Full-Size Steam


McLaren 6NHP Traction Engine No. 60 of 1878

Manufacturer John & Henry McLaren Ltd, Leeds
Model General Purpose Traction Engine
Country of Origin UK
Nominal Horse Power 6NHP
Works No. 60
Weight 8-ton
Gears 2-speed
Year Built 1878 (register states 1879)
Condition Restored condition, currently laid up
Asking Price £180,000

We are delighted to offer for sale, on behalf of the owner, the oldest known surviving McLaren Traction Engine in working order. Built originally in 1878 by the reputable engine firm, ‘Seana Mac has lived a long life and is now offered for sale as an early survivor, rarely seen in preservation.

McLaren No.60 was reputedly built in 1878 making it a survivor from the early days of steam traction. Upon build completion, it left immediately for Ireland where it was imported by a Mr Andrew Colfer. Mr Colfer was an agricultural contractor based in the South East of Ireland and he would’ve used No. 60 for general farming activities. Research by the family who own No. 60 show that Mr Colfer’s activities were impressive with an alleged fleet of up to seven engines at his peak with lines of business including threshing and haulage as well as trading as coal merchants and as grain merchants. It is understood that No. 60 was, at one point, tasked with hauling Welsh coal from the dock to the Colfer’s yard amongst a variety of other activities.

The firm continued to use No. 60 until 1929, a remarkable length of time for such an early engine, before it was left to fall into disrepair. We understand the Colfer family moved from their farmhouse following the death of Andrew and, as part of that move, abandoned the old business machinery where it was in some woods with no further need for it.

From 1929 there was a long break where No. 60 was left until the current family acquired it in c. 1974 in a derelict condition, complete with a tree growing through it! A fascinating, documented story then presents itself for how the engine was extracted from the woodland and the long job of bringing it back to steam started. From 1974, a 22 year long restoration commenced which was documented in the Old Glory. No.60 returned to steam in time for the Upton Rally of 1996, a return to steam which was well documented at the time! Since the 1990s, ‘Seana Mac’ (the chosen name being the Irish translation for the first name chosen of ‘Old Mac’) has been a common sight on the Irish rally field and has become a well-known engine.

Despite being amongst the oldest engines we have advertised for sale, ‘Seana Mac’ features one of the ‘shortest’ histories with only two recorded owners in the 146 years since leaving the McLaren works! Great efforts were made to obtain the correct cast plate stating the original contractor as being ‘Andrew Colfer, Kiltra, Carrig, Wexford’ – this plate is now proudly mounted on the tender.

In terms of the technicalities of No. 60; it is a three-shaft, two-speed, single cylinder traction engine with a slide valve actuated by a Stephenson’s linkage. The boiler is set to 100PSI and the engine is plated to weigh 8-tons with the records suggesting it is a 6NHP machine. We understand, despite being so early, it is good on the road for c. 5mph.

It is fitted with Salter-type pressure release valves along with a governor, a mechanical lubricator and a displacement lubricator. The rear axle doesn’t have a differential but is fitted with a winch drum and cable. The gentleman who undertook the restoration was a sewing machine engineer by trade and you can really attest to his quality of workmanship throughout the engine.

Now nearly 30 years since the completion of the restoration, it has fared well but there are a few notes to make. The first gear is looking worn however there is less on the second gear. The rest of the drive train looks to be in good order. The paintwork is generally smart but there are signs the odd patch may be due on the coal bunker section of the tender. To be able to fault an engine of this age so little is impressive by any measure though, with the real interest being the age and historical significance of No. 60.

The sale includes historical paperwork, documents and boiler tests. Being based in Ireland, this engine has followed the Irish scheme for boiler testing so we advise possible UK-buyers to check with their boiler inspector in the first instance. There is no current boiler inspection in place following the lapse of the most recent inspection. As with any engine of this calibre, we would encourage any prospective buyer to employ the services of an independent inspector to review the engine prior to finalising purchase.

Overall, an almost unique opportunity to acquire a piece of early traction engine history. A real gem which we hope will find a third owner willing to care for it for a long time to come!

Asking Price – £180,000

We always encourage prospective buyers to view vehicles and steam engines in person prior to purchase. This engine is advertised for sale by Berrybrook Steam & Classics on behalf of the owner and seller.

For the sake of viewing logistics, this engine is currently stored in the Republic of Ireland. We ask that all viewings are booked in advance by giving us a call on +44(0)1392 833301.

Delivery can be arranged to anywhere in the UK, and beyond, at buyer’s expense.

The Company (Berrybrook Steam & Classics, trading name of Berrybrook Motors Ltd) offers the above details of this vehicle in good faith but cannot guarantee the accuracy of this information nor warrant the condition of the vehicle. A buyer should instruct their agents, surveyors or inspectors to investigate such details as the buyer desires validated. 

For Sale


Do you want to get involved in the world of steam? Are you considering buying a miniature steam engine? Are you stuck for a gift idea or are you simply looking for a good day out?

If so, we offer two different style days, tailored to suit your needs…

We offer a ‘Traction Engine Experience Day’, perfect as a gift and a fun day out learning a bit about what running a steam engine involves. We also offer a ‘Miniature Driving Lesson’ which is a half day course in the practical use of a scale traction engine.

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We specialise in the sale of steam engines and historic vehicles of all shapes and sizes! 

If you are looking to sell your steam engine or historic vehicle, we make both cash offers and sell on commission and would be more than happy to discuss the sale of your vehicle with you.

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Visit the official Berrybrook Steam & Classics online shop where we sell a range of steam-related products including gifts, parts and accessories for your miniature steam engine, gift vouchers for steam experience days and branded clothing!

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Milbury Model Company

We are delighted to announce the launch of our brand new partner website, the Milbury Model Company!

Our newest department is dedicated to supplying high-quality, brand new model and toy-sized steam engines, spares, accessories, gifts and more…

We are an official stockist for the complete range of Wilesco products which is sold from our Devon-based shop and is available to buy online.

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The Berrybrook Blog

Looking to find out more about the preservation movement, traction engines, historic vehicles or our heritage?

The Berrybrook Blog visits a range of topics to interest all readers!

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We can help you sell…

We specialise in selling steam engines and historic vehicles of all shapes and sizes.

If you are looking to sell your steam engine or historic vehicle, we make both cash offers and sell on commission.

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Our showrooms are open to anyone and you are more than welcome to pop in to say hello, regardless of whether a purchase is on your mind or not!

*We are occasionally open on some Saturdays by prior agreement only – please ring 01392 833301 on a normal working day to arrange a visit.

We are typically closed on Bank Holidays.

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Many of our local regulars know that we host annual ‘Boiler Test Days’ every Spring. It is attended ...

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