TRACTOR TALK

1962 FORD 2000

The early 1960s brought a lot of changes to the worldwide Ford ag equipment manufacturing empire. Ford announced a new organization, Ford Tractor Operations, in March of 1961. The goal was to consolidate all of global Ford’s ag manufacturing into one organization, under one name. As a result the British Fordson name would disappear and new tractors would follow a standardized pattern and identity worldwide under the Ford banner. The operation would culminate in 1964 with a new line of worldwide tractors, finally replacing the unique American Ford and British Fordson designs. England would build the small tractors for all markets and the U.S. operation would build the bigger stuff, again for all markets.

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The Fordson organization in Britain had been a vital part of the Ford ag empire almost from it’s 1917 inception. The core of Fordson would become an equally vital part of Ford tractor operations after the name was retired. Between the advent of Ford Tractor Operations and the new Worldwide Tractors, the operation would rebadge Fordson tractors and gradually push away from the Fordson identity. Case in point, the 1962 Ford 2000 Super Dexta highlighted in this story.

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The engine was a mix of design features from Fordson and Perkins. It was a three-cylinder with dry sleeves, four main bearings and a 3.6 x 5.0 inch bore and stroke, making 152 cubic inches. The bore was 0.100-in. larger than the 144 ci Dexta. Flywheel power of the Super Dexta was 43, but grew to 45 in just a couple of years. Most of the extra power is derived from the extra displacement plus spinning the engine up from 2000 to 2250 rpm. Both variations used a Simms inline pump but the Super Dexta was mechanically governed versus hydraulically. A glow system was used and the Super Dexta was a reasonably good cold-starter.

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The Ford 2000 Super Dexta debuted in the U.S.A. for 1962 as a renamed Fordson Super Dexta, an evolution of the 1957-61 Fordson Dexta. That was strange because there was also an American-built Ford 2000 four-cylinder tractor (gas or diesel) for 1962 which replaced the Workmaster 501, 601 and 701 series tractors. The American unit was a completely different tractor than the Super Dexta 2000, sharing only the same blue and Gray paint and the “Ford 2000” decal. Well, I guess we could call it a moment of schizophrenia before the big consolidation.

Like the earlier Dexta, the Super Dexta had a diesel that was a bit of a hybrid. Story goes that when the Dexta was being developed in the mid-’50s, Perkins offered Fordson the P3 (a.k.a. P3.144, 25 hp at the flywheel), which was already a well established powerplant. Fordson declined directly but once some design changes were agreed upon, they jointly manufactured the engines. The major castings were done at the Fordson plant in Dagenham, then shipped to Perkins for final machining and assembly. Whether the early 144 ci or the later 152 ci, the engine was known by Perkins as the “F3”, “F” for “Ford, replacing the normal “P” for “Perkins,” followed by the displacement (either 144 or 152). Reportedly, the 152 F3 three-cylinder hung on with Perkins until at least 2002. Ford three-cylinders evolved into an oversquare design (Ford always loves oversquare engines!), a similar one being a 158 ci triple that powered the smallest Ford Worldwide tractors for many years.

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This is a ‘61 Fordson Dexta built just prior to the Ford 2000 Super Dexta in this story. You can see the family resemblance but also the differences. This tractor was rated at 31 PTO horsepower in it’s Nebraska test.

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The controls and instruments were nearly identical between the Dexta and Super Dexta.

We covered the Ford Dexta in the February 2012 issue. The Super Dexta/Ford 2000 version differed in having revised sheet metal and colors (Blue/Gray vs Blue/Orange), a larger, more powerful and revised 3-cylinder engine (39 PTO hp vs 31) and a diff lock. Both versions of the Dexta were exceedingly good small tractors with a long list of satisfied customers. Their DNA lived on for many years in the Worldwide tractors built in the Dagenham, England, Ford tractor plant.

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From the working end, the 540 RPM PTO and 3-point lift were standard items, as was a swinging drawbar, which appears to be missing on this tractor. Though a PTO was standard, it wasn’t the live version, which was optional. This tractor doesn’t have them, but power adjusted rear wheels were available to make track width changes easy.

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