WHEN he retired from trucking in 1995, Bill Critchlow, Melita, Manitoba, became a tractor collector – in a big way.
He bought up old Fords and Fergusons and began restoring them. His collection of restored tractors grew to about 40.
After doing that many “straight” restorations, Critchlow branched out into the unusual. His first non-standard restoration involved putting a truck engine into a Ford 8N.
Then he hit on the idea of pairing up two restored 8Ns to make a double tractor. “It wasn’t that difficult,” he insists.
After first restoring the two 1948 tractors, Critchlow removed the front ends and built a new longer front axle by cutting the ends from the existing axles and attaching them to the ends of an axle from a third tractor. He put supports under the two engines, positioned about a foot apart, and added a centre pivot point for the new axle halfway between them.
To merge the rear ends, he cut both axles and axle housings in the same place (but on opposite sides) so he left both differentials and transmissions intact. He then welded the remaining axles and housings from each tractor together. He rebuilt the steering so both steering wheels work. And he connected the rear brake cables to the brake pedals on both tractors so one person can drive them both.
This gave him two 8Ns sitting side by side on a single set of front and rear axles. “There are two of nearly everything – two seats, two steering wheels, two transmissions, two clutches, two clutch pedals, and two throttles,” he says. Of course, with the engines there are also two batteries, two generators and two starters. And at the back, there are two PTOs and two 3-point hitches.”
This wonderful machine will be on display at Tullamore Show on Sunday, August 11.