FORD tractors were a major player in the Irish tractor market, enjoying great success from the 1960s.
Despite some reliability issues with engines, the tractors were hugely popular, spurred on by their comfortable Q, and late Super Q cabs. The ten series, in particular, was a big hit in the 1980s.
However, by the early 90s, the tractors were on their third update and had run their course.
The 1990s were to be an era of electronic advancement and development for tractors and Ford required a tractor to carry them towards the millennium.
Launched in late 1991, the Ford 40 series comprised six models which spanned the high sales 75-125hp sector.
The line-up consisted of three six-cylinder and three four-cylinder tractors with the Ford 7740 landing in the middle.
Despite being powered by two different engines with a difference of only 5hp with the next in line 7840, the two tractors are almost identical, apart from length and weight differences, and a heavier rear axle. Powered by a 5L turbo-charged Ford PowerStar engine, the 7740 produces a respectable horsepower figure of 95.
Hydraulic output is rated at 70l/min, and with full specification twin assistor rams, is capable of lifting 5.5tons.
With a 55 degree turning angle, and a weight of 4.4tons the tractor is a light, compact and nimble machine that can pack a punch.
The 40 series saw the introduction of two new gearboxes, the SL and SLE. In SL format, manual SL Synchroshift gearbox provided 12F/12R through a four-speed gearbox with three ranges, with dual power doubling the amount of gears in each direction to 24.
The SLE Electroshift has two range speeds – hi and lo – each with two ranges of four powershift gears and a clutchless shuttle, providing 16F/16R gears. The middle lever controls the main eight gear changes with the clutch only required to shift between gears 4 and 5.
Early 7740s are easily recognised by their white-roofed cabs and blue chassis. These tractors were fitted with a Carrero – and later Fiat – front axle, and many had the gearpack solenoids and loom located inside of the gearbox, which later moved externally for easy access.
In 1996, the whole 40 series received a facelift with the original colour scheme giving way to New Holland blue with a grey chassis.
The dash received minor tweaks, the mirrors were relocated from the doorpanes to the pillars, and plastic mudguards were fitted at the rear.
Most notably, the Ford name was ultimately dropped in favour of New Holland due global rebranding thanks to the Fiat takeover.
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