USING the best components of the 100 and 500 series tractors, the Massey Ferguson 600 series was launched in 1981 as replacement for the aging 500.
However, the flagship 699, which took over the reins from the 595, did not arrive until 1984. Manufactured at the Banner Lane factory in Coventry, the 699 had a strong straight line appearance and provided farmers with a responsive and comfortable mid-range workhorse.
Although it produced the same horsepower as its stablemate—the 698T (4cyclinder turbo) the 699 is powered by 95hp Perkins A6.3544 6-cylinder engine which provided a platform with a long wheel base of 2.57m as well as a being a heavier tractor. Power is delivered to the wheels by a 12 speed synchromesh transmission using 3 floor mounted gear levers in the traditional between the legs position.
The middle gearstick-providing the high/low splitter-was a nice long lever making for swift on the move gear changes between the splitter gears. Multipower transmission was also a factory option.
To the rear of the tractor, twin assistor rams provide the muscle to lift a useful 3.6 tons. A nice addition is a ratchet-type handle to raise and lower the lift arms from the back of the tractor and a drawbar, stored on the back end, which is clipped onto the pick-up hitch.
The operator is seated perched high in the flat floor, brown cladded cab of the 699 with controls falling easily to hand.
The 699, as well as other the other later 600 series tractors, benefitted from many in cab improvements in comparison to their earlier siblings.
These included the handbrake located on the left of the seat, slatted cab steps, adjustable steering wheel as well as a sleeker dash gauges.
The spool valves and quadrant were akin to the 500 series to right of the seat. Unusually, the doors open forward exposing the operator to the wheel of the tractor.
However, the Achilles heel of the 600 series was the cab which was prone to rust.
Manufactured by SIAC of Italy, the front of the cab in particular was prone to rotting around the windows as well as the panels on the doors. Even the most carefully minded tractors can succumb to this corrosion.
The 600 series had a relatively short production run of 6 years with the 699 only manufactured for 3 of those.
Despite this, there is abundance of these tractors dotted around the Ireland which is a testament to their popularity and longevity.
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