Jonathan Whitlam discovers what changes were made when this firm changed hands.

In 1973 the traditional David Brown colours of chocolate and orchid white were changed forever when the chassis and engine colour became Case Power Red.

David Brown was still a wholly British owned and run company when they revamped their entire range in 1971. The Selectamatic feature now lost its prominence as it was no longer displayed on the bonnet, something that had been a feature since this then revolutionary hydraulic system had been introduced back in 1965. Despite the omission of the Selectamatic name on the updated range, the tractors were still fitted with Selectamatic hydraulics which was still holding its place amongst the competition.

In 1972 the firm of David Brown Tractors was taken over by the American J.I. Case company. It took many years before any real difference became apparent except for the change to Case Power red for the engine, back end and wheel centres and the inclusion of a small Case badge from 1973. The company was no longer in British hands however, and eventually this would have severe repercussions – for now though tractor manufacture at Meltham in Yorkshire continued much as before.

The 885 was now the smallest tractor in the range, replacing the 780, with a 48hp three cylinder engine and twelve forward and four reverse gearbox.

Selectamatic hydraulics, dual category linkage, synchromesh on eight of the forward gears and a live 540 and 1000 rpm power take off were the tractors main features.

The 885 was also available as a narrow model for vineyard and orchard use. Not as common as the standard version, these are now fairly rare machines. The 990 now had the benefit of 58hp and could also boast the same features as fitted to the smaller 885.

For the full article see March's edition of Smallholder.