Quite a little uncertainty centres around the Ferguson Tractor. Jack & Nathan Benenson began producing tractor models during the late 1940's in the Pure Rubber Products range among which were a clockwork Minneapolis-Moline model and a version of the Ferguson tractor with steering. When they started the Benbros range in 1951, a scaled down and re-cast model of the Ferguson was created based on the real Ferguson T20. This model appeared in several colours, had various casting changes, and was used with a number of other farm machinery combinations.
The first casting of the Benbros Ferguson (type 1) was originally designed to incorporate steering but it was never fitted. The tractor was painted yellow with silver trim on the front grille, and there was a separate unpainted three-spoke steering wheel. The separate driver was usually dark green with brown hat & boots.
On each side of the grille at the front, the body had straight sides to provide space for the turning front wheels but as these were not fitted, special wheels with inner flanges or bosses were needed and these had smooth rims without treads. The rear wheels, which did have treads, fitted onto representations of the real tractor's heavy axle which were cast with the body.
Before long Benbros changed the steering wheel to a solid one and incorporated it into the casting. This (type 2) Tractor continued to be coloured yellow with silver trim on the grille and also on the top of the cast steering wheel. The separate female driver was painted either green (with brown or black boots and a green or black hat), or brown all over including the hat. Both colours were finished with face trim. All four wheels of the model were unpainted.
Benbros then changed the casting again to produce the type 3 tractor adding front flanges to each side of the body so that conventional front wheels could be used. Smooth-rimmed unpainted front wheels were fitted to start with before Benbros switched to a new design for both front and back wheels making them less thick and adding treads to the front ones.
With the type 3 tractor, Benbros introduced a variety of new colours, at first red or green with the original unpainted wheels, and then orange with the new style wheels painted black or red. Next, yellow or metallic green tractors were issued with red wheels, and finally pale-orange models with blue wheels, some with silver trim in the centre. Most of these variations had silver trim on the grille and some on engine parts but no longer on the steering wheel and occaisionally no trim at all.
With all these variations, the same casting of the driver was included but in an equally wide spread of colours. To the original green were added brown, black, dark red, pale green, blue and metallic blue. All figures usually had added pink or pale-tan face and hand trim and occasionally dark-brown hair. Boots could be brown or black, and hats brown, black, green or blue.
The type 3 Tractor was widely used by Benbos for models in the Farm Equipment series such as Tractor with Roller and Tractor with Disc Harrow and several of the colours of both tractor and driver seem to have been only issued with these.
The yellow type 1 tractor with unpainted steering wheel, and the re-cast type 2 models were sold unboxed from trade boxes or 'counter packs' but with the introduction of the type 3 models, Benbros gave them individual boxes.
There were two types of box, the first a plain beige one with dark-red writing and line drawings on each face. The Benbros Qualitoys logo was printed on each side but the end-flaps were left plain.
The second box was a colourful one with two sets of illustrations on all four sides with the end-flaps having 'Benbros Qualitoy' at one end and 'Benbros Farm Equipment' and a blank panel at the other for a model name to be added. The box was possibly designed as a joint box with a planned model of a small tractor or bulldozer with tracks but this was never produced.
The yellow type 2 Benbros Qualitoys Ferguson Tractor is not hard to find but is often playworn. The type 3 orange variation with black wheels is also not uncommon. Other colours and variations, however, and both boxes, are scarce or rare.
Benbros Qualitoys Ferguson Tractor
1) YELLOW Type 1 Tractor/Steering wheel UNPAINTED wheels GREEN or BROWN driver
2) YELLOW Type 2 Tractor/Cast steering UNPAINTED wheels GREEN or BROWN driver
3) RED Type 3 Tractor UNPAINTED wheels GREEN driver
4) GREEN Type 3 Tractor UNPAINTED wheels BROWN driver
5) ORANGE Type 3 Tractor BLACK pmw GREEN or RED driver
6) ORANGE Type 3 Tractor RED pmw GREEN driver
7) YELLOW Typre 3 Tractor RED pmw METALLIC BLUE driver
8) METALLIC GREEN Type 3 Tractor RED pmw METALLIC BLUE driver
9) ORANGE Type 3 Tractor BLUE pmw BLUE driver
10) ORANGE Type 3 Tractor BLUE+ SILVER pmw GREEN driver