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The Ransomes MG6 Motor Garden Cultivator

The Ransomes Motor Garden Cultivator was introduced in 1936 following extensive testing of prototypes in collaboration with Roadless Traction who developed the rubber jointed track for the 'little blue crawler'. Early prototype designs included a tracked machine with the driver walking behind but this was dropped for the ride on tractor.


Following a good reception at the initial public demonstration held near Evesham on 29 April 1936, production of the Ransomes MG2 Motor Cultivator started at Ipswich. The MG2 cost 135 pounds and sold in considerable numbers to smallholders, market gardeners and fruit growers. It also proved to be popular for vineyard work in France.


The MG2 had a 6hp Sturmey Archer 'T', single cylinder, air cooled, side valved engine. The Lucas magneto did not have an impulse coupling and the starting handle dog was on a countershaft linked to the crankshaft by a chain drive. The engine, which had a dry sump, was lubricated by a mechanical oil circulation system with a separate oil tank and pump. A 4 to 1 reduction gear on the engine output shaft supplied power to the centrifugal clutch at quarter crankshaft speed and the clutch engaged drive to a forward, neutral and reverse gearbox which was not really a gearbox at all but rather part of the transmission.


The transmission unit had two inward facing helical crown wheels with a central pinion, Depending on whether the driver wished to move forwards or backwards, the gear lever was used to mesh the pinion with the relevant crown wheel and with the pinion being midway, the drive being neutral. Steering was by means of two hand lever operated dry band brakes on the half shafts.


The 6" wide tracks were adjustable for row crop work with a choice of 28", 31" or 34". The MG2 was 3'6" wide and weighed in at 10.5 cwt with a ground pressure of 4 psi. A swinging drawbar and a floating toolbar with hand lift were the standard equipment. A 400rpm PTO was extra. The hand book states that the MG2 was designed to do 2hp of work at 2mph.


A 1937 issue of Roadless News informed readers that the MG2 could do work that appealed to large scale farmers. They stated that an eastern counties farmer was using 6 for inter row cultivation of sugar beet.
The 'T' type engine was replace with an improved Sturmey Archer 'TB' engine in 1938, an impulse coupling in the Wico magneto improved starting, the cooling fan was belt driven and the starting handle dog was on a lay shaft linked by a pair of gear to the crankshaft.


A much improved MG5 replaced the MG2 in 1948. It had a 600cc petrol engine with a dry sump lubrication system, fuel lift pump, Wico A type magneto and a starting handle dog on the crankshaft. The dry sump lubrication system had two pumps, one supplied oil under pressure into the engine while the second sucked it out and returned it via a filter to the tank. The 4 to 1 reduction was retained. Again, the hand book stated the 2 hp limit but Ransomes had acknowledged the advance of the mechanisms meant the top speed was now 2.25mph.


MG5s were sold in Austria and a hydraulic ram kit for the tool bar was made in that country. The Neville hydraulic lift attachment was said to provide finger tip control of the mounted equipment. Better than the back breaker hand lever!
The MG6 was introduced in 1953 at the Smithfield show. It was basically the same but with three forward gears giving 1.125, 2.25 and 4 mph.


The MG40 was announced in 1960. Production ceased in 1966.

During the 30 years of production, more than 15,000 units were made at Ipswich, 3000 MG2s, 5000 MG5s, 5000 MG6s and 2000 MG40s.


Lotus MK VI l Lotus Eleven l Lotus Elite l Amilcar l Coventry Climax l Zeta l Scootamota l Ransomes MG6


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