Sunshine Model "A" tractor manufactured by H.V. McKay, of Sunshine, Victoria, about 1918.

Patented in 1916, the tractor was originally designed as the propulsion unit for a self-propelled stripper harvester, that could be disconnected and also used as an independent tractor or stationary power source. The tractor is equipped with by a transverse-mounted (sideways) 4-cylinder, four-stroke 27 h.p. petrol/kerosene engine made by the Continental Motors Corporation, United States of America, and with a gearbox with three forward and one reverse speed. The unique cylindrical radiator with an internal 4-blade fan was rebuilt when the tractor was restored for the Museum, based in the original paternt drawings. A prototype or experimental version of the Model "A" tractor was tested in Australia's first government tractor trails at the State Research Farm, Werribee in Septmeber 1918 and was also exhibited at the Royal Melbourne Show.

It is uncertain how many model "A" tractors were made; a company publication in 1949 suggested that "quite a number were sold, including one which was exported to Egypt...". One other example is known to survive in Queensland. H.V. McKay also manufactured a model "O" tractor with a more conventional longitudinally-mounted engine and front radiator.

This example was acquired by the Science Museum of Victoria in 1980, in a disassembled, incomplete and unrestored condition. Subsequently restored to operating condition for the museum by Stephan Gaal and Greg Ross of Janeve Model Engineering, during 1986-1987.

More Information