A Vintage Massey Ferguson Tractor Makes The Perfect Gift

Betsy Holt’s Christmas gift this past year was no ordinary tractor, but a vintage Massey Ferguson Model 35, complete with a red bow for the holidays.

By Tharran E. Gaines | Photos By Jamie Cole

A tractor isn’t your typical Christmas present. Then again, Betsy Holt isn’t your typical gift recipient, and her Christmas gift this past year was no ordinary tractor. Instead, it was a well-kept 1963 Massey Ferguson® Model 35, complete with a red bow for the holidays.

Of course, Massey Ferguson is nothing new to Betsy and Mike Holt. Both grew up with the tractors. Betsy’s mom even worked as the bookkeeper for the Massey Ferguson dealership Mike’s dad managed, long before the couple ever got married.

“We actually saw a 1958 Model 35 on display when we visited the AGCO® manufacturing facility in Jackson, Minnesota,” Mike says of a trip they took to the plant in 2016. “And Betsy just fell in love with it; she would have bought it if AGCO had been willing to sell it.”

Mike began searching for a diesel version soon after their trip. “I finally found this one at Snead Equipment in Snead, Alabama,” he says of his purchase. “It’s hard to believe, but the dealer said this one was a one-owner tractor. Ironically, my dad sold hundreds of those when he was manager of Canaan Equipment.”

“Mike’s dad would be smiling if he were still alive to see this one show up,” says Betsy. “It’s just such a great size. We don’t need a big tractor to do tedding or raking, or things around the yard.”

The tractor now joins an MF1080, which is used to spread manure from the barn, as well as plow and harrow fields. Quite often, it’s also used to rake hay, simply because it has enough clearance under the drawbar. An MF265, which was purchased new by Mike’s dad, will still share time on the tedder, and an MF5455 is used for all the baling.

While the family heritage with Massey Ferguson tractors is important, Mike says he also appreciates the reliability built into every model. Not only do they start easily during Maine’s cold winters, but they require very few repairs.

“The MF265 Dad bought in 1976 is a good example,” he says. “I don’t remember how many hours it has on it; but the only thing we’ve had to do to it in 40 some years is replace the water pump and the fuel pump. That’s it.”