1956 Allis Chalmers Model B Tractor  Chassis no. EB5460

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Lot 158
1956 Allis Chalmers Model B Tractor
Registration no. VPW 565 Chassis no. EB5460

Sold for £ 1,610 (US$ 2,114) inc. premium
1956 Allis Chalmers Model B Tractor
Registration no. VPW 565
Chassis no. EB5460
George Milligen had studied natural sciences at Cambridge and decided to make his career in farming. He chose to farm in east Norfolk because he had been advised that the soil there was very good – in his words, “the Garden of Eden”. Realising that the future of farming lay in mechanisation, he began farming in 1933 with three tractors, and was an enthusiastic user of farm machinery. He chose to preserve this Allis Chalmers Model B first registered in 1956, with the optional Perkins P3 diesel engine, as part of his collection, for this was a landmark tractor, styled by that great American industrial designer Brooks Stevens, famed for his influence on transportation design.

Stevens designed the Model B for Allis Chalmers of Wisconsin in 1937 and it remained in production until 1957. Offering “thrifty farm power”, it was the first streamlined tractor, and in its distinctive orange livery was described as “pretty enough to drive to church”. It was claimed to be the world’s first tractor to be sold fitted exclusively with pneumatic tyres, without the option of steel wheels, and proved to be one of the best all-round tractors in the 20 hp range. Though its slender backbone frame made the Model B look a relative lightweight, in fact its 1500-lb drawbar pulling capacity exceeded that of many of its more rugged-looking rivals.
In 1947 British production of the Allis Chalmers Model B began at a factory in Totton, near Southampton, using components imported from the USA. Later, locally-sourced parts were used until finally the British-market Model B was totally UK built at Essendine in Leicestershire, incorporating castings from Bean Industries, sheet metal from Rubery Owen and ENV or Moss transmissions. This Allis Chalmers is one of those British-built tractors from the very end of production, its “EB” chassis serial no doubt denoting “English B”.

But innovative good looks were not enough for the British-built Allis Chalmers: the famed “little grey Fergie” – the Ferguson TE 20 - was setting the standard and the Model B became uncompetitive. British production of the Model B ceased in 1955, two years before American manufacture of this iconic model ended after more than 125,000 units had been sold.
1956 Allis Chalmers Model B Tractor  Chassis no. EB5460
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25% of the hammer price of amounts in excess of £2,500 up to and including £300,000;
20% of the hammer price of amounts in excess of £300,000 up to and including £3,000,000;
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