Fast Trantor on way back

By Mike Williams

UK FARMERS will soon be offered another chance to buy the Trantor high-speed tractor, which struggled to make an impact when it first arrived in the late 1970s.

Instead of being a British product, the new version will be produced at a factory in India.

Introduced in 1978, the original Trantor was the first fast tractor. With a top speed of 60mph, it was equipped with full suspension, four-wheel braking and a three-seater cab.

Production ended more than 15 years ago, but since then Graham Edwards, one of the partners in the original Trantor project, has run Trantor Vehicles Ltd or TVL, a design and development company based at Astley, Manchester.

TVL”s aim was to design a new high-speed tractor that could be built under a licence agreement in countries with low labour costs. His first choice was India – the biggest tractor market in the world, with more than 200,000 annual sales – and last year he signed an agreement with HMT, one of the top six Indian tractor manufacturers.

Prototype versions of the new HMT Trantor are already being field tested and one of them was shown at an agricultural exhibition in December. Production is due to start later this year, with sales aimed initially at the Indian market.

But exports are a big part of the partnership”s plans – particularly to other Asian countries – with sales campaigns for the UK and other European markets to follow.

The first of the Indian tractors will have a three-seater cab and a load platform at the rear. Four-wheel drive will be an option and top speed will be 45mph. Power will be provided by a 62hp HMT engine based on a Zetor design.

Plans include a “people carrier” version with seven seats and more powerful engines up to about 130hp. European-built engines will be offered for certain export markets.

The Indian production deal is only the first stage in Graham Edwards” plans to make the redesigned Trantor a big force in the world tractor market.

He told farmers weekly that he is already in contact with a Mexican manufacturing company that has expressed interest in providing a low cost production base for fast tractors aimed at the North and South American markets.

He also hopes to arrange a similar production agreement in South Africa to supply special versions of the Trantor to the whole of Africa.

Need a contractor?

Find one now