The Dos and Donts of Buying Antique Tractors

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The Do's and Don'ts of Buying Antique Tractors

Antique tractors are popular collector's items in the UK. Some buyers purchase them for the nostalgia factor, while others fix up the old machines and take them to conventions and shows. Antique tractors are also purchased and used on farms, in which case they are sought for their low prices, relatively straightforward design, and easy maintenance. Whether an antique tractor is purchased for show or a functional use, there are several things a buyer should consider.

Begin by deciding on the intended use of the tractor. A unit that is used for farming or other industrial use does not need to look its best, provided it functions smoothly. Buyers who wish to enter their machines into a show may choose tractors that can be restored external without requiring extensive replacements to internal components. Consider the many types of tractor available and choose units with the most desirable design and implements. Check that parts are available to avoid purchasing tractors that cannot be repaired properly. It is also important to be patient while shopping, and not purchase the first antique tractor found.

Antique tractors can be purchased from private owners in the UK. Commercial retailers occasionally deal in old models. Look for listings for antique tractors in classified advertisements and on marketplaces like eBay.

Do Consider the Antique Tractor's Condition

Most buyers select antique tractors for two reasons: to use for farming and industrial work or to restore and display as a collector's item. Some buyers purchase tractors simply for the nostalgia factor and use them only occasionally. The cost of repairs can vary significantly from one model to the next, so it is important to determine the condition of a machine to ensure that money is not misspent. The condition of an antique tractor affects the performance of the unit, as well as the number of repairs needed to restore it. Most antique tractors have been repaired or restored in some way, so there is a wide range of conditions of machines available. Look for used, refurbished, and non-working antique tractors.

Used Antique Tractors

Used antique tractors are likely to have be used regularly at some point since their creation and may have been stored for long periods of time. They may have minor performance issues that require repairs in order for them to run smoothly. Used tractors are sold at reasonably low prices due to their age and condition, although it is possible to find some that have been maintained well over time.

Refurbished Antique Tractors

Refurbished antique tractors have been cleaned and restored thoroughly using factory new components. In some cases, these machines may be nearly as good as new, although the cost of the machine increases in relation to the quality of its restoration. Refurbished tractors can be expected to run smoothly and are ideal for both functional use and shows.

Not Working Antique Tractors

Due to the age of antique tractors, many are no longer in an operable condition. Their exteriors may be heavily worn, rusted, or damaged. These tractors are sold inexpensively and can be used as the basis for an extensive restoration project or scrapped for parts. In either case, these tractors should only be considered by buyers with high levels of mechanical knowledge and solid repair skills. Read descriptions of non-functioning tractors carefully, and determine which parts and components are included in the sale. In some cases, key parts may be missing, such as those for the engine.

Do Consider the Cost of Antique Tractors

The cost of antique tractors can vary significantly from one to the next, even on machines in a similar condition. Some tractor models are especially popular and sell for high prices even when they are not in good condition. Sellers may also prize their tractors more or less highly than others and set their prices accordingly. Where possible, look for multiple listings for a single tractor type to evaluate a fair asking price.

Do Select Appropriate Antique Tractor Implements

Antique tractors are created for many different functions, so they may come with different implements. The following table lists some common implements found, with a description.

Antique Tractor Implement



Bundles grass and straw, and holds them together with string or wire

Can create round or rectangular bales

Varies by model


Threshes, reaps, and winnows in a single process


Lays fertiliser through a combination of a hopper and rotating broadcaster


Lifts and dumps loads with a bucket connected to the tractor by mechanical arms

Can be either hydraulic or manual

Hydraulic loaders are considerably more expensive

Rear scraper

Pulled behind the tractor while it is driven to collect soil and other materials


Spreads seeds mechanically

Seeds can be cast randomly via a spinner or placed in rows

Post hole digger

Uses an auger to create holes for fence posts

Sickle mower

Mows grasses and crops, but does not mulch them

Disc harrow

Used to break up clods of soil and rows after ploughing


Scrapes the ground between crop rows to remove weeds

Although the choice of implements is normally a practical one, some tractor types are seen more at conventions. Choose machines that have the most desirable implements for industrial use or show.

Do Join Antique Tractor Clubs

One of the best ways to learn about antique tractors is to join a club. Many of these groups meet on a regular basis in cities in the UK, and several online forums also exist. These clubs can be used to find information about upcoming shows. Members can contribute photos and stories about their tractors, along with the repairs and restoration work they have performed. These clubs can be a useful way to have specific questions about tractor types and repairs answered.

Don't Buy the First Tractor Available

Antique tractors can be an expensive purchase, especially when the cost of repairs is considered. Be patient while shopping and wait for the ideal tractor to become available. Avoid purchasing the first model and type that is found, unless the tractor is in a suitable condition. Taking the time to find good quality antique tractors at reasonable prices can save considerable amounts of time, effort, and money.

Don't Buy Antique Tractors That are Unfixable

Although replacement parts are manufactured for many types of antique tractors, there are many items that are very difficult to find. Some less popular tractor models may no longer have replacement parts made for them, which forces buyers to track down good quality used components. Determine the availability of parts for an antique tractor before committing to a purchase. Otherwise, repairs may require expensive purchases or unusual mechanical work.

How to Buy Antique Tractors on eBay

A high number of antique tractors are available for purchase on eBay. It is easy to shop for these items; you may enter keywords into the search field. For example, type "antique ford tractor" into the search field to see all items tagged with those keywords. You may refine listings by adding other terms, such as the model of a tractor. In search results pages, look for category links to refine your search.

Review the Item Listing

Review the full listing for an item by clicking on it in the search results. Read the description of the tractor and compare it with all of the available photos to assess its condition. Check the price of the antique tractor, as well as the delivery charges. It is important to determine the accepted payment methods. Check the location of the seller and the delivery options. In many cases, local collection is the only option available.

Seller Feedback

Sellers on eBay have feedback ratings that indicate the satisfaction of previous buyers. Use this information in conjunction with the number of completed transactions to find experienced and reliable eBay sellers. You may also view comments left by previous buyers and examine average ratings on key aspects of the seller's performance.


Antique tractors are popular collector's items. Many machines can be purchased from sellers throughout the UK. To begin shopping, do consider the intended function of the tractor. An item that has external damage may be suitable if the machine is meant for industrial operation, although it may be expensive to repair for a show. On the other hand, a refurbished tractor is expensive to purchase, but is likely to perform well over time and may be a solid foundation for restoration work.

Do consider enhancing an antique tractor with various implements. Although this can be a purely practical concern, it may also affect the desirability and appearance of a tractor in a show. Do consider joining a tractor club or online group to exchange information about models, repairs, and upcoming shows. Do not buy the first tractor that is found, unless it is in the desired condition and matches the assigned budget. Take the time to shop around and compare multiple machines to find ones in the best condition at the lowest price. Do not buy tractors that are unfixable because no replacement parts are available. Many machines have reproduction parts available for them, although this is not true for some models. Perform some research on an antique tractor before buying it to determine if it can be repaired.

Antique tractors can be purchased on marketplaces such as eBay. With a bit of patience, a good quality antique tractor can be obtained for a reasonable price.


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