The UK auction record for a vintage or classic tractor was smashed at Cheffins October Vintage Sale when the iconic 1903 Ivel Agricultural Motor sold for £328,600.
Billed beforehand as the most important tractor ever to come to auction, the Ivel’s appearance drew a huge crowd to Cheffins’ Saleground in Sutton, with tractor enthusiasts travelling from all over the UK, Ireland and Europe to see the sale.
They were not disappointed. Cheffins Chairman and auctioneer Bill King took a first bid of £100,000 from the assembled crowd and there was spirited bidding before 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.
Just eight complete examples of the Ivel Agricultural Motor, which was built in Biggleswade, Bedfordshire, are known worldwide and four of those are in museum collections.
The Ivel has tremendous provenance which is detailed in a book published in 2003 written by his previous owner, John Moffitt, a much-respected 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. In 1970, Moffitt acquired the Ivel among a collection of tractors he purchased from Derek Hackett of Ross on Wye, a firm 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, John 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 surpassed a further two times on the day in what was the strongest collection of tractors that Cheffins has catalogued in recent years.
The 1982 County 1884 – the holy grail for many collectors of classic tractors – 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.
Bill King, chairman of Cheffins who conducted the sale, said: “This was one of the strongest collections of tractors we have ever catalogued and we saw exceptional trade.
“To break the previous auction record for a vintage or classic tractor three times on the day is remarkable.
“The undoubted highlight was obviously the Ivel. It was a huge privilege for all of us at Cheffins to offer this once in a lifetime opportunity to buy such an iconic and famous tractor and we are delighted to achieve such a deserving figure.
“The price exceeded our pre-sale estimate and there was a tremendous buzz and anticipation during the sale.”