I am working on my Ferguson 35 Deluxe, TO-35 SGM 176501. It has casting codes, motor, and serial number of a 1957, but the hood, decals, and color remnants of a 1958. Is it a 1957 or 1958? June 2, 2016.
I’d say the tractor is technically a 1957 because it was built in 1957. The change in paint color to Red & Flint Metallic Gray on the TO 35 Ferguson occurred at SN 176,341 in December of 1957. That makes it one of the earliest tractors produced after the color change from Beige to Red; It makes it one of the first red/metallic gray Ferguson 35’s. This is one of those cases where the serial numbers, and other changes do not occur at exactly the end or beginning of a calendar year.
Casting dates can help date a tractor, but when doing so you must consider that castings are made, then allowed to season or age for a period of time before being finished, and used to produce a tractor or other item. The first Massey Ferguson 35’s were still called, and badged as Ferguson 35’s so you will need the side decals, red and some black on metal foil, that say “Ferguson 35.”
MHF management recognized the power of the Ferguson name and did not want to loose it in the transition to Massey Ferguson. I don’t know if the terms existed back then, but those in advertising and marketing now refer to the power of concepts like “Brand Loyalty,” “Brand Recognition” and “Brand Identity.” The Ferguson name had power, was recognized, and commanded loyalty.
Interestingly, MHF in the UK brought back Ferguson gray as the color for castings on their Massey Ferguson tractors, and for a time painted their Massey Ferguson implements Ferguson gray. As I recall UK built 35’s initially used flint metallic gray for the castings before returning to a non-metallic Ferguson gray for the castings. UK management recognized the power of Ferguson gray paint. It was this same recognition of the power of the Ferguson System name that caused Massey Ferguson to bring back the Ferguson System logo with its tractor and plow silhouette, and apply it to all Massey Ferguson tractors with Ferguson System hydraulics.