JCB is celebrating 25 years production of the Fastrac – a range of agricultural tractors that remain unique and continue to offer farmers and contractors a combination of features and performance advantages resulting in high levels of productivity and utilisation. Source: AFDJ eNews
It was JCB chairman Anthony Bamford who struck on the idea of manufacturing an unconventional tractor while 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 field work, 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.
The tractor brought together established technologies and components in a new way that not only provided exceptional ride comfort for an agricultural tractor thanks to the suspension incorporated in both axles but, as first tests were to prove, it also shattered the myth that suspension and ploughing were an impossible combination.
The design was developed and the prototypes entrusted to selected farmers for final feedback and refining before result of the £12 million Project P120 was unveiled to the media and to the public at the Royal Smithfield Show in ahead of production start-up in spring the following year.
Agriculture Minister Baroness Trumpington cracked a bottle of champagne over the nose of the first Fastrac off the Cheadle assembly line as if launching a new ship, as factory staff and the men behind the inspired design – Sir Anthony Bamford; the late David Brown, Chief Engineer; Ray Clay, suspension engineer; and Mike Butler, JCB Landpower Managing Director.
The Fastrac has enjoyed moments of fame; it is the only tractor to have featured twice on the BBC Top Gear program – at the original launch and when The Stig set a time of 2 minutes 57 seconds on the airfield test track. And it’s the only tractor to have launched a World record attempt.
In 2006, a Fastrac 8250 capable of 105kph got high-geared JCB Dieselmax underway during the start-up procedure for its successful attempt on the diesel land speed record.
Today, the Fastrac in all its forms remains unique, providing a combination of design and technical features that promote high utilisation through its versatility, high productivity through its performance and with unmatched ride comfort in the field and on the road.