Antique Ford Tractors
By the time that Ford Motor Company began producing tractors with the Ford name, Fordson tractors had been around for over twenty years. Fordson, short for Henry Ford and Son Company, was created by Henry Ford because the members of the Ford Motor Company weren’t quite ready to invest in tractor production. The Model T was relatively new, and they didn’t want to take away from its success. Henry gained complete control of Ford Motor Company in 1920, but kept the name Fordson going since it was successful.
Toward the end of the 1930s, Fordson had begun to drop from having the most market share to not very much. Henry was looking for any fix to this problem, and Harry Ferguson became that fix. Ferguson went to visit Henry with a new Ferguson-Brown tractor that had not yet been mass produced. Henry was very interested in this new tractor, and the two made a deal. Henry said that Ford would use the patents and design a new tractor, as well as manufacture it. Ferguson’s part of the deal was that he would market the new tractor.
The tractor that was the spawn of this deal became the Ford 9N, and was released in 1939. The Ford 9N, and the next model, the Ford 2N, were very popular, but Ford wasn’t making much profit. In fact, they were losing money. By 1945, however, Henry was in his 80s and not in the best of health. His grandson Henry Ford Jr. took over the company, and wanted to find the root of the problem. Everything lead to Ferguson. Because of the handshake agreement, and no lawyers being involved, there were some legality problems, but eventually things would be taken care of, and Henry Jr. would finally gain complete control of their future tractors.
Finally, in 1947, the first tractor designed and released under the new Ford, the 8N, made its public debut. This was similar to the 9N, but with many updates. The 8N was extremely successful, selling over 100,000 in its first year alone. Profit was finally coming in for Ford, and this would continue for decades. Ford would continue producing new models of tractors until the late 1970s. In the early 1990s, however, Ford Motor Company sold the tractor division to Fiat Agri.