Golden tractor to star in festival near Ripon

A golden tractor produced to mark the Queen’s Coronation in 1953 will be one of the star attractions at this year’s Tractor Fest at Newby Hall.

By Janet Harrison
Monday, 28th March 2022, 3:31 pm
Updated Monday, 28th March 2022, 4:26 pm

The event has been extended to three days over the Jubilee bank holiday weekend in celebration of The Queen’s 70th anniversary as monarch.

For collector and local motor engineer and entrepreneur Alastair Broadwith, owning the golden tractor he calls ‘Goldie’ is a dream come true.

Alastair said: “In 1953 my grandfather, John Broadwith, bought a Farmall Super BMD painted in gold livery, one of just 30 such tractors that had been produced to commemorate the coronation

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“He ran a contract bailing business in Wensleydale and the tractor was used predominantly for this.

“As a big gold tractor, it really stood out against the much smaller tractors that were common at that time so was a great way to promote his business.

“The local schoolchildren would run out when they heard the tractor coming through the village because she was such a spectacle and grandad’s workers drove to local dances on the golden tractor – cutting a real dash.

“Grandfather kept the tractor for about 10 years before selling it, leaving my father, who was also involved in the business, with fond memories of Goldie and sparking a life-long desire for me to own my own gold tractor.”

After tracing his grandfather’s tractor to another Yorkshire family who wanted to keep it, Alastair set about finding another gold tractor and successfully tracked down the International Farmall Super BMD Coronation Edition in Shrewsbury three years ago.

Doncaster based International Harvester are believed to have produced 50 International Farmall Super BMDs in gold livery to mark the coronation. Alastair’s is number 40.

Cripps of Nottingham exhibited the tractor in its gold livery at the Royal Agricultural Show, before it was sold in 1955, repainted red – the traditional International McCormick colour -and road registered.

In its day, the powerful 52 hp diesel engine with an electric starter was at the forefront of technical advances as most farmers were still using tractors powered by tractor vaporising oil.

The tractor was big in comparison to most tractors used at the time. It is still a working tractor, used for jobs around the farm from gathering wood to bailing.

Alastair said: “Goldie went from coronation exhibit to a working machine and farmers often wanted tractors in the traditional colour.

“Wear and tear on the bodywork means that the red paint has cracked and peeled, revealing the original gold paint underneath.

“I have restored her engine but left her cosmetically in her original condition as this is a key part of showing her history.

“Only around a dozen of these tractors are still around and it’s taken me 30 years to find my own golden tractor.

“It’s just a shame that my grandfather and parents aren’t here to see her - she is my most prized tractor and a fitting memorial to them.”

Tractor Fest takes place at award-winning country house and gardens Newby Hall, North Yorkshire, over the Bank Holiday Jubilee weekend (Friday June 3 to Sunday June 5).

The three-day event will showcase thousands of vintage tractors and modern marques, stationary engines, commercial vehicles, cars, lorries and motorcycles from around the UK and Europe.

In celebration of the Platinum Jubilee, this year’s festival will feature a display of 70-year-old Jubilee and Coronation vintage tractors, along with a display of 100 pre-1922 vintage tractors and 100 century-old stationary engines.