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19 July 2022

ASHBROOK MD WOWED WITH SURPRISE 40TH BIRTHDAY PRESENT

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A life-long passion for machinery has led James Ashbrook to his current position as MD of a successful machinery hire, groundworks and specialist transport business- ASHBROOK Ltd.

As his 40th birthday loomed friends and colleagues joined forces to pull a special present together to mark the occasion; a fully restored Ford 4610.  It’s not a coincidence that the registration on this vehicle is 1982.  Arriving in the world in the same year as James!

In fact, it was purchased by the Ashbrook family from GW Lea in June of that year and was handed over by Geoff Richardson. The tractor remained a steady presence throughout James’s childhood on the family dairy farm.

This farm ‘work-horse’ was in regular use for many years, before retiring to a farm building in the 2000’s.

The restoration team

Restoration started in June 2019, by a formidable team of mechanical and bodywork experts who count themselves amongst friends, as well as colleagues of James’.  Everyone volunteered their spare time to make this special project happen and heartfelt thanks go to:

  • Neil, Keith & Gabi Baxter
  • Trevor & Ash Farrington and all the team- Trevor Farrington Ltd
  • Tom Farrington – ASHBROOK Ltd
  • Lee Baxter- Baxter Farms
  • Andy Gate – G8 Fabrication Ltd
  • Geoff Richardson Agri Engineering Ltd
  • Longton Coachcraft Ltd – Leyland
  • Paul Morris – Sandblasting Tarleton
  • Logan Mc Master – Tractor Cab Specialists
  • Ian Elliot Contractors – Longton
  • David Ainscough Engineering – Rufford
  • Rory Fleet- Fleet Engineering
  • Malpas Tractors – Lathom
  • John Roocroft- Siteglass Chorley

Like many things, the restoration was hindered by the Covid-19 pandemic, but fortunately still managed to make the March 22 deadline.

The restoration project

The plan was not to restore the Ford 4610 to be a concourse restoration but to complete it in a sympathetic manner as “it’s all about the man, not the metal”, e.g all the handles, steering wheel, gear levers, etc on the tractor have been re-used.  A particularly personalised element was the sympathetic restoration of the stop cable and the light switch which still show the original wear, a nod towards how often these were used!

Being able to access the expertise at Trevor Farrington Ltd was a huge contribution to the project which enabled all the original panels and other parts on the tractor to be maintained.

The original seat was repaired and recovered in the same material.  An important feature to maintain its originality. Apart from the wing and B post covers the interior of the cab is dressed using the original parts.  This has been possible as the floor mats and some of the inner panels were removed when the tractor was new and kept by Philip Ashbrook, James’ Uncle.

The front and rear wheels are the originals and predictably, required a significant amount of repair.  After months of searching for original Goodyear tyres and a bit of luck, a set was located.  Great news, allowing the team to stay as true as possible to the restoration.

The family have maintained an excellent relationship with Geoff Richardson now of G Richardson Agri Engineering Ltd. The fact that he was able to donate parts and knowledge is a wonderful element of this restoration.

As with all old vehicles, the joy of them is in the history they bring and the stories you can uncover.  Throughout the restoration, there was an occasional metallic-sounding noise coming from the tractor.  This intermittent noise really had the restorers flummoxed.  Neil Baxter tells the story, ‘whenever I stopped to try and locate the noise I could never find it, it was really puzzling.  Then one day, when removing the diesel tank to repair the steering box, I could hear the same noise coming from within it.  When I looked inside, low and behold, there were two fuel nozzles which must have fallen in over the years.  I wonder who the culprit was and how long they’ve been rattling around for?!’

Many hours of blood, sweat and tears have gone into this project and hopefully, many years of joy will be the result.  Neil concludes by saying, ‘it has been an honour and a pleasure to be involved in such a project which charts the progress of a tractor and a family.  However, please don’t volunteer me again I don’t think I could handle it!  Never sell it, keep it in the family as “it’s all about the man, not the metal”!’

James adds ‘I was blown away by the generosity and the sympathetic restoration of this tractor.  It’s like looking at a slice of my childhood and will be cherished.  A big thank you to everyone involved in the project, it’s certainly made my entrance into another decade that bit easier!’

Beginning of a Ford 4610 tractor restoration project
original seat from a Ford 4610 tractor in need of restoration
Original tax disc for a Ford 4610 tractor
Ford 4610 cab restoration
Fully restored Ford 4610 tractor
Fully restored Ford 4610 tractor

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