Jim Clark’s tractor brought back to its beautiful best

Bill Campbell, Graham Campbell and Bob Smith with the restored Case tractor previously owed by Jim Clark
Bill Campbell, Graham Campbell and Bob Smith with the restored Case tractor previously owed by Jim Clark

A Case tractor shipped to Britain from America during World War 2 has been lovingly restored to its former glory after lying derelict for decades.

The bright orange tractor arrived at Rutherford of Coldstream’s agricultural machinery premises under the Lend Lease Act - America’s contribution to Britain’s war effort - and was sold to James Clark of Edington Estate (father of the late Jim Clark, racing driver).

'Before' pictures of the Jim Clark tractor restoration project

'Before' pictures of the Jim Clark tractor restoration project

During the period between WW1 and WW2 Britain was importing a relatively high proportion of its food but once war broke out food shipments declined and Britain was forced to start ploughing up the land and producing its own food.

Both agricultural labour and machinery were in short supply and the US helped out by shipping over tractors to work in Britain’s fields. The Case tractor that arrived at Rutherford of Coldstream was one of that shipment.

“The tractor was originally supplied with spud wheels but was converted to rubber tyres,” explained Graham Campbell, who along with his father Bill and neighbour Bob Smith restored the tractor.

“The tractor was used on the farm in every day farm work until the late 50s when it was used to drive a sawmill on the estate.”

The restored Case tractor previously owed by Jim Clark's family

The restored Case tractor previously owed by Jim Clark's family

Bill Campbell worked on the Clark family farm and as a long serving employee he was given the tractor when he retired, in return for son Graham providing engineering services.

The tractor was stripped down and partially renovated in 1980, up to a point where it was in operating condition. However, until a couple of months ago it has been in storage despite Graham’s brother coming back from a visit to America with a parts book from a Case dealership.

When Bob Smith, an engineer who worked for Rutherford of Coldstream for many years before staring B&R Motors with his son Brian, offered to help the restoration project went into overdrive.

“Bob has done a wonderful job on it,” explained Graham.

“I’ve done a lot of cars up in my time but never a tractor,” said Bob. The parts book brought over from America came in very useful and meant they were able to order certain parts to be shipped over to be used in the restoration project.

The distinctive orange paint work of the tractor was revitalised by taking a part from the machine over to a specialist in Galashiels to get an exact match, the finishing touches were done and now the Case tractor is taking its place amongst the vintage vehicles seen at shows and events across the region.

It’s first outing was at last weekend’s Border Vintage Agricultural Association Rally at Kelso and it is likely to be making appearances at other event such as the Yetholm show during the summer months.