Vintage Harvest Machinery Rally 2018

By: Viv Haldane, Photography by: Viv Haldane

vintage weekend Vintage Harvest Machinery Rally held in Carterton vintage weekend
rusty farnall Rusty it may be but this Farmall is still chugging along rusty farnall
john deere An early John Deere john deere
trimmed hedge Need your hedge trimmed? trimmed hedge
hay thrashing pg Vintage Harvest Machinery Rally 2018 hay thrashing pg
IMG 0167 Irish built, 1929 Fordson IMG 0167
IMG 0193 Comfy ride IMG 0193
IMG 0177 Ian McSporran and his 1950 Cat D4 IMG 0177
peterbuilt A mighty Peterbilt peterbuilt
IMG 0050 Tracey from Featherston quite likes the 1925 Foden steam truck IMG 0050
vintage van Vintage van vintage van
mack Dalefield Transport’s 1991 Mack RB689RST mack
topkick 1980 GMC Topkick topkick

Machinery of a bygone era came out for the Vintage Harvest Machinery Rally held in Carterton on 3 and 4 February

Having poked in every nook and cranny to admire vintage trucks, tractors, fire engines, and various demonstrations—a thresher in action, a team of Clydesdales, shearing and spinning, line dancing, and blacksmithing—we needed to draw breath before wandering off to see what else was on offer.

Therefore, a hay bale was a welcome perch to sit and view the parade of different machines, from bulldozers to traction engines, trucks, and everything in-between. The two-day Vintage Harvest Machinery Rally was well organised by the Wairarapa Vintage Machinery Club. Rally convener Mike Slater says the event went without a hitch and was well received by everyone.

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"Everyone enjoyed it and we had good feedback on how much variety there was," he says. "Our plan was to have parades and lots moving all the time so people could see how the machines operated. We had visitors and exhibitors from all over the North Island."

The 1890 Clayton and Shuttleworth threshing machine drew a large crowd. As it clonked away spitting out a massive shower of oats, onlookers weren’t deterred. In fact, it just added to the drama. Powered by a Burrell traction engine, the thresher was operated by a team of eight to nine men working hard on each stage of the operation.

Mike owns both the Burrell traction engine and the threshing machine. "The thresher was passed on to me by my father who worked for a contractor, who gave the machine to him," he says. "It’s in excellent condition considering its age, and we do regular maintenance to ensure it stays like that."

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Mike says the thresher works on the same principle as today’s new combines. "It has an elevator and straw is hand-fed into that before going into a threshing drum. Grain is separated out from the straw, which travels out through the elevator. Grain then goes through a series of sieves and screens into bags. Any sort of grain can be harvested with this."

Another drawcard was a rare 1925 steam-powered Foden truck. Originally from Wairarapa, it now resides in Canterbury and was transported especially for the show.

"It was used for farm work and had a tipping deck, so it also carted metal from the river to building sites in Masterton such as the old town hall. It was a real workhorse and did a lot of work in the district."

Built to last

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Mike, who is a farmer, has quite a collection of vintage machinery and is currently restoring a W6 International tractor.

One of his favourite machines is his Burrell traction engine. "You have to have be reasonably skilful to be able to drive it. It’s a great old machine, and as long as they are looked after, they’ll still be going strong in another hundred years. They were built to last."

The bulldozers—the biggest being a 1952 D8—also had a cluster of fans around them.
Included in the line-up were some rare tractors such as a 1929 Irish-built Fordson rescued in 1971 from under trees at Ruakokoputuna, near Martinborough and now well restored. While many were restored, some were still in their original state with evidence of much hard work intact; that in itself gave a fascinating glimpse into their history.

Truck spotting

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Some of the trucks we noticed were a 1991 Mack RB689 logging truck owned by Dalefield Transport, Carterton; a 1980 GMC Top Kick owned by Alan Mayo of Te Horo; and two blue Macks owned by Drapers Earthmoving in Porirua.

Driver Jaimie Larn told us they’d had a breakdown on the Rimutaka hills, making it a six-hour trip from Wellington to Carterton. Undaunted, he described the experience as character-building. Another machine that stood out from the crowd was a homemade contraption smothered in handwriting. Its owner obviously had a lot to say.

Named Lil’ blue Rat Buggy, it is made up of a weird assortment of parts, having apparently started life as a 1950 Bedford truck.

Rat -buggy

Mike says the event attracted around 1200 visitors on each day. The next one won’t be until 2022 (it’s held every four years) but there will be similar shows in other parts of the country.

Check out our video from the Harvest Machinery Rally 2018

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