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FARM CLASSICS: Square-nosed Massey stood test of time

July 14th, 2021 10:05 PM

By Southern Star Team

The Massey Ferguson 135 is one of the top selling tractors of all time. (Photo: Liam O’Brien)

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THE Massey Ferguson 135 needs no introduction, it’s arguably one of the best tractors ever produced and one of the top selling tractors of all time – with more than 340,000 tractors produced.

The successor to the Ferguson TE-20 and MF 35, the 135 was launched in 1964 as part of the new line up of the 100 series ‘Red Giant’ Massey Ferguson tractors produced at the Banner Lane production plant in Coventry.

Interestingly, a total of 1,098,025 MF 100 series were built over a 15-year period at Banner Lane. The first and only British built tractor range to pass the 1m milestone, the 135 made up just over 30% of all units produced.

The bulletproof Perkins three-cylinder 3.152 engine produces 45.5hp (and later 47hp), power attainable by a modern day heavy industrial lawnmower, but it was this horsepower figure that made the tractor so successful.

In the 1960s, the 135 was a direct competitor to the Ford Super Dexta 3000, while higher horsepower demands were mainly for contract work or heavy tillage work were catered for by the MF 175 and 188 models. However, the horsepower of the 135 found a purpose on every farm in the 60s and 70s, where the 135 provided ample grunt for most tasks at the time.

The 135 boasts purposeful styling, with a square nose and bonnet.

Earlier models had round mudguards which were later revised to a square version. Keep an eye out for tractors during this transition period with bolt on grab handles which are quite desirable by enthusiasts, later replaced by handles moulded into the mudguard. Mudguards and bonnet were produced and painted by Sankey for Massey Ferguson and fitted at Banner Lane.

There are many other numerous tweaks of the 135 over its production life, most notably the change from a swept back to straight front axle, and round to square rear axle half housings. Two gear levers on the transmission casing play host to six speed gear box with three gears used through a Hi-Lo transmission. Massey Ferguson also offered a Multi-Power option which doubled the gears and provided the tractor with a significant speed advantage. In the late 60’s power steering was also added to the option list.

Together with a hearty engine and the advanced Ferguson System draft control, the reliability of the 135 has stood the test of time and has led to the tractor receiving a legendary status.

VITAL STATISTICS

Tractor

Massey Ferguson 135

Horsepower

45.5-47hp

Engine

Perkins 3.152   

Years of manufacture

1964-1979

Contact Peter at [email protected] gmail.com or see Instagram @ flashphotoscork

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