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The great Massey Ferguson debate....

Was the MF 500 series a real 'breath of fresh air' in it's day..   

37 members have voted

  1. 1. Was the MF 500 series a real 'breath of fresh air' in it's day..

    • Not half... It really was...
    • Not really... no !
    • I can't comment.... no real knowledge of that era

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Now then boys and girls... we have had some good points for and against the MF 500 series.  The question is as above.. but to elaborate a little further... we had the MF100 series since 1964/5 ... then in March 1976 we got the MF500 series... with it's integral cab and flat(ish) floor amongst many other innovative features some say it was a revelation.. a huge jump in tractor manufacture... others say it was floored and a pile of pants..

So... I thought I'd pop up a couple of brochures from the day... it may remind you of the 'before and after' - take a look... then lets us know what you think... we don't want any colour wars though please... just some healthy debate...

so... first up..... the last of the 100 series... the MF188...



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Last pic....


So... come on then lads and lasses... lets have your opinion...


I was a fitter in 1983... I started driving both models in 1981 as a 14 year old... As a child... I was dumbstruck by the beauty of the MF500 series... however...my weapon of choice would be the 188 in all honesty.... but I still say the 500 series was a revelation in it's time...

The MF595 was actually released before the rest of the MF500 series... in 1974... to replace the MF1080 by the way.. so it was sold alongside the MF188 for a short period of time

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Drove them both whilst I was still in the farming business.

There is no doubt that the 500 series were quieter and apparently more comfortable., was it better? Well on paper yes, but in the field, sorry no not for me.

I would most definitely go for the 100 series as they were better farmers tractors, easier to get in and out of and you got a better view of the rear mounted implement, you were more "in touch" with your work. I don't know if I am expressing myself very well  :-\ :-\ :-\ but the 100 series were better balanced, I think it was because the seating position of the 500's was too far forward of the rear axle.

No doubt others will disagree but this is just an opinion  :-X :-X :-X


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drove both on the farm, had a 165 (flexi cab mind) and 575's at the same time, quite often went between both while hauling grain,while the other 575 had started baling, to be honest i actually prefered the 165 mostly as its the first tractor i drove, but the 575 did have some nice touches, one main point was it was a lot quieter, rear screen so no drafts as such, ok seat seemd a little to far back, but hardly that noticable,in terms of a step forward in the mf range, yes big one, 500 beat the 100 hands down with new ideas like the cab, but in terms of nostalga the 100 series wins

all tractors move on at the end of the day, if they didnt improve with each series the firm would go bust so its a  no brainer to me, each models better in most ways(even if the reliabiilty lets them down due to production faults)

one main point bar cabs the 100 and 500 series were basicly the same machines in new clothing  at the end of the day, so its all cosmetic in them days anyway

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No doubt about it the 500 series were a great advance in tractor design when introduced, integrally designed cab was a great deal better than the cab on the 100 series tractors. And you have to remember this cab was introduced in response to the pending introduction of Q-cab regulations by the Government.

          Apparently Ford were stunned by the 500 series, as all they had managed at this time was to add some sound deadening material to their existing cabs. Similarly IH had added sound deading material to the 74 series cabs and only introduced a purpose designed Q-cab with the introduction of the XL cab.

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500 series were a big leap forward from the 100 series in terms of cab comfort but just look at that chap in the 100 series rigid cab, pure luxury for him :) Cab comfort and ease of use are just subjective to the time. Who today would think of a flexi cab as deluxe and two speed clutchless shift, who need's more in a gearvox!

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Ah... how about this then... a March 1976 MF595 MKI with the name on the decal  ;)


Also... the 500 series had a number of improvements over the 100 series... some of the castings were also modified with extra webs added for strength... pick up hitch was also fresh on the 500 series

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Indeed.... I think I have found the 'transition brochure' ... it's still a MKI... on the reverse is a similar looking tractor - without the Massey Ferguson on the decal  :-\ :o - the plot thickens !

I wonder if the photo has been 'doctored' ... they have done a good job of it if they have  ???:-\

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it was a breakthrough at its time and almost space age with the silvery grey & red

cab clean lines but nothing built "from the ground up" realy  unlike the IH 634 to the IH 574 which was a different tractor

the 500 series was a nice cosmetic change but underneath still like a 100 in many ways

even the 690 had alot of 100/500 series inheritance

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The heritage did not end with the 600 series, it continued with the 200, 300, 4200 and 4300 series, all the way to the closure of Banner Lane.

i suppose the same could be said about ford and IH/CASE even som mccormick brands the C 75 was just a IH 574 underneath

just goes to show the late 60s realy were light years ahead for ford IH MF DB etc

i did like the 500 series though comfort was ahead of its time i suppose it was ergonomicly better than a

100 series  but will alway be inferior to it abit like the origional version of "star trek" to  "the next generation"  :D :D

i prefeerd the 500 to the 600 range

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I've driver a number of 100 series, but never a 500 series. The reason is because nobody around here ever bought one that I know of.

It should also be noted that there was a 1 year waiting list for the Ford 600 series at the time.

The 200 series did sell reasonably well, mostly 290s as I recall.

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at one point i was fortunate to be able to pick a drive out of a 165 a pair of 575s and 4 600 series tractors along with a 290, all were pretty much the same truth be know ,with there own little perks and downsides, unlike stan's area , all i ever really saw were mf's until jd's really took off, so never had the option to drive a ford i must say loosing the two 575's was a loss i felt, one was rigged to a spraying outfit all year round the other just got high hours wise, so they were sold off, and a self propelled lely buggy sprayer bought in, the others jsut didnt seem to have quite the smae ride as them ,only the 165 really matched them for fun ,buy the time the 600's came in mf were moving into new technologys and they just didnt appeal to me

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