A fascination for Fords

Bruce Leonard enjoys collecting Ford tractors. Photo: Catherine Fry.

Bruce Leonard was raised on a dairy farm in Okoroire and is the first to say that he didn’t like school at all and left at 16 to go hay baling.

He didn’t waste any time investing in his career and at 17 bought his first wheels, a hay baler, half on finance and half deposit.

“I used our family farm tractor for three years and then I bought my own. As a young man I was working on our dairy farm too as it worked well with contracting, as they had opposite busy times.”

Bruce became a fertiliser spreader driver in 1969 and went out on his own in 1989 and ran a fertiliser spreading business with his wife Gloria for 25 years from their 30 acre home block.

Bruce is now “retired” and runs a 129 hectare dairy grazing block and raises beef on their home block.

Bruce does find time for his tractor collecting and restoring. Always interested in Ford and Ferguson tractors, he bought his first one in 1989 from his family estate.

“Others are always popping up on Trade Me, but they usually need something doing to them.”

Bruce bought a 1986 Ford 6600 in 2017 which he describes as “in poor condition”, but it was a “good price”, and he “hadn’t got a 6600 in his collection yet”.

This Ford 6600 has a 4.4 litre, four cylinder, 75 hp, diesel engine. Photo: Catherine Fry.

The 4.4 litre, four cylinder, 75 hp, diesel engine tractor was used for general agriculture work. It has 4WD, power steering, and dual power shift transmission with 16 forward and four reverse gears.

“The cheapest part is always the purchase and then the costs set in.”

This particular 6600 had a rusted original cab, but Bruce managed to replace it with a Kubota cab that fitted perfectly.

After replacing the universal joints, Bruce was intending to use the tractor on the farm but the first time he tried moving a round bale on the bale feeder, it smashed the cab’s back window.

Perplexed at first as he’s an experienced tractor driver, Bruce then realised that there was a bearing problem in the gearbox.

“To fix that I’ll have to split the tractor in half and take the gear box out and have a look at it, but that’s a big job!”

Bruce is a member of the Rotorua Tractor and Machinery Club and enjoys showing his tractors off at their meet ups in Mamaku and taking his Ferguson TEA on club treks.

Bruce Leonard with his Ford 6600. Photo: Catherine Fry.


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