Friday, 26 April 2024 09:55

Factory clocks up 60 years

Written by  Mark Daniel
Basildon New Holland plant commemorates six decades of production with special edition tractor. Basildon New Holland plant commemorates six decades of production with special edition tractor.

There can't be many heavy metal fans who haven’t heard of Basildon, situated about 40km east of London and originally created in 1948 to deal with the population boom after the Second World War.

At the heart of its industrial area, the Basildon tractor plant this year celebrates its 60th anniversary, and to mark the occasion New Holland has made a special, one-off version of the T7.300, that will be on display at exhibitions throughout the year.

Following a tradition that began with the Silver Jubilee 7810 in 1989 and the Golden Jubilee T6.180 and T7.270 tractors in 2014, the graphics on the T7.300 were created by CNH Centro Stile.

The livery is inspired by the colours and patterns of ‘Swinging 60s’ London, the time of psychedelia characterised by vivid hues of blue, yellow, maroon and pink across the hood and interior upholstery.

Setting out to modernise the production processes possible at its existing car and tractor plant at nearby Dagenham, the company was encouraged to develop a dedicated tractor facility on a 40ha greenfield.

Work began on April1960 to be completed in February 1964, with the opening coinciding with the launch of the 37-65hp Ford 6X tractor series, to be followed over time by the 7A1 ‘600 series’ tractors in 1975, that delivered the 2600 to the 7600 models, and the similar new quiet ‘Q cab’ the following year.

In 1981, these were updated to the Series 10, with later Force II (1986) and Generation III (1989) evolutions. Late 1991 saw the launch of the 40 series that would later be sold with new branding when Fiat purchased the Ford New Holland agricultural equipment business that year and adopted New Holland as its brand for the future.

Subsequently the plant produced New Holland TS, TM, T6000 and T7000 tractor lines, and today manufactures the T6 and T7 ranges, spanning 125-300hp. Today the plant is the only volume tractor producer in the UK, with a completed tractor rolling off the production line every five minutes, with over 10,000 different specification possibilities and around 85% exported around the world.

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