Massey Harris was formed in 1891 in Toronto, Canada, and really got into tractor manufacture in the late 1920s. One of the earliest four-wheel-drive tractors was the Massey Harris General Purpose of 1930, and the Model 25 was a popular model through the 30s & 40s, as was the 101. The Massey Harris Challenger of 1936 was the last design to carry over the Wallis tractor green livery before the Red & Straw-yellow scheme became standard in the mid 1930s.
After W.W.II, the Challenger evolved into the Model 44, and was later joined by the 11, 20, 30 & 55. The 30 featured a 5-speed transmission and more than 32,000 were made before the 1953 merger with Ferguson. The tractor built in the highest volumes prior to the merger was the Pony which proved popular in overseas markets, but not in its home North American market where it was considered too small for many applications. Canadian production ceased in 1954, but production carried on in France from 1951 including a Hanomag diesel-engined 820 variant from 1957. It was revised again in 1959, becoming the 821. Total production exceeded 121,000 units over a 10-year period with 90,000 being produced in France.
The post-war Model 44 had been a big success in America with 90,000 being produced. This model became the 744 when European production commenced in Manchester in 1948 and later moved to Kilmarnock, although this was mainly assembly of imported components. Approximately 17,000 were made plus another 11,000 of the Perkins diesel-engined 745 before production ceased in 1957. That year also marked the company's renaming as Massey Ferguson.
Up to this point, Massey Harris had neglected tractor development in favour of its combine harvesters, but the merger suddenly elevated its position in the market place. For a number of years, the two ranges ran side-by-side as both names had loyal followers. For instance, the Ferguson 35 was revamped and sold under different names in both ranges.
After 1957, a unified range was presented under the Massey Ferguson banner, using a red-&-grey livery, the first of which was the MF35. MF50, 65 & 75 models followed, and the MF35 was updated to the more angular MF135 in the early 1970s. Other models followed suit and gradually through the 70s and 80s tractors increased in size, as indeed did the parallel range of combines. MF carried on Harry Ferguson's legacy of implement design with a comprehensive range of equipment, including muck-spreaders and balers.
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