in 1972, the tractor division was bought by Tenneco International, which eventually re-badged its products as 'Case', another tractor manufacturer it owned.

Definitely a cut above the average 'Fergie' and guaranteed to excite the more-knowledgeable enthusiasts at your local agricultural show, or even Aston Martin gatherings, this David Brown Cropmaster was restored by its previous owner in 2018. Described by the vendor as in generally very good condition, benefiting from a new clutch and tyres, the vehicle comes with its original chassis plate and a letter of authentication from the David Brown Tractor Club, and is expected to possess a V5C Registration Certificate by time of sale.