David Brown tractors really came about as a result of Harry Ferguson's involvement with the Huddersfield company in the 1930s. At the time they specialised in gear manufacture, and initially made gearboxes and later complete tractors for Ferguson using Coventry Climax engines. Production ceased in 1939 because Ferguson wanted to cut costs and increase power, and was talking to Henry Ford as regards manufacture.
David Brown then started to manufacture a tractor of its own design with a hydraulic lift, the VAK-1. This was reintroduced in an improved form after the war, and in 1947 the Cropmaster was introduced, with a diesel-engined variant in 1949. These tractors are famous for their twin-seats, just large enough for a farmer and his dog, and their upswept cowling in front of the steering-wheel, designed to keep the cold air from the driver's hands. Industrial, forestry and tow-tug variants such as the Taskmaster were also produced, very often with winches and extra ballast.
The 2D model was introduced at the Smithfield Show in 1955. With the engine behind the driver, and with an underslung toolbar or reversible ploughs, it was designed for row-crop work where the operator could see exactly what he was doing without having to turn round. Only 2000 were made during a 6-year production run but this accounted for a large proportion of the market it was aimed at. Other similar machines were made by Allis Chalmers and Garner.
The basic design remained largely unaltered until 1956 when the 900 was introduced, but this was replaced by the 950 in 1958, with both diesel and petrol-engined variants, and in turn superseded by the 880 in 1962. In 1960 the smaller 850 was introduced and this in turn was replaced by the 770 in 1965. Throughout this period the basic livery was Hunting Pink with blue wheels and radiator on the 900, and yellow trim on the later 850 and 880 models.
David Brown also produced approximately 2000 tractors for export and sale to the Oliver Corporation in a green and white livery, manufactured in the 1960s. The David Brown company was taken over by Case in 1972 with the some of the existing range revamped and painted primarily in white, with municipal or industrial models usually in yellow. Factory-fitted cabs were introduced soon after. Gradually more powerful models were introduced such as the 995 and 1220. In later years, the livery changed again to Case red and the David Brown name was dropped in the late 1980s.
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