3 July 1998

Made in India – latest version of speedy Trantor

By Mike Williams

PRODUCTION of a new version of Trantor, the original high-speed tractor, is due to start later this year, but unlike previous models which were British made, the new Trantor will be built in India.

Trantor tractors were first built in 1976 and production continued through the 80s, with the tractors designed mainly for transport and pto work. Special feature was a transmission offering a top speed of over 60mph.

The new version is the result of a seven-year design and development programme by HST Developments, the Manchester-based firm headed by Graham Edwards, a partner in the original Trantor project.

HST has signed a production deal with a big Indian engineering company and the first of the new machines is due off the assembly line in December.

Production will be geared to the Indian market at first, but export sales are an important part of the project and the UK will be one of the key markets for the new tractors, along with the USA and Australia.

India was chosen for the new Trantor manufacturing base because it is one of the worlds fastest growing tractor markets, says Mr Edwards. While the UK is heading for about 14,000 sales this year, India has annual tractor sales of 200,000 plus.

Most of the components will be sourced in India, and this will include a locally made 90hp Tata engine for Trantors sold in India. Tractors for the UK and other western markets will be powered by a more familiar engine such as a Deere or a Perkins, and the power output will be about 120hp.

The new model will be based on the same concepts as previous Trantors with standard specification including four-wheel braking, four-wheel drive and front and rear suspension. The cab has seats for three – another feature inherited from previous models – and the tractors are equipped with a two-speed pto and three-point linkage. A small load platform behind the cab will carry a spray tank holding up to 800 litres.

"I believe there is a market for a tractor like the new Trantor, which can perform transport work efficiently and also handle pto equipment or a loader," says Mr Edwards. "But it will not be a ploughing tractor – that would mean adding extra weight." &#42

One of the last of the UK-built tractors powered by a 90hp Leyland engine.