THE MF 100 series was a four-model range at the start, all with Perkins engines.
The 135 and the 165 replaced the 35x and the 65; the new styling being the biggest change.
The 130 was a small tractor built in France; it never sold weIl, facing stiff competition from the 135 which was a far more useful purpose-built tractor. The 130 was phased out in 1972 and was never really replaced.
The large 175 at 66hp was a large tractor in its day, a hard-working able tractor.
These new models had the multi-power gearbox which doubled the gears from 6×2 to 12×4; this could be done without clutching and under load. Downside was there was no engine braking in low multi-power.
They could be fitted with PAVT wheels on the rear; also pressure control which was used on trailed implements, this was used on the hydraulic lift arms with chains so you could take the weight off the implement to give more traction on the rear wheels.
Model number hp cylinders
130 30 4
135 45 3
165 58 4
178 66 4
The 175 was replaced with the 178 with various improvements and power up to 72hp using a Perkins A 4.248 engine. This model was replaced in 1971 with the 185; this had 75hp, was standard spec and was made at a competitive price. An optional 8×2 gearbox became available.
New cab laws which came into force in 1970 meant every tractor had to have a safety cab or roll bar; various cab manufacturers, including Duncan and Sirocco produced cabs for the MF range before and after the safety cab laws.
During their long production, the 165 and 135 had various improvements over the years. The Oil bath air cleaner was replaced with a dry element; hydraulics and brakes also received improvements over the years. Power went up to 62hp on the 165.
MF introduced the 8 range; each of the 5 range tractors having a sister model eg 135 (148) 165 (168) 185 (188).
The main difference was that the 8 range had a six-inch spacer fitted between the gearbox for stability which helped on steep land and loader work. The 188 was 75hp and was based on the 185 but had a beefed-up rear linkage and greater hydraulic capacity. Independent PTO became an option. Older models had dual clutches for hydraulics and PTO. Also land drive PTO was available on the range from 1964. This was ideal for lime spreading; a lot of lime-spreading contractors would use MF for this benefit.
A few dealer workshops offered a six-cylinder conversion of the 185/188, done by fitting the Perkins 6.354 six-cylinder as used in the MF1200 and the 525/625 combine. Also four-wheel traction was offered, a 4wd conversion for the 100 series tractors; also a turbocharger could be fitted to the four cylinders as an after-sales option. County also converted a few models for export into high clearance.
The 100 series was in production until 1979 but after 1976 was replaced by the 500 series in the UK. The quiet cab was fitted to these new tractors. The cab was a sealed module cab but only had one door. The hydraulics gearbox option came from the 100 series.
The 200, which came in 1979, replaced the 100 series, the 265 565 replaced the 165. The 135 had a quiet cab fitted for a time and was replaced with 240. The 200 range was a cheaper tractor and the cab was quiet but could be removed; a few years later the 75hp 290 was added, which was a direct replacement for the 188. The 290 became one of MF’s best-selling tractors.
The 100 series had a long production life from 1964-79 and over 250,000 135s were built. The 135 was also made in a narrow version for fruit growers. Also a range of industrial and highway models from the 100 series, 2205/3305 were based on the 135/178 models. An MF 135 sales leaflet claimed that one in four tractors sold in Britain was a 135. All the 100 series still hold good money values and are still bought for export and collecting.