Clifford Model C Rotary Cultivator

This machine, the smaller and younger of two Clifford Cultivators, forms part of my farm machinery collection. Both Cliffords originally belonged to my Grandparents who owned a small farm near Penrith in Cumbria. In late 2005 the farm was sold, and we hired transport to move those items we wanted to keep (and a few that we didn't!) back to my parents' house some 200 miles further south.

This particular macine was bought for 100 in the year ending 30 September 1957. We had thought that it was bought new, but there is a slight query over the year of manufacture as Clifford generally didn't use this shade of green after about 1954 or 1955 - and furthermore the engine has a JAP carburettor which apparently dates the engine to 1951 or earlier. But perhaps it had just taken a long time to sell?

My Dad tells me that it was never a great success - unlike the larger Clifford - and that it was probably only used a dozen or so times, and quite possibly never at all after 1962! So it is a remarkable survivor - having simply been shoved in a shed and forgotten about.

This is the only example of a Clifford Model C known to the Clifford Register and in fact, before this one came to light, they had no record that such a model ever existed! So, given its relative lack of success, it is almost certainly a unique survivor.

Details of the history of the Clifford Aero & Auto Company can be found on either of the following websites:

Details of the JAP 2A engine can be found via this link:

The photos below show the Model C as it appears today. You can click on the photos for a closer look.

Photo Gallery:

© P. Hetherington 29/05/05.

This photo shows the Clifford Model C 'as found' in a lean-to shed at the end of the farm outbuildings. The door had come loose and cattle had been in and left the floor of the building in rather a disgusting state (to put it mildly). However, the Clifford had escaped the worst of it by virtue of being buried behind a pile of stuff and under some sort of shelf.

Photo © P. Hetherington 19/11/05.

This shows the Clifford basking in the sun on my parents' lawn. The machine was designed for working between rows of plants, hence the very narrow wheelbase.

There are no gears as such, but the lever on the left-hand handle engages the drive to the wheels, whilst that on the right-hand handle engages the drive to the rotor under the hood.

Photo © P. Hetherington 19/11/05.

A similar view from the other side.

The box on the handle contains the pull cord for starting the engine. The hinges were seized from standing for so many years, but were soon freed off with the aid of some WD40. Marvelous stuff.

Photo © P. Hetherington 19/11/05.

A view from the front.

Incidently, the hood is just 13 inches in width.

Photo © P. Hetherington 19/11/05.

The Clifford logo is still just about visible on the hood; my Dad remembers this transfer as having a gold background. The text reads 'Clifford Rotary Cultivator manufactured by Clifford Aero & Auto Limited, Birmingham, England'.

Photo © P. Hetherington 19/11/05.

The Clifford logo also appears on the rubber handles. This is the better of the two (the other one is virtually unreadable). Replacing these might be a problem when it comes to restoration time?

The handles are also very good for robins to perch on. Had I had the camera handy, I could have produced my own unique Christmas cards!

Photo © P. Hetherington 19/11/05.

The serial number appears on the left hand side of the casing which houses the drive chain (I assume it's a chain?). The engine number is above and to the left in this photo, but is much harder to read.

Photo © P. Hetherington 19/11/05.

This shows a close-up of the engine number; it's the clearest photo I could get after several attempts. It reads '2AC9878CS' with the letters 'C' being larger than the rest.

Photo © P. Hetherington 19/11/05.

A closer look at the J.A.P. four-stroke engine. The plate on the side gives starting instructions. It does turn over on the pull-cord, but I'm not convinced it would actually start after all of these years.

Photo © P. Hetherington 19/11/05.

Looking underneath the cultivator, you can see the rotary tools under the hood as well as the simple 'foot' which it stands on when at rest. When in use, this digs in and acts as a plough.
I'll add some more photos as and when the Clifford reaches the top of the restoration queue. It might be a while. Meanwhile, I'd be interested to find out any more information about these machines. For now, the Clifford is safely stored under cover, my parents' garage having been re-arranged in order to make space. For some reason they didn't want it in the house...?

Grateful thanks to Paul Coles for his help with identifying my two Cliffords. Paul runs a Clifford register; his contact details are available via one of the off-site links at the top of this page.

You can find out how to contact me here.

© Phil Hetherington 2005-07
Last Modified: 01.04.07