Standing next to the Ferrari Cobram 50AR and you may be forgiven to think that it looks like a large scale model. It's hard to believe that under the bonnet sits a four stroke, direct injection diesel engine putting out 46HP. Chris Bassett visits Steve Weeks from the Kent Wildlife Trust to find out how his Ferrari tractor and Caroni mower, bought from nearby Lamberhurst Engineering is ideal for getting into tight, awkward spaces.
The Kent Wildlife Trust manages nine reserves within Medway, from the ancient semi-natural woodlands of Cromer's Wood to the internationally important Queendown Warren.
Steve Weeks, Warden for the Medway Valley decided that he needed a tractor and flail mower for all seasons having recently seen what colleagues from the National Trust were now using.
"The Ferrari model had been recommended to us, and after Lamberhurst Engineering arranged a demonstration we decided it fitted our requirements. The tractor is small enough to be transported between sites on a trailer, the low centre of gravity makes it safer to use on sloping and uneven sites than a conventional compact tractor and it is powerful enough to run the attachments we need to use," says Steve.
Although it is the reverse drive feature that sets the Cobram range apart from 'ordinary' tractors on the market, it is the marriage of compactness and power that impresses most. Featuring four models, the Cobram range offers a model to suit most purposes with two articulated models (AR) and two rigid steer (RS) models from 35HP - 46HP.
Compact, with a low profile, the Cobram range of tractors have been designed specifically for use where other tractors are too large or too heavy. The optimal steering radius, the four wheel drive and the ideal weight distribution let you work safely and efficiently in difficult terrain. The comfortable driving position, the ergonomically positioned controls and the practical, easy to read instruments let you work without fatigue.
"We currently use the Ferrari and Caroni mower for habitat management on a range of nature reserves in Kent. Work ranges from topping rush and woody re-growth through to grass cutting and ragwort control. It is also useful for off-road towing of water bowsers and trailers. At present it is used on about half a dozen reserves, but this is likely to increase as staffs become more familiar with the machine," commented Steve.
So, what does Steve make of the reverse drive feature? "Firstly, spinning the console round to face forwards or back is a piece of cake and it's actually harder to describe to someone how to do it, than it is actually doing it. Basically, all you need to do is raise the pedals, release the catch, lift the seat and turn the console round - it really is that simple!"
The whole operator console revolves around three central gear levers and the central forward reverse shuttle works back and forth so there is no risk of confusing which direction you are going in.
The Caroni 1.3 FTM, which was supplied with the tractor and also imported from Italy by Lamberhurst Engineering guarantees the correct cutting height by using an adjustable rear roller and a scraper, which keeps the mower clean. A set of side skids can be supplied upon request to suit the various different types of terrain. The TL series mount steel protections as standard to safeguard the driver when the rotor is in operation. The hitches, which are also standard fittings, allow the mower to be used with any type of tractor.
As to the price, the Cobram range starts at £15,447 for the base 38HP 3 cylinder AR model, £16,254 for the 46HP 4 cylinder AR model, £15,739 for the 38HP 3 cylinder RS model and £16,600 for the 46HP 4 cylinder RS model.
Steve is more than delighted with the Ferrari tractor, Caroni mower and the level of service from Lamberhurst Engineering. "We've found Lamberhurst to be very helpful from the first time we contacted them to arrange a demonstration and continue to find them more than helpful with any servicing and after sales support we need."
Lamberhurst Engineering Limited is the sole UK distributors of Ferrari Tractors, Pellenc electric pruners, Seppi mulchers, Caroni Spa and Brogio. For further details, please contact 08456 121 141, email email@example.com or visit www.lameng.com