Fifty years ago this month David Brown Tractors started production of a landmark machine.

in January 1965 the first of its innovative 770 tractors rolled off the assembly line at the company’s Meltham Mills plant.

And it proved a pioneering move. The 770 was the first to have an easy-to-use Selectamatic hydraulic system and other improved features.

The original 770 Selectamatic tractor was first exhibited in 1964 at the Royal Smithfield Show in London. It featured a 33hp three cylinder engine and a newly-designed two lever 12-speed gearbox as well as the one-lever operation Selectamatic hydraulic system.

It was also the last tractor to be painted in the traditional David Brown ‘hunting pink’ livery and laid the foundation for the future range of David Brown tractors.

Just under 2,000 of the 770 tractors were made between January and October 1965 – when David Brown introduced a second edition machine in white and brown boasting a 36hp engine. More than 10,000 of these machines were made between November 1965 and April 1969.

Now members of the David Brown Tractor Club (DBTC) are inviting all former employees of the company to visit the DBTC museum at Spinksmire Mill, Meltham Mills, on Saturday, September 12, to mark the anniversary – and to renew old friendships.

The club is also staging a rally and exhibition at the museum on the Saturday and Sunday when there will be tractor runs and demonstrations as well as a factory tour and display of rare vintage and classic David Brown tractors.

Club official Peter Murray said: “The 770 Selectamatic was quite a major development. Later in 1965 David Brown brought out two models to complement the 770 and that marked an increase in sales and really got David Brown motoring in the UK and the world.

A David Brown 770 tractor - which first came off the assembly line at Meltham 50 years ago in January, 1965
 

“The Selectamatic system made it simpler to operate because there was only one lever to worry about. It was the first tractor with a 12-speed gearbox fitted as standard and that drew on David Brown’s expertise in gear manufacture.

“David Brown had pioneered the six-speed gearbox 30 years earlier. The 12-speed gearbox meant there was a suitable gear for every operation on the farm.”

Commenting on the events planned for September, Mr Murray said: “We want to contact people who worked at David Brown throughout the years. We know there are a number of informal groups of former workers who get together for lunch now and again – and ladies from the typing pool who meet to go on outings – so it would be nice to get them all together at Meltham.”

Contact Peter Murray on 07561 409501 for further details.