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  • Nigel Gamble

Edendale Crank Up 2020

After talking about attending the Crank Up for many years, this year we finally made it down to Edendale to take in this long running event, in fact this would be the 33rd year the Rally had been run. The first event of the weekend would be the street parade, many of the attending machinery and vehicles were seen slowly driving around the streets of Edendale on Friday evening, the start of the parade appeared to be announced by the sound of a heavily modified Farmall M fitted with a V8 engine tearing along the streets, bringing the locals out of their houses to take up positions in temporary seating set up on lawns and road frontages ready to take in the procession. After the parade it seemed most of the district congregated at the local pub for a catch up, and no doubt to enjoy the odd glass or two of the brown ale.

Across the road opposite the Rally field a large paddock full of camper vans housed people from further afield who had made the trip to Southland for the event.

There Hart Parr tractors waiting for the start of the parade.

Overnight some rain was heard on the roof, but come morning time the clouds had parted and the sun was showing through, with the dust settled and the temperature rising the rally goers were in for a nice day. The theme for this year was European tractors and Japanese cars pre 1990, remembering what happened to most early Japanese built cars, i was half pie expecting to see a few piles of rusty old boot lids and the odd door panel laid out in rows but was pleasantly surprised to see that not all of the old Honda’s and Toyota’s had melted away into rusty remnants- like the car i knew as a child did, the same certainly cannot be said for the modern car Japan turns out today. Looking about the European built tractors it was clear that in most cases function was far more important than looks in the early days of production, although i have to admit there was some cleaver engineering put into some of the tractors present.

A European built Doutra all wheel drive tractor taking part in the parade.

Set up around the main ring were a large number of trade stalls selling pretty much anything you could think of- by the way of hand made goods and food, seating was set up all the way around the ring for people to use when events and parades took place during the two days. Ring events included such activities as- lawn mower racing, marching teams marching to music, a demonstration to show how quickly a Model A Ford car could be assembled from a pile of parts, and a fantastic sheep shearing display, which included blade and machine shearing using old Cooper Little Wonder shearing machines, hand cranked shearing machines, and a hand piece driven by a person riding an exercycle, the riders who were to power this demonstration were selected from the crowd, not fully aware of the arduous task ahead of them. An older chap (86 years of age to be precise) showed everyone that he could shear a sheep as quick and as tidily as any younger shearer could “I hope im that fit when im that age, come to think of it I wish I were that fit now!”

The shearing demonstration is well under way in this photo.

Both days saw various parades take place in the ring, parades for crawler tractors, motor bikes, cars, tractors and traction engines kept the onlookers entertained.

John Deere MC crawler and Allen Tractor Operated Shovel.

In two separate areas there were pulling sledges to test tractors pulling ability, one sledge was of the design that is normally seen about the vintage rally field, with a cage containing concrete weights that move up the sledge toward the pulling tractor, applying more weight to the tow point of the tractor the further along the strip the tractor drags the sledge,

A 40hp Lanz Bulldog demonstrates its pulling ability on the sledge.

the other sledge was of the type more commonly seen towed by modified and modern tractors, this sledge had a large four wheel drive tractor parked upon it, the tractor mounted upon the sledge can be raised and lowered so that the wheels do not touch the ground, with the sledge’s weight supported by the tractor, as the sledge is drawn along the tractor is slowly lowered transferring the weight of the mounted tractor to the ground, and there for increasing the amount of drag and weight that is expected to be pulled by the machine that is to have pulling power tested, as it moves the whole outfit down the strip, a large screen mounted on top of the sledge reads out an indication of meters pulled.

A modifide Fordson on the sldge

Clearly able to tow the sledge further than anything else seen on the Rally field!!!!!!! The Eaves Family Fowler makes it look like easy work.

Steam was well represented with the presence of traction engines from around Southland in attendance, members from the Southland Steam Club gave rides around the grounds with a trailer drawn behind a Garret Engine, three miniature engines, including one from Mid Canterbury spent the weekend touring about the Rally field.

A selection of the engines on display.

Amongst the two hundred or so vintage tractors that were on display, were some very interesting examples of early engineering, several Fordsons which had been converted into loaders and backhoes as well as four wheel drive conversions created a lot of interest for enthusiasts. I am always intrigued at how these machines were built, and how various tractor skid units were adapted to better suit the purpose the machine being built was designed for, compared to modern equipment that leaves the factory completely built from the ground up, ready for the job. It was also nice to see some tractors fitted with implements such as belly mowers and rotary hoes, after all a tractor is just a big one person car unless it has something to pull, push or power, and now as it becomes ever more important to tell the whole story of what these old machines were used for- to keep the interest of the next generation of enthusiasts, it is also important to preserve and show the implements that were once used, as well as the tractor that pulled them

Once a common sight around transport companies and rail yards, im sure this old Fordson mounted Pelican loader brought back memories for some.

An International B614 with Roadless four wheel drive conversion, a rare tractor in NZ.

Although im told this years Crank Up was smaller than previous years, it was still a very enjoyable event, with plenty to see, well worth the trip to Southland, and a great way to spend the weekend.

This 1941 Chevy was one of only a hand full of trucks to be seen at the Crank Up.

More photos to come!

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