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Built from Standard Parts Feature Page

Fergusons at the South Pole:

Lynda with the Little "Red" Fergy at the Banner Lane museum

TEA 20 - South Pole Expedition

(text frrom a wall display accompanying the exhibit)

Three TEA20 Tractors accompanied New Zealander, Sir Edmund Hilary on his historic 1200 mile trip to the South Pole in 1957/58. Recently fully restored, this was the lead machine - pet name "Sue"

THe Tractors had to operate in sub-zero tempearatures but were neverthelesss virtually standard machines, proving once again the amazing durability and versatility of Ferguson engineering.

To protect against the harsh conditions, the radiator was filled with 80% Glycol. Special oils and lubricants, together with heavy duty batteries and pure rubber tyres were used. Flexible tracks were fitted to cope with the snow and ice. If you look inside the cab you will see there is no Steering Wheel, the direction of travel was controlled via the brakes operated by two simple levers.

Because Antartic air is so clean, there was no need either for an air cleaner. With altitutes sometimes reaching 1200 ft (?) and consequently less oxygen available for combustion, the removal of the air cleaner also enabled the carburettor to "breathe" more easily and hence aid engine performance.

Although the tractors arrived in the Antartic in their normal grey livery, they were painted red to make them more visible to spotter planes tracking the expedition.

In a grateful cable to Banner Lane, Sir Edmund praised the magnificent performance of the Ferguson machines. "It was their extreme reliability that made our trip to the pole possible" he wrote.

Report and Photographs by Phil Homer, Nov 2002