Valpadana Two Wheel Tractor
This tractor was acquired in September 2012. It is thought to have been made around 1975 by Valpadana in Italy. The previous owner bought it for his 20 acre property in the Dandenong Hills near Melbourne Australia, a rocky area with many steep slopes. He used it for only a year or two and once the worst of the property was tamed he then bought a Bobcat and a ride-on mower. The tractor and rotary hoe attachment was loaned to a friend, the sickle mower was stored in the corner of a shed, the mower deck and carry tray was placed under a rough lean-to cover where it sat gathering layers of mud and leaves for 30 years. In August 2012 the friend returned the tractor and hoe with new tyres and either new or refurbished wheels. The covers were found stored in the shed.
The photo above shows the tractor roughly assembled after being pulled to pieces for transporting to its new home in the New South Wales Southern Highlands. The photo below is of the tractor and mower/slasher after a good wash following several days of hard, dusty work.
Details of the Tractor and Attachments
Here is the guts. A 350 cc single cylinder petrol Lombardini motor attached to a casing which contains a clutch, gearbox, differential and power take off. The gearbox has one forward and three reverse gears. The differential can be switched from locked to unlocked by a lever. Each brake is able to be operated independently by its own cable and the two brake levers are on the right handlebar, along with a throttle lever. The handlebars can be swung around 180 °, and can be tilted about 60 ° vertically. The tyres are 20 inch diameter
In addition to the Stop button on the motor there is a deadmans handle on the left handle bar, and the clutch is also on the left bar. The clutch and deadmans handle are locked into the disengaged position by a catch for starting.
The fuel tank has two outlet lines with a tap which gives a useful reserve function. An effective, washable oilbath air filter is fitted. The carburettor is a Dellorto.
The power take off is a single point design. The locking pin holding the attachment is robust and there is no need for a three point linkage. The two studs above the mounting tube are to attach a two or four wheel trailer which can transform the machine into a ride on vehicle in which case the handlebars can be reversed and the three reverse gears can be used to allow the vehicle to travel " backwards " quite rapidly.
The mower/slasher has a 72 cm one piece blade. The original was 3 mm thick and was broken by a large rock getting caught on day one and was replaced by a new one made up from a strip of 9 mm steel. As can be seen the mower deck suffered from being exposed to dampness and will soon have a skirt of thick canvassed rubber fitted over the rusted edges to prevent operator injury from flung rocks and sticks.
The carry tray fits over the mower deck. It was also affected by rust.
The rotary hoe was disassembled for transporting.
In the photo below can be seen the cover for the sickle mower. Note the lovely lettering, and it's fairly pristine condition - it is actually of no use whatsoever and has probably never been fitted.
This sickle mower about 1.5 metre wide and is a formidable piece of work. Designed for harvesting crops the two tubes at each end are to insert wooden broom handles to keep high growing crop from falling onto the operator. It has proved to be excellent at levelling growth on neglected bush walking tracks, any saplings which fit between the teeth are chopped off at the socks.
Here is one example of what this little champ can do. The area shown is not easily accessible for a normal tractor slasher and the Valpadana made the clearing task incredibly easy and quick.
And another Before and After set
Here is how the tractor and attachments are moved from place to place around the property. The quad's trailer can be tilted like a tip truck making it easy to load and unload without the need for ramps.
All in all I am thrilled to own this fine tool. Although such small vehicles were used extensively in Europe and are apparently frequently employed nowadays in Asia they are a rarity in Australia. It has proved to be ideal in the Southern Highlands and has attracted much interest from the locals.
Hoping you enjoyed your visit. And by the way I managed to take all of what is seen here from Melbourne to the NSW property crammed into my Hyundai Accent Hatchback ! That's why it was torn down into small bits.