Tractor sold at auction for almost £215,000 to businessman who grew up on farm

The 40-year-old 1982 County 1474 ‘Short Nose’ machine would have cost around £20,000 new.

28 April 2022

A 40-year-old tractor has sold at auction for £214,400, in what auctioneers say is a UK record for a modern classic machine.

The 1982 County 1474 “Short Nose” tractor would have cost around £20,000 when it was originally bought.

It was purchased at auction by 60-year-old Tom O’Connor, who grew up on a farm in Ireland and later became a collector.

Mr O’Connor, who owns a utilities business and lives near Manchester, said: “I have lived in the UK for the past 30-odd years and collecting these Fords which we had when I was young is something which I have always aspired to do.

“Luckily I am now in a position in my life where I can do that.

“This particular County had been perfectly restored and this was really what I was looking for.

“It’s getting harder to find people who will do a good job of restoring these tractors, so I have been looking for a really clean example, which is what this was.

“I have built a new shed on the farm for my collection and the County will be living in there, I intend to keep hold of it for the next generation and don’t intend to sell it anytime soon.

“I started collecting quite late in life and now have about a dozen tractors in my collection, a few of which have been restored.”

The tractor was sold at the Cheffins sale ground at Sutton near Ely in Cambridgeshire this month, where its pre-auction estimate had been £120,000 to £140,000.

Oliver Godfrey, head of the machinery department at Cheffins auctioneers, said: “The market is alive and well, in fact it is thriving, as collectors still have cash in the bank which they want to invest in something tangible. Something they can see and use and enjoy.

“Collectors are becoming younger, so the focus in the market is really on tractors and machinery from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s as they look to buy up a part of their youth.

“It is impossible to put a price on the value of nostalgia.”

The auctioneers said the most expensive tractor ever sold on record was a 1903 Ivel Agricultural Motor, which fetched £328,600 at Cheffins in 2019.

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