Rare and vintage vehicle to make first public appearance in 70 years at Ripon Tractor Fest

A rare vintage Sharp tractor dating back to 1904 will make its first public appearance in 70 years at this year’s Tractor Fest to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

By Gemma Jimmison
Thursday, 21st April 2022, 9:59 am

Held at Newby Hall, Ripon, Tractor Fest is the UK’s largest tractor festival showcasing more than 1,500 vintage tractors, machines and vehicles.

It has been extended this year to three days over the Bank Holiday Jubilee weekend (Friday, June 3 to Sunday 5) in celebration of the Queen’s 70th anniversary as monarch.

The Sharp motor tractor with power-driven cutter bar was manufactured in York as a prototype by young Lancashire farmer Wilfred Sharp. He established Sharp’s Auto-Mower and Tractor Company at Coppergate, York, and claimed the £175 tractor would mow 35 acres of hay in 10 hours at a cost of just two pence per acre.

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Although crude by modern standards, the machine was a radical departure for the time. It was powered by a 14hp two-cylinder Daimler engine driving a single-speed (forward and reverse) transmission. Sharp also claimed the tractor would haul a three-furrow plough, reaper or binder, and drive a threshing machine, chaff cutter, bone mill, cream separator or laundry machinery. Despite this, it failed to attract any customers - even after public demonstrations and a redesign.

In one of its last public appearances in 1955, the tractor toured the UK as part of a ‘Power Farming’ collection of the country’s oldest working tractors. It then moved into a private collection for 46 years, before being acquired by Bishop Auckland tractor enthusiast Kevin Watson.

Kevin, who is chair of the Yorkshire Vintage Association, said: “A life-long fascination with Sharp tractors was sparked by machinery historian, Major Reverend Philip A Wright, and his book ‘Old Farm Tractors’. They are very rare and it took me a long while to track one down and then another ten years to persuade the previous collector to sell her to me. I’m now recommissioning her so I can put her back to work.”

The three-day Tractor Fest will showcase vintage tractors and modern marques, stationary engines, commercial vehicles, cars, lorries and motorcycles.

In celebration of the Jubilee, the festival will feature a display of 70-year-old Jubilee and Coronation vintage tractors. Other fun activities include mini tractor driving, face painting, colouring, interactive exhibits and working machinery. Tickets are £16 for adults, and £12 for children from: bit.ly/3JYpb02