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Detaching from Ferguson

Peter Cameron has been collecting tractors for almost 30 years. PHOTO/GIANINA SCHWANECKE

Buyers from USA, Canada and Oz

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After almost 30 years tending his collection of Massey Ferguson tractors and accessories, Peter Cameron is ready to put it all under the hammer.

Cameron grew up on a farm where he learned to drive tractors, but it wasn’t until the early 1990s that his collection first began.

It started when he needed a tractor for some work on his 11ha lifestyle block in Masterton.

“I bought one for here and it sort of became a disease,” he said.

The collection now includes 14 vintage tractors ranging from 1947 to 1959, and more than 70 farm implements – making it the largest collection of attachments in New Zealand.

His first tractor was a grey model from 1974 – the classic Ferguson TE20.

He also has mechanical tools for cultivating, tilling, digging, potato planting, haymaking, raking and pressing.

It wasn’t a cheap hobby, he said.

“Half the value in tractors is in their tyres. If it’s got good rubber you can do something with it.

“Back tyres are a lot – about $400 to $500 each.”

Cameron said he preferred Irishman Harry Ferguson’s models because they were common in New Zealand, which meant it was easier to source parts.

More than 17,000 of them arrived in New Zealand over a 10-year period after World War II.

He finds most of his pieces through “word of mouth”.

Many required some repairs or restoration work.

“It’s amazing the development of tractors. The first ones came out in 1803.

“Harry Ferguson used the best steel. That’s why you can find stuff that’s 60 or 70 years old and still perfect.

“Restoring them is just about skill because the bits are all available.”

In some circles, he’s known as ‘Mr Ferguson’.

The camaraderie and knowledge of other tractor collectors, as well as figuring things out for yourself were a big part of the appeal, he said.

“These old ones are fairly simple to repair and pull apart before putting them back together.

“I’m certainly no mechanic.”

Having such a large collection of tractors also came in handy on his block as he could have different tools attached to different tractors.

Cameron, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2007, said he was giving up his collection because of his health.

He was looking to downsize and focus on his other hobby instead – model trains.

“Most of [the collection] will go with a good battery and bit of petrol,” he said.

Although he couldn’t put a price on many pieces, he thought the highest selling items might go for between $4000 and $5000.

“There’s not many other auctions like this in New Zealand to compare it with,” he said.

There had already been interest from buyers as far away as the United States, Canada, and Tasmania, as well as countrywide.

The auction is being held by Wakefield Auctions at Cameron’s home on February 1 from 10am.

The catalogue will be available from wakefieldauctions.co.nz from January 24.

To register, email [email protected] or call Mike on 0274 453 152 or Steve on 0274 422 502.

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