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Wednesday, 18 January 2012 10:17

rareJohn Fensome’s extensive collection of Allis-Chalmers equipment went under the hammer at Horner’s yard, Quarry Farm, Bromham, Bedfordshire, in a sale organised by Alexanders. Allis-Chalmers were first assembled in the UK at Totton, Southampton, from 1948 and at the former Minneapolis-Moline works at Essendine.

However the crawlers were pure American manufacture. There had not been a selection of this amount of the Persian Orange coloured machines offered in the UK for at least 25 years and that didn’t feature many crawlers at all. Unfortunately the stock was just as John had bought it and had rather gone downhill over the past ten years. The sale attracted a good amount of people to bid for the crawlers which were made at the Springfield Tractor Work, Illinois, which covered a 150-acre site at one time. Allis got into the crawler game by taking over Monarch in 1925, and Ryan Manufacturing in 1931. Then after the Second World War, LePlant Choate came along and shortly afterwards Buda Manufacturing, then Baker Manufacturing and lastly Tractomotive in 1959

Machinery Division, as it was named, later on. Ryan had provided graders, LePlant Choate motor scrapers-graders plus bulldozing equipment. From Buda it was engines, Baker bulldozing equipment and from Tractomotive it was loaders. It was great to see the line-up of Allis- Chalmers crawlers with a full range of Ms, a model first introduced in 1932, which was to be in production for ten years. It was upgraded with a larger engine in 1937 and a good number ended up in the military, like one example in the sale that was rebuilt to civilian application. It was to make the most money as well at £1,600. However, the sound of all those General RARE ALLIS-CHALMERS COLLECTION SELLS Motors two-stroke engines together was looked forward to, especially hearing the HD-5, HD-7 and HD-10. In fact they did all eventually start, but at different times, all courtesy of Easy Start. The smaller GM 2-71 48bhp in the HD-5 sold for £4,000.

48bhp in the HD-5 sold for £4,000. These crawlers normally make around £6,000, but of course this one was not in pristine order and one of 29,255 built. It was a model made by Allis from 1946-55 and was the smallest crawler it offered. The HD-7 with its GM 3-71 69bhp engine was a more popular machine during its ten-year production life and featured the ‘Positive Seal’ tracks (lubrication) and used bi-metallic Velve-Touch steering clutches. This model was very popular with the US military and more so than the larger HD-10, however in preservation it’s the other way around. Next door was its bigger brother HD-10, which carried a US Army plate and was a popular machine in the UK after the Second World War.

Many a burgeoning plant and construction contractor started out with these machines, either with a Baker blade on the front or by pulling a scraper box. The HD-10 needed work but was running and is said to have been part of a cancelled order to Russia, as the requirement was for a front winch. The winch fitted snugly into the lower section of the front grille, which was pushed in at the bottom for this purpose to happen. At the sale the HD-10 was sold for £3,700. Although one would have hoped for higher prices, presentation can be a key matter in such circumstances, but that was not the case here. At least the weather was dry and bright at this very interesting of sales for the plant collector.