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Friday, 24 May 2019 10:53

‘D’ is for a very dear Doe!

Written by  Mark Daniel
This 1968 Doe 130 tractor sold for $NZ141,000 at the Cambridge Vintage Auction in the UK. This 1968 Doe 130 tractor sold for $NZ141,000 at the Cambridge Vintage Auction in the UK.

The success of a recent UK auction of 1960s tractors should be a prompt to see what’s lurking in the gloom of your old machinery shed.

At the Cambridge Vintage Auction, a 1968 Doe 130 tractor sold for GBP 71,000 (NZ$141,000) with an additional 5% buyer’s premium on top. 

The tandem tractor (serial number D663) was based on bringing together two well-known Ford 5000 tractors. The auctioned machine was reckoned among the last of the 130s to be made.

Its provenance was even more interesting. It was sold new to George Pryor, of Navestock, Essex. He was the farmer and inventor whose original concept led to the famous Doe Triple-D tractor.

The 130 designation reflects the combined horsepower of the two 65hp Pre-Force Ford 5000 skid units. The first of these units was launched in 1964 when the Doe 130 retailed for GBP2850 (NZ$5700). It was a roaring success, with 73 sold in 1965, of which 14 were exported.

Production of the 130 ended in 1968 by which time 170 units had been built. Then demand dropped away as mainstream tractor manufacturers began selling their own higher horsepower machines. 

After 1968 only three new tandem tractors were built, in this case using Ford Force 5000 ‘skids’ of 75hp, resulting in the Doe 150 model.

The original tractors emerged from George Pryor’s experiments in 1957 to bring together two Fordson Major tractors around a central pivot point. His large acreages of heavy Essex clay soils spurred him into developing a powerful 4WD tractor.

The tractor performed beyond expectations and Pryor, then a customer of local dealer Ernest Doe and Son, received a visit from Ernest Charles Doe. They agreed to put the tractor into production.

The first production machines were based on Fordson Power Major ‘skids’ and launched in 1958 as the Doe Dual Power. In 1959 the tractors were re-badged as Doe Dual Drive, leading to the now familiar Triple-D for short.

George Pryor kept the original tractor, which was extensively modified, for 10 years. Then he and his brother each bought a Triple-D in 1961, followed by the auctioned Doe 130 in 1968.

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