Vintage farm machinery collectors have been urging the Federal Government to intervene in the sale of a rare Australian-made tractor in the United States.
The McDonald Imperial Model EB internal combustion tractor (number 140) was sold new in 1912 to a farmer on Victoria's Phillip Island.
The tractor is being offered online by Illinois auction house, Aumann, with bidding standing at $US130,000 at 5.00pm Australian time on Friday.
Bidding will closed on 6pm on Saturday American time.
A. H. McDonald and Company of Melbourne was Australia's first tractor manufacturer, starting production in 1908.
The first internal combustion tractors in Australia were English Ivels which arrived in 1903.
John Edgar, a tractor collector from Heywood, Victoria, has been urging Australian officials to stop the sale.
"This rare tractor is one of just two which remain in the world, it was sent out of Australia unlawfully in 2008, and hidden from all until it appeared January this year on the auction site," Mr Edgar said.
"It has received world-wide attention from collectors and there is a substantial risk that the next purchaser will not be Australian.
"While I understand the tractor is unlikely to return I am attempting to engage with Government to carry out its role in protecting Australian heritage.
"Clearly this tractor fails to meet the requirements for export, and thus should be repatriated by Government," Mr Edgar said.
McDonald's early tractors were inspired by British and American designs, particularly those produced by Saunderson, Hart-Parr and Big Four.
Its second design of tractor, the Model EB of 1910, was influenced by the British Saunderson and was again powered by the Imperial D-Type twin-cylinder engine.
The 1912 tractor now up for sale has a two-cylinder vertical petrol engine with a 6.25 inch bore rated at 20 horsepower. It has 3 forward speeds and one reverse speed.
The sale has caught the interest of the Barossa Valley Machinery Preservation Society at Angaston, SA, which has part of a large collection of tractors and machinery which originally belonged to local building contractor and society founder, the late Kev Rohrlach.
Society vice president, Brice Pohl, said a very early McDonald Imperial had been among the items auctioned when Mr Rohrlach's collection had been sold after his death.
Society members hadn't been able to trace what had happened to the tractor and were wondering if it wast the same one now being auctioned in the US.
The story Rare Australian tractor up for grabs in US online auction first appeared on Farm Online.