What a sweetie!

Photo of Farmall Cub tractor


This little guy was rusting in a paddock near Bushy Park, Whanganui, until Bill Darbyshire rescued it.   “I had to buy a hay baler to get the engine out and brought it home in bits and pieces,” he told Annette Taylor.

The Farmall Cub was built by the International Harvester Company to replace horses on what were called one-horse farms in America.

“That’s why they’re small. They’d work the implements that one horse would normally manage. One interesting thing is that this tractor was sold here in 1947. We know that because my mate was born in 1947 and his dad told me – the tractor and Hector arrived at the same time.

“Americans will say that’s not right. They weren’t sold until 1948, but our growing season is six months different in New Zealand. This is one of the early ones, bought just after the war.”Photo of vintage tractor

Hector’s father’s truck had been requested for the war effort and he couldn’t get it back. “This little Cub was the first thing he was able to buy after the war. He took the milk to the factory with it for many years – well, they only do seven miles an hour flat-out, I guess it was faster than a horse but only just!”

And his mate Hector learned to drive on it – “when he could just stand up and reach the pedals.”

The tractor has been put to good use since being rescued in the 1980s. “The kids had many rides up and down our road and it’s the favourite of my grandsons.”

Bill takes it to shows and events around the Waikato where vintage machinery is appreciated and says it’s as popular as ever.

“I let kids climb over it and my other tractors, pretty much. One little hound smashed one of the glass instruments on a bigger tractor – it’s annoying, but you don’t penalise them all, not the spirit of things. Kids don’t want to look at something, they want to climb all over it.”


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Number 8 Network - a community website for the rural areas northeast of Hamilton, NZ, is run by Gordonton journalist/editor Annette Taylor.

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