A 1474 county tractor topped the Cheffins dispersal sale in Essex over the weekend.

At a price of £210,000 it was the second most expensive tractor bought at auction to date, according to the company. It was purchased by a bidder in the UK.

Other notable items which fell under the hammer included a rare 1966 Northrop 5004/6, which, at £79,800, finished well above its £40,000 - £50,000 estimate.

Another Ford based conversion, a 1965 Doe-130, attracted £49,312.

Ford Silver Jubille edition
The Ford Silver Jubilee 7810 is valued by collectors, but check their provenance carefully before buying

The Ford 7810 Silver Jubilee editions are still commanding a premium, if genuine, with an example going for £45,024 on the day.

An appreciating old favourite

Even the once common and that most iconic of Ford tractors, the 7000, is still shooting up in value - £34,840 was paid for a 1975 example while £28,944 secured a Roadless Ploughmaster 6/4.

Other tractors on offer sold at more modest figures and realistically met expectations.

£28,944 was also paid for a 1991 Ford 8830 Power Shift; £26,800 for a 1977 Roadless 120 and £23,584 for a Roadless Ploughmaster 95.

Massey Ferguson 1200
A Massey Ferguson 1200 working alongside a standard Ford 7810

A non blue interloper in the form of an articulated Massey Ferguson 1200 from 1978 was knocked down for £27,872.

These too are gaining in value as they become better appreciated as another major landmark in tractor design.

County 1474 marked the end of the line

The tractor which commanded the top price was a short nosed 1474 dating from 1983, the year that the original County Commercial Cars company went into receivership.

To a large extent it was this model that illustrated the cause of the company's downfall.

First introduced in 1978, it was based on the Ford 9700, a two-wheel-drive model that was ripe for conversion to four-wheel-drive.

County 1474
The equal-sized wheels on County tractors restricted turning but were still popular on heavy land

Unfortunately for County, Ford had, by then, seen the light when it came to powering all the wheels on a tractor and introduced the TW series in 1979.

These tractors had four-wheel-drive as a factory fitted option.

The writing was on the wall for a company that had made its name converting Fords to four-wheel-drive.

A TW, but with equal-sized wheels

Taking a tractor that was already available as a four-wheel-drive and replacing the front wheels to match the rear was never likely to be a strong business proposition.

Yet the 9700 had been replaced by the TW models, leaving little choice.

County 1474 in Ireland
A County 1474 powering a double chop harvester

County soldiered on with the TW version of the 1474, which still utilised the 6.6L six-cylinder engine of the larger Ford tractors.

In this guise it offered 163hp with turbocharger and intercooler.

In 1983 the company was struggling to the point of extinction, and was eventually purchased by a dealer from Shropshire. From then on, the 1474 was based on the TW 25 and continued in limited production until 1987.