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ACAE&TA Member Of The Year

Bill Maddox is elected Member of the Year 2003!

Bill Maddox was selected as 'Member of the Year' - well deserved. Without any fanfare or publicity, Bill often volunteered behind the scenes to help bail the club out of some pickle, such as the agony over who would take over as Chairman for the 2002 Fall Harvest Days Show. After the meeting, Bill quietly came up and said he would do it.

Thank you and congratulations, Bill.


This is one of Bill's latest projects:

(Ford?) County Super 4, Model 654
by Bob Delwiche

Ford didn't exactly make these things!

Bill Maddox' latest toy is actually a British conversion job: they call it the "County Super 4", Model 654. The name County comes from the County Commercial Cars Ltd in Fleet, Hants, UK. This company used to purchase Ford four cylinder power trains on skids and then added their own four wheel drive front axle with equal size front and rear wheels. They were sold in North America by some Ford tractor dealers from approximately 1955 to 1980. A few ended up in the US; most of them went to Western Canada where they were popular with the loggers.

They started this series with the Model 654, and then expanded or upgraded with model designations such as 754, 1004, 1164, 1184, and others. The 654 was built from November 1964 to June 1968, then replaced by the Model 754 built from May 1968 through November 1975. The smaller models used 5000 and 7000 four cylinder Basildon tractor engines. The 754 and 1184 used a Basildon six cylinder (8000TW) engine. The larger ones used Ford Dorset (2700 range) industrial diesel engines.

They were durable, reliable tractors, with several owners in the UK still speaking highly of them. County, during the manufacturing process, would disassemble the transmissions and rear axles, and install bearings made to a higher specifications than the original ball bearings. In some cases they would even install their own final ring and pinion gears.

On the down side, they had too large of a turning circle and they were a bear to horse around because of the weak power steering. In the UK, they were first promoted for plowing. However farmers who owned both a County Super and a Super Major (for example) felt they both had the same pulling power, and so (except for large acreage) they favored the Major for its live PTO and ease of handing. In the UK, most of the Countys ended up in forestry service just like in Canada. Another negative: with all this additional mechanism, replacing clutch, or even brakes, was a pain.

Repair parts have always been hard to find, specially the uniquely County items like hub gears and castings. Now that the company is out of business, this can be an even greater problem. The best source is a Scotsman, Jas Wilson, who has taken a liking to refurbishing the things. His link is http://freespace.virgin.net/jasp.wilson/index.htm. As for the rest of the power train, parts were mostly available through the regular Ford dealerships.

County Commercial Cars Limited was started in 1929 by Ernest and Percy Tapp in Balham, England (southwest of London). Later the company moved to Fleet, England. The Tapp's began by producing a six wheel drive conversion for the Ford Model AA truck.

They continued to expand their business incredibly over the 20 years. They originally built a crawler conversion of Fordson and the Fordson Major tractor, and called them "County Full Track". They started building the four wheel drive versions of the Fordson Majors in the 1950's. County Commercial Cars once rigged one up with enough flotation to drive it across the English channel as a promotion stunt. The Fordson Super Major lasted from 1952 through 58, manufactured in Dagenham. After that, the County line continued with the Ford 5000/7000 series until they finally went under on/about 1983.

Incidentally, this 'Major' line: when Henry Ford made the handshake deal with Englishman Henry Ferguson - and from there came the N-series - the Brits never cared much for them. Instead they continued a slow and gradual evolution of the old Fordson series of the 20's. The E27N Fordson Major was made 1945 through 51, followed by the Super Major - and they all looked more like an offspring of the 1917 Fordson than anything related to the N-series. The availability of gasoline-kerosene and diesel versions of the Major made them more popular on The Isles.

Today's collectors find the Super 6 more plentiful than the Super 4. Interestingly, after the company went under, the Chinese took a shine to them. The Jiangsu (JS) company located in Huayin City in Jiangsu is now making the JS/DFH-654 Tractor.  From the pictures on The Internet, you can't tell the difference between this clone and the original (check http://www.chinedepot.com/jiang654.html). These Chinese look-a-likes can be found all over Indonesia in rice paddy and clay fields. There is a US importer in Rhode Island known as "China Depot" listing this tractor, but you will have to order a whole container load quantity even if you want just one.



County