New owner for John Deere artics

Six 8630s from the mid- to late-70s and the impressive homemade implements they used to pull have been sold to a new Dutch owner. We were there to see the spectacular procession drive from the old home to a new one.

by Steven Vale

21 Jul 2021

Sunday morning started noisily at the Dutch village of Gieterveen when the engines of the six classic tractors were fired up for the two-hour drive south from a shed on the outskirts of the village, through the province of Drenthe to their new home in Schoonebeek.

Just two more 8630s to move to empty the building at Gieterveen.

The impressive convoy previously belonged to land improvement contractor Jan Mantingh, who recently passed away peacefully aged 78.

Initially a John Deere dealer, Mr Mantingh bought his first 8630 new early 1975, and for many years was both a contractor and dealer. A second new 8630 followed, and the last of four secondhand ones made from 1975-1978 arrived in the mid-1980s.

It is not every day you see six John Deere 8630s preparing for a long road trip. A good crowd turned up to follow the proceedings.

The block in four of the six tractors are revised versions of the original 275hp John Deere 10.1-litre six-pot version. In need of a bit more grunt to pull the biggest kit, Jan swapped out the engines in the other two for 14-litre V8 380hp Scania blocks, and it was these two that tended to enjoy most of the attention. The plate on one of them still reads 380hp, but the block was later replaced by a 460hp version.

Struggling with his health, Mr Mantingh completed his last land improvement job in September 2016, and with no successor, eventually decided to seek a buyer for his tractors and kit.

I can think of no-one else that has six 8630s and consider myself fortunate to have visited the friendly and knowledgeable Dutchman several times during the last 10 years of his life. What Jan did not know about John Deere tractors and land improvement was not worth knowing.

The Dutch farm machinery sector has not only lost a character, but also a heap of land improvement knowledge. On a more positive note, shortly before his death he fulfilled his final wish and found a new home for his entire collection of tractors and machines.

Mr Mantingh lived in a flat above the former John Deere dealership and before leaving the village some of the tractors lined up outside as a final tribute.

The new owner is Dutch trading company Engberts. A specialist spare parts business for European and US-built John Deere tractors, the company is not planning to strip the six 8630s for parts.

I took this picture of Jan Mantingh in September 2016. He retired just a few weeks later.

The two Scanias will soon be off to a large earthworks job in South Africa, after which it is unlikely they will return to the Netherlands. However, the four Deere powered 8630s will remain in Schoonebeek, and the new owner hopes to be able to pick up some land improvement work this autumn.

Most of the rest of the big kit remained on the tractors, but a fleet of other tractors were needed to shift the cultivators and other bits and bobs. The monster scraper box was transported a few days earlier on the back of a low loader.

The Mantingh story has ended, but there is a good chance some of his tractors and kit (includes a 6.0m-wide grader, a monster plough, a couple of 1.3m deep working subsoilers and a 20.0m³ scraper box) will continue to roam the fields in the north-east of the Netherlands.

It was a bit of a squeeze but by mid-afternoon all six tractors and most of the kit were safely reversed into their new home in Schoonebeek.

See also:

John Deere artics up for grabs | profi