Visitors to shows or vintage events throughout Munster at the present time may come across a 1950 Porsche three-cylinder, air-cooled diesel tractor in immaculate condition, but they will probably be unfamiliar with its history.
The tractor was purchased new by Pakie Moloney, from Ballytarsna, circa 1950 from Bill Taylor, Porsche Allgaier dealer in Abbey Street, Thurles for between £450 and £500.
It wasn’t a very common purchase at the time as the majority of people went for Massey Fergusons. Originally Porsche started building tractors in 1950 through the Allgier Tractor Company. In 1955 they transitioned to Porsche Diesel, which continued manufacturing through to 1962, with some assembly taking place into 1963. Their products were sold mainly in the USA.
The tractor cost more than the Ferguson and really wasn’t any better. It was unusual in that it had a PTO shaft on the front of the tractor as well as two more at the rear.
This gave it a slight advantage for a number of jobs. The main disadvantage of the Porsche, in total contrast to the car of the same name, was that it was too slow, being geared too low. It wasn’t good for travelling on the road. In fact Pakie Moloney used to often complain that it was too slow.
In spite of that Pakie kept it for about twenty years and used it for agricultural contracting.
He must have got fed up with it at some stage because it was idle in one of his sheds before he swapped it with Johnny Fogarty, who ran Rockview Garage, for a Ferguson 20 diesel.
Johnny in turn put it in a shed in the garage, where it remained for another twenty years. Why he swapped it to store it isn’t quite clear.
At any rate after the sale of the garage to Patsy O’Neill, Johnny decided to restore the tractor to its original glory, helped in no small way by his grandson, Tristan.
Where replacement parts were required Johnny made them himself, as it was very difficult to source them. They spent about three years on and off restoring it. Before starting the work Johnny got his brother-in-law big Dinny Ryan, from Cahir to take a picture of the dilapidated machine in order to have something to compare the restored tractor to.
This wasn’t Johnny’s first restoration project. For years he had imported Ferguson, Ford, David Browne and Nuffield tractors from England. He had to do work on most of these to get them ready for sale.
Having completed the restoration to his satisfaction, Johnny decided to sell the tractor and the buyer was Michael Reidy of Cahir. He worked the tractor on his farm for a couple of years and sold it on to Dan Ryan of Doon.
Dan decided to give the tractor a new role in life. Instead of working it on his farm he decided to exhibit it at shows and vintage events around the province.
The tractor, which is over sixty years of age, is in mint condition and still fit for farm work. It’s unlikely to do
any more of that. It is probably much more valuable as an exhibit and definitely worth more now than Pakie Moloney paid for it in 1950.