Expedition South will see two vintage Ferguson TEA-20 tractors and a modern Massey Ferguson MF5600 make the 2012km journey from the Hillary Trail at Piha to Aoraki/Mount Cook.
The Little Grey Fergie
The TE-20 tractor from Harry Ferguson, now famously known as the ‘Little Grey Fergie’ has a history like no other tractor.
The name, stemming from its power (20 horsepower) and origin (England) evolved from a TE-20 to the more commonly and colloquially known ‘Little Grey Fergie’ for its pioneering automatic control technology. For the time, automatic control was a technology that led the way forward for the agriculture industry. Now, automatic control is employed by almost all tractor manufacturers world-wide.
Its celebrated history was also thanks to Sir Ed's 'dash to the Pole', becoming the first vehicle to reach the South Pole. The fleet of seven tractors were reliable and effective, capable of climbing a 1-in-7 slope of hard polished ice, somewhere man cannot walk without crampons – a traction device. They were also successful of full operation in conditions less than -23 degrees Celsius.
How the tractors were specified for the ice:
Some of the fleet was supplied as half-tracks with steerable front skis
Others on the trek were fitted with an extra wheel on either side and encased in Caterpillar tracks. The tracks were easily removed in light conditions for the tractors to be driven normally
Canvas cabins were added as protection from the wind
2 were even fitted with loaders to help load and unload supplies
Other than this, they were totally standard.
How the Expedition South tractors are specified for New Zealand roads:
The tracks on the wheels have been removed
Roll bars, lights, indicators and seat belts have been added for safety
A more modern and ergonomic seat has replaced the metal seat
A canvas cab has been specifically constructed to protect the drivers from the weather
A frame has been constructed on the back to carry tools and spare fuel
All her life, Tractor Girl Manon Ossevoort had a dream to take a tractor somewhere there had not been a war, and in 2014 a return to the South Pole by tractor was made possible by this dream and with the help of a Massey Ferguson 5600 Series.
The MF5600 Series sets industry standards in engine power and torque, combining great performance with low fuel consumption. An exact replica of Tractor Girl's machine will travel with the two vintage TE-20s throughout Expedition South.
The following modifications were made to the Antarctica2 tractors:
Trelleborg and Massey Ferguson worked together to develop bespoke tyre technology to provide better fuel economy and a more comfortable ride on the ice
An additional heating system and added thermal protection was fitted to the cab to protect the driver
The grille was modified for larger are intakes and shaped slightly differently to avoid ice build up
To maintain oil temperature and avoid it from becoming too viscous, the engineers added Webasto technology and glycol tubes around the engine
The cab floor was fitted with extra thermal protection to guard and keep the electronics of the tractor safe
Other than this, the tractor is totally standard.