Fastrac celebrated after 25 years of production JCB is celebrating 25 years production of the Fastrac – a range of agricultural tractors that remains unique to this day and continues to offer farmers and contractors a combination of features and performance advantages, says the British manufacturer. It was JCB chairman Anthony Bamford who struck on the idea of manufacturing an unconventional tractor while he was on holiday overseas in 1984. He saw an opportunity to develop a tractor that had high road speed and which would also be capable of fieldwork, including heavy draft applications. His inspirational idea would become reality some years later when the world’s first real tractor with full suspension was launched. The Fastrac design has developed hugely from the first prototype built in 1987, in secret beneath the office block at JCB Transmissions in Wrexham, North Wales, right up to full-scale commercial production of the 4,000 Series in 2015. Quite apart from being the
first high-draft agricultural tractor with all round suspension and capable of top speeds up to 75kph (47mph), over the past 25 years the Fastrac has been the first to feature truck-standard disc brakes, multi-mode 4-wheel steering, an anti-lock braking system (ABS) and self-levelling suspension. It was also the first – and remains the only – tractor to combine those features with an advanced, electronically managed continuously variable transmission. ■ JCB employees celebrate 25 years of Fastrac production.
Prototype version Before its launch, JCB tested prototype versions of the Fastrac thoroughly while denying the existence of the project to the media. The test machine pictured was put through its paces by a Wiltshire contractor, during the 1990 harvest, with a Claas square baler. Farmers Guide machinery editor David Williams was holidaying in the area at
the time and the contractor, a relative, invited him to have a test-drive. The tractor was devoid of JCB brand markings except for on the steering wheel which had the JCB logo in the centre. The contractor had been instructed to work it hard and find any weak points and, when issues occurred, the test tractor was either examined and repaired or swapped for another machine.
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Farmers Guide Magazine August 2016 Issue