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 three types of wheels.
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 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 the top of the cast steering wheel. 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. In fact Benbros re-designed both front and rear wheels at this stage with new castings of a less-thick design incorporating treads on both sizes.
With the type 3 tractor a new orange colour was introduced, and the new style wheels were painted black or occaisionally red. Next, a yellow tractor and a metallic green one were issued with red wheels, followed by a paler orange variation with blue wheels. Silver trim continued to be applied to engine parts, the front grille, and sometimes the steering wheel, but the application of trim was not consistant and models without it are known.
The last variation of the Tractor was an orange one fitted with wheels from the Muir-Hill Dumper Truck which were much thicker and chunkier than the previous wheels. They were painted blue with silver centres and early examples had unusual axles with large hubcaps. Why Benbros used these is not known, perhaps simply because stocks of the usual wheels ran out, but they gave the model a more solid feel.
With all these variations, Benbros included the land-girl driver using the same casting but in a variety of colours. The first Benbros driver (which was slightly different from the older Pure Rubber Products figure) was painted dark green with pink face and hand trim, and dark brown boots and hat. Next there was a brown driver with either face and hand trim or none, and then when the orange tractors appeared, another green driver with pink face and hand trim and with either brown hat and boots or black boots and black hair. There was possibly also a dark red driver with trim and a green hat. The last variations were coloured metallic blue or dark blue, both with pale-tan face trim and occaisionally a black hat on the metallic ones.
The type 3 and type 4 Tractors appeared as part of the Farm Equipment series in sets like the Tractor with Roller and Tractor with Disc Harrow and some of the colours of the driver seem to have only been issued with these.
The yellow type 1 tractor with unpainted steering wheel, and the type 2 models were sold unboxed from trade boxes or 'counter packs' but when the type 3 models were introduced, 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 so that a model name could 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 but other colours and variations, 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 Type 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 GREEN or BLUE driver
10) ORANGE Type 4 Tractor BLUE+ SILVER pmw GREEN driver