‘Most important tractor ever to come to auction in the UK’ sells for a record-breaking £328,600
- Credit: Archant
A 1903 Ivel Agricultural Motor – described as the most important tractor ever to come to auction in the UK – sold for over £328,000 at Sutton near Ely.
The tractor fetched a staggering 64 per cent increase on its initial £200,000 estimate when it was offered for sale at Cheffins' vintage sale.
The 24hp tractor is one of only eight examples of the Ivel still known to exist across the world - and four of these are in museums.
Historian Stuart Gibbard has written the history of the Ivel and says its importance to early tractor history "cannot be overstated".
Cheffins chairman and auctioneer Bill King took a first bid of £100,000 before interest escalated and the gavel came down in favour of a telephone bidder. The Ivel will be remaining in the UK but the buyer wishes to remain anonymous.
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The history of the Ivel is detailed in a book written by his previous owner John Moffitt, who is a cattle breeder, agricultural entrepreneur and vintage tractor collector.
The research for the book found that this model - No. 131 - was used and exhibited at the Royal Agricultural Show in London in 1903.
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In 1970, Moffitt acquired the Ivel among a collection of tractors he purchased from Derek Hackett of Ross on Wye, a friend through their shared interest in early machinery.
It has appeared in the National Tractor & Farm Museum, the Beamish Museum and been exhibited at various events over the years.
To celebrate the Ivel's centenary in 2003, Mr Moffitt embarked on a 100-mile charity drive on the Ivel around the country which raised £120,142 for charity.
Following John's death in 2008, the Ivel has been exhibited at various events and featured in various publications.
The previous record price for a classic or vintage tractor of £94,500 was beaten twice on the day.
The 1982 County 1884 sold for £139,920, while a 1980 County 1474 brought the hammer down at £99,640.
Estimates suggest there are no more than 20 County 1884s in preservation and this machine was in superb condition and just two owners from new with 3,833 hours only recorded