Mechanized Exodus: Tractor Ebro Diesel 44

For millennia, the work in the fields was carried out with the use of domestic animals. The horses, mules and oxen provided the necessary strength to till the land, in addition to carrying the fruit that was gathered at harvest from the farms.

Animals were also used to draw water from wells, or to pull implements such as the plow. In contrast, more skill-intensive roles required human labor, which was sometimes arduous and arduous work.

In this sense, the progressive development of mechanics helped to reduce the physical demands. An example of this was the appearance in 1875 of the Gilpin plow, which had a seat and allowed the farmer to work more comfortably.

Ebro Diesel 44 Tractor from 1961
Some time after the Gilpin plow, Ebro tractors would contribute to the mechanization of Spanish agriculture

Agrarian mechanization begins

With the invention of the steam engine in the XNUMXth century, the mechanization of mining and transportation began. And little by little, that of agricultural work in the most developed countries.

Around 1880 the first agricultural tractors began to be designed. Equipped with a steam boiler, they were heavy and used coal as fuel. These vehicles performed well in the vast American fields.

Already at the beginning of the XNUMXth century, the much lighter tractors with a gasoline engine had a better commercial outlet. Not surprisingly, its economy and productivity was clearly superior to that of draft animals.

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Old steam tractor in action

In 1922, the German firm Benz-Sendling created the first diesel-powered tractor, whose better performance and greater robustness was fully imposed after the Second World War.

Meanwhile, agricultural mechanization was advancing in the United States and in the more advanced countries of Europe.

However, in Spain the process was slower. It first affected farm implements, with national manufacture of reapers, binders, winders and threshers, as well as stationary engines fueled by gasoline or oil.

Ebro Diesel 44 Tractor from 1961
With a total length of 3,305 meters, similar to that of a Seat 600,
the 44 hp Ebro Diesel has outstanding ease of use

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The decree of 1953

It is also true that Ford Motor Ibérica began in 1921 to produce Fordson tractors at its factory in Cádiz, before moving its factory to Barcelona in 1923.

In Barcelona he continued to build tractors, but Fordson production in Spain was carried out according to demand. In this sense, the best years of sales were in the period from 1926 to 1932.

Later, between the turbulent years 1934 and 1935, plus the Civil War and the postwar period, it was not until well into the XNUMXs that the pillars of the massive motorization of Spanish agriculture were created.

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Ebro Diesel 44 Tractor from 1961
The accurate blue-orange contrast, a hallmark of the primitive Ebro tractors

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In view of the delay that Spain had in its agrarian mechanization, in October 1953 the government gave permission to Ford Motor Ibérica to build a tractor factory.

However, the North American firm wanted this factory to also assemble cars, something that the government did not accept after Seat was created and the FASA-Renault factory in Valladolid was also active.

Faced with the official refusal, Ford sells its shares in the subsidiary to a group of Spanish shareholders. This means the creation of Motor Ibérica SA in May 1954, which will have the collaboration of Ford for the production of tractors and trucks.

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Ebro Diesel 44 Tractor from 1961
The gear and the pin. Iberian Motor adapted Fordson's shield for the Ebro

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The new leaders move fast. And just as in England the nickname of the River Thames (in English, Thames) is used as a brand for its vehicles, Motor Ibérica registers the Ebro brand, in honor of our mightiest river.

From the Barcelona plant on Avenida de Icaria, the first Ebro tractor left in May 1955. Like the similar British Ford New Major, it has a four-cylinder engine, 38 HP and a displacement of 3,6 liters.

In the following years, the Ebro tractors were advancing to the tune that marked the improvements made in the English Ford tractors. Thus, throughout the decade the Ebro saw their power progressively increase to 42 and 44 hp.

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Ebro Diesel 44 Tractor from 1961
With 30-inch rear tires, the Ebro Diesel had good traction qualities


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Written by Ignatius Saenz

I am Ignacio Sáenz de Cámara, I was born in Vitoria more than half a century ago. As it happens to many of you, I too suffered / enjoyed from a young age with that impossible to restrain attraction towards any motor vehicle. As I got older, I saw that I also liked to read everything that fell ... Read More


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