MASSEY Ferguson is a brand associated with bright red tractors, however its subsidiary company is associated with a different colour – the yellow of MF Industrial.
MF industrial was established in the 1960s, capitalising on the tractors being manufactured by its parent company and transforming the skid units into rubber tired, backhoe diggers, as well as industrial tractors.
MF realised the need, and potential, for a dedicated and versatile all-round materials handler for the agricultural sector. Taking full advantage of their tractors, established dealership network and customer base, MF enjoyed great success with their 50 and 50B diggers in the 60s and 70s, while also having a footing in the construction sector.
Fast forward to 1992 – Massey Ferguson makes the decision to sell its industrial side of the company. Thanks to a management buyout, production continues under a new name – FERMEC. Manufactured in Barton Dock road, Manchester, Fermec released an all new range of backhoes in 1994, primarily aimed at taking a strong foothold in the construction industry. Not forgetting their agricultural roots, the shortlived 660 is launched in 1996.
The Fermec 660 is a unique machine as it truly is a tractor loader – with a loader to the front, and a fully functional 3-point linkage, hitch and spool valves to the rear, enabling it to perform many tasks similar to a tractor (the torque transmission being a limiting factor).
Powered by a Perkins 1004-4T engine, the 660 produces 88hp. A lift capacity of 2.5tons twinned with hydraulic output of 110/min packs a big punch in a small package. The 660 has a tight 48 degree turning circle, and a soft shift 4 speed gearbox with a transmission dump button on the loader joystick. 1st and 2nd gears provide plenty of pushing power, however there is a significant jump between second and third.
Aimed at the agricultural sector, the 660 has a low profile cab – ideal for entering low roofed buildings, not so much for tall operators. The steering wheel provides great adjustment, however the gearstick located on the floor to the right of the steering column is a stretch. Differential lock and 4wd are conveniently engaged by rocker switches on the dash. Linkage controls are located to the right of the seat, with a 540/1000 speed PTO to the right.
Plastic panels cover each side of the engine, with a convenient access hatch for checking engine oil, but the plastic rear mudguards have a tendency to become brittle and frail over time.
Years of manufacture