Massive machines will make this auction ‘sale of the year’

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A STEAM traction engine immortalised in a series of models will be the star lot in the auction of an amazing collection of historic vehicles.

The William Allchin-built engine Royal Chester was exhibited at the 1925 Chester show and went on to be the subject of thousands of scale models made by W J Hughes. It is expected to fetch £110,000 to £130,000 when it comes up for sale on September 17 at an auction of the late Peter Fordham’s collection at Badwell Ash.

Mr Fordham died in January after a lifetime working with heavy earth moving machinery. Born in 1938, his first job was with Caterpillar agent Peter Woozley at Banham. He worked on earthmovers building the M1 in the late 1950s. After time as an instructor with the Royal Engineers he worked for other contractors.

Naturally, Caterpillar vehicles were the foundation of his collection, but it also includes items ranging in size from cast iron implement seats to two traction engines.

The other traction engine is a less romantic Walsh & Clark Victoria with a two-cylinder four-stroke petrol/paraffin engine. The company made just 25 Victorias and this was the only one not fitted with underslung cable ploughing drum for pulling ploughs across fields.

Smaller rarities include a 1941 David Brown DB4 tracked tractor thought to be one of only 10 in the UK and a 1942 Fordson N Roadless full track. The DB4 was a Caterpillar design built in Britain under licence from the American company.

Almost 700 lots also include a good selection of classic tractors from the top British makers Turner, Marshall and Fowler, plus farm implements.

There are also three road vehicles: a 1950 AEC Monarch lorry in need of restoration, a fully restored Albion Chieftain lorry or the same period and an immaculate 1955 Land Rover Series One, lacking only a canvas hood.

The sale is being conducted by Cheffins whose auctioneer Bill King said: “This auction is likely to be regarded as one of the sales of the year for its eclectic mix of steam and diesel and one of the largest collections of cast iron implement seats. It is guaranteed to attract collectors from across the UK and further afield.”

Catalogues can be downloaded from Cheffin’s website at or bought from them at £7 each by post. For further information contact the Cheffins Vintage team on 01223 213777.