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FARM CLASSICS: JCB Fastrac satisfied need for speed

February 15th, 2024 8:00 PM

By Southern Star Team

FARM CLASSICS: JCB Fastrac satisfied need for speed Image
Killian Shorten’s JCB Fastrac on display at last year’s DeCourcey Vintage Club working day with Harbour View in the background – keen eyed readers will spot the Tim Sheehan-built silage trailer.

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THE term ‘Fastrac’ is associated with power, speed, and comfort and of course JCB. Having enjoyed outstanding success in the construction machinery industry, JCB’s ‘LandPower’ division dipped it’s toes into the highly competitive agricultural sector in the 80s with materials handling equipment.

However, the company veered in a radical direction in 1991 with the unveiling of its new high speed systems tractor: the JCB Fastrac.

While the concept of a tractor that could perform on both the field and the road was not entirely new, this was a completely new and adventurous gamble for JCB.

Their timing however could not have been better as Mercedes – who were the creators and sole contender in the high speed tractor niche – had just left the market, leaving the gap wide open for JCB.

The second generation Fastrac, the 1100 series, was launched in 1995 as lightweight alternative to the 185, 155, and 135 models. The 1100 series are narrower, lower and have a shorter wheelbase than their larger siblings, making them suited to a wider variety of work, in particular row crop work tasks such as spraying.

In fact, the load rear load deck has the same area as larger models and is capable of handling a 2000l spraying tank and 24m booms with ease.

The line-up consists of three tractors: the 1115S, 1125, and 1135.

All three are powered by a 6l turbocharged Perkins with the 1115S producing 115hp. The tractor weighs in at 5.2t with a 6t rear linkage capacity, 2.5t front linkage capacity and up to 3.2t loading weight on the rear deck. The 1100 series uses a sixspeed truck type gear box manufactured by Eaton, comprising of three ranges with a two-speed splitter providing 36F/12R gears.

Inheriting the dry heavy dry clutch from their predecessors, the 1100 series transmission ‘Selectoshift’ is strenuous on the operator, and can often be subject to abuse as well as premature wear.

On these models however, the brakes are hydraulically operated, governing the speed to 50km/hr. A newly designed cab provides great forward and side visibility however rear visibility of implements is hindered due to the cabs centre mounted nature.

While the Fastracs 50kph speed is of substantial benefit, the ace up its sleeve lays the four corners of the tractor where a combination of large coil springs, torsion bars, dampers and hydro suspension provide a smooth ride.

The 1100 series saw the introduction of JCB’s innovative four-wheel steer-known as ‘Quadtronic’. This offered no fewer than five steering options including crab, delay and true tracking, all selected from a touch button control panel on the right-hand pillar.

• Contact Peter at [email protected] or see Instagram @flashphotoscork

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