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From Massey to Terex: 55 years of Britain’s other backhoe loader

Digger Blogger | 11:05, Wed November 12 2014

While JCB has become synonymous with the British backhoe loader, Terex can also claim to have an equally rich heritage in its veins.

Although a US firm, Terex is planning to mark 55th anniversary of its British backhoe loader, manufactured in Manchester until 2003 and subsequently in Coventry.

Terex is a US company that was effectively created in its modern form by acquisitions. When it listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1991 it comprised primarily of a Motherwell-based off-highway truck division that once belonged to General Motors and Koehring Cranes in the USA.

Subsequent acquisitions included (among others):  Clark Material Handling, O&K Mining, Simon, PPM mobile cranes, American Crane, Peiner tower cranes, Gru Comedil, Fermec, Powerscreen, Atlas Weyhausen, Schaeff, Fuchs, Genie and Demag.

Several have since been divested, including Clark, O&K, Atlas and the Motherwell trucks.

Fermec, however, remains – even if that short-lived brand is no more.

The heritage of the Terex backhoe loader dates back to the Massey- Harris-Ferguson era of the 1950s and, in particular, the start of production in Manchester in 1959 of the Tractor Digger Shovel, or ‘Three in One’ (pictured above).

In 1961 came the introduction of the 203/205 and 65S/65R models (above). S models used a 6 speed manual transmission and the R models featured a 4 speed Instant Reverse version. These models were updated in 1965 with the creation of the 203/205 Mk2 and 3165S/3165R models.

In 1966 came the 3303/3305 models. The Massey Ferguson 250 loader (pictured above) incorporated a mechanical self-levelling bucket to reduce spillage during lifting and lowering. The new 252 sideshift backhoe incorporated the patented Hydra-Slide mechanism with hydraulic clamping.

1972 saw the arrival of the 50.B model (below) with new safety cab and improved loader and backhoe performance. This machine also included an automatic end of stroke cushioning feature in the backhoe boom cylinder.

In 1984 MF Industrial division introduced a power shuttle transmission, with synchromesh gear shifting and soft-shift direction.


The Fermec brand began life in 1992 after a management buyout of MF Industrial. A year later, the series 90 range was introduced (below), featuring the 750, 860, 865 and 965 models.

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In 1996 Case bought Fermec before selling it on again in 2000 to Terex. The colour of the machines changed from traditional yellow to Terex white with red flashes.

In 2003 Terex moved production from Manchester to a new facility in Coventry.

Eight years later, in 2011, Terex launched its next generation of backhoe loader, the TLB840 (below).

The top of the range Terex TLB990 and TLB850 backhoe loaders followed in 2014.

To mark the 55th anniversary, Terex is offering a limited run of TLB850 and TLB890 backhoe loader models fitted with a more powerful 83kW (111hp) engine, rather than the usual 70kW (93.8hp) Perkins number.

Here's the 890 in all its glory:

Terex has also set up a special website at, from where much of the above information and images come. 

Neal Nowick, general manager at Terex Coventry, says: “We are extremely proud of our heritage as a UK manufacturer and are keen to mark this milestone for our backhoe loader range, which has secured a loyal following in its past and can look forward to new global markets in the future.”




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