Milestone for Inter fan Peter

THIS year has special significance for Wagin transport business owner Peter Spurr.

He is celebrating 25 years as a vintage machinery collector, juggling a fleet of 10 Spurry’s Transport trucks and a staff of 14, with an inherent desire to spend more time restoring his vintage machinery.

A self-confessed “Inter fan”, he grew up on the local family farm with a love of being around tractors.

He cut his proverbial teeth on a Fiat 513R pulling a 14 tyne bridle draft scarifier as a young boy and became captured by the noise of the tractor and the smell of diesel.

Over the years he has travelled throughout Australia looking for machinery associated with International Harvester, which also built trade-marked models named McCormick Deering.

Mr Spurr was set to be one of many Vintage Tractor & Machinery Association of WA (Trachmach) members supporting the annual Lights on the Hill field day at Brunswick on Saturday, April 18.

It was postponed on Monday because of the Covid-19 virus.

His contribution would have been International 274, 504, D-514 and 560 models built between the 1960 and 1980.

The 274 was bought by Mr Spurr at an auction last year.

“There’s not too many of them in Australia,” Mr Spurr said.

“It was a 1980 model and has only clocked up 335 hours.

“It has got a 1.6 litre three-cylinder Nissan engine built by Komatsu, Japan, under licence from International Harvester Company.

“It was a handy high clearance tractor in its day.”

His 1962 Farmall 560 diesel tractor is the only one in Australia with an International Harvester C236 motor, essentially a six cylinder truck engine.

“It develops 63 horsepower (47 kiloWatts) and has a quick hitch belt pulley, live PTO, discs brakes and a torque amplifier,” Mr Spurr said.

“The torque amplifier was the very early system of Hi-Lo gears.”

This Case 900 model is one of Mr Spurr’s purchases he made last year. “It really only needs the diesel and oil leaks to be fixed and a new paint job,” he said. “Then it’ll be as good as new.” The 900 was made in 1957 and was different from other models with an integrated rotary injection pump.

The 1958 and 59 models had an inline injection pump.

Mr Spurr also has a penchant for vintage hay gear and every year he holds a hay demonstration day on his property of vintage hay gear in action, including sickle mowers, rakes and balers.

One of his treasures is a Horwood Bagshaw stationary baler (circa 1920s), which he bought in January along with a McCormick-International 46 wire-tie small square baler.

The stationary baler required two people to operate it – one to pitch hay into the collection chamber and then side-step to help push needles through the resultant bale for a two-string tie.

About 500 small square bales could be produced a day, a far cry from today’s modern balers that can achieve that mark in about 40 minutes.

It is still in working order and is driven by a Moffat Virtue engine, made by Moffat Virtue Pty Ltd, Rosebery, New South Wales.

The company made small petrol engines that performed several tasks on farms and in factories in the mid 20th Century.

On many farms, they replaced windmills as the power source for water pumping, because they were cheaper to buy and more convenient to maintain than windmills.