New Holland tractors have only existed since around 1996 – that’s just 22 years! So perhaps it seems strange to have written a book about these machines when they are still such a new kid on the block so to speak?

Of course, the history of the New Holland name in connection to farm machinery goes back a lot, lot further but they never built tractors. The firm had its roots in 1895 in Pennsylvania in the USA with farm machinery becoming the main product from 1940. That all changed when the Ford Motor Company bought the New Holland firm off its then parent Sperry Rand in the middle of the 1980s and the business then merged with the Ford tractor operations to form Ford New Holland. Now with an integrated range of tractors, combine harvesters and other farm implements, the new firm could take on the giants such as John Deere on a more level playing field than previously.

Built at the factory in Basildon, the Series 60/M Series also used new engines built in he same facility. In the 8360 model the PowerStar 7.5 litre engine was rated at 135 hp. (New Holland Tractors, Amberley Publishing)

However, Ford were only really interested in making their tractor division more attractive to a potential buyer as they continued retrenching their global operations. This resulted in Ford New Holland being sold to Fiat in 1991 and eventually to the creation of CNH in 1999 following Fiat also purchasing Case IH. The New Holland name began to appear on tractors as well as machinery in 1996 and eventually both the Ford and Fiat brands would be replaced by New Holland. At the same time the DNA of both tractor ranges were absorbed into one and the tractors still bearing the New Holland name and blue colour scheme today are directly descended from that union, as well as benefiting from Case IH, Versatile, Steiger and Steyr input along the way!

The T7.290 is the other Heavy Duty member of the T7 range with 290 hp available in the same chassis as the bigger 315 model. (New Holland Tractors, Amberley Publishing)

New Holland tractors are extremely popular and used by farmers around the world and are built in several key factories including those in France, Italy, Britain and the USA. Their story is one of consolidation and evolution as well as invention and progression. It is only fitting that this new tractor brand is celebrated in the same way as the other big names in tractor building, and at the end of the day, the Ford and Fiat lineage of the brand can be traced back over a hundred years, so perhaps New Holland is not quite the new kid on the block as it may seem!

Jonathan Whitlam's new book New Holland Tractors is available for purchase now.