A 1985 Takeuchi TB12 still operating in Pontefract in the North of England. Yorkshire based company Lee Estates got an early Takeuchi TB12 bought in 1985, and this same machine is still in the company yard and remains in regular use for nearby dyke cleaning.
The company remembers that Jimmy Queghan got the ball rolling with Takeuchi machines. Although Queghan’s were a contractor they saw the benefits of the machines and expanded into selling equipment. Lee Estates a Yorkshire based building contractor became an early Takeuchi customer.
They remembered the Queghan salesman Eric Stones, who did a really good deal for £8000 (£21,500 in today’s money) for the first TB12 in the UK. Takeuchi were up against competitors Kubota and Yanmar machines, but the Takeuchi had something special.
The TB12’s first contract was for Yorkshire Water Authority in Hipperholme near Halifax. Other memorable jobs for the TB12 across Leeds City Centre included demolition of the old shopping centre where the new Schofield Centre now sits and the demolition of the old West Yorkshire Combined Authority building on Wellington Street. All the way through the 90s this original machine continued to put in the hours on house extensions, drainage and under-pinning, with a dedicated driver Dave Tingey this machine worked all over the North.
The compact size got the TB12 to work in places other larger machines couldn’t get. Driver Dave soon got used to it, more familiar with a typical JCB 3C Backhoe, the new TB12 was quite different, but the digging power and work-rate was so impressive. You could get 100 metres of new water main at 30inch deep along grass verges done in a day with 10inch bucket. Its small size got into tight spots like ginnel areas around housing estates.
It was fully cabbed and came with a blade as standard with good pushing power. No heater but it came with a radio permanently tuned to radio 2. It even had a sunroof and sun-visa to make the most of Yorkshire sunshine.
The direct levers made all the difference when operating as did the foot pedal operation of the auxiliaries which was unusual at that time. Operators soon worked out that the foot pedal with a toe under gave you dual flow – perfect for many more attachments like log splitters and they quickly got other useful attachments from breakers, buckets from 8 inch right up to 1 metre dyking buckets.
In over 36 years this TB12 has had only 4 sets of rubber tracks whilst working on some of the toughest demolition sites and under pinning. The good practice of one machine one driver meant the lads really looked after their machines.
Early investors like Lee Estates were pioneers at the time, who saw how the arrival of mini excavators changed all sorts of building jobs for the better. These early Takeuchi customers took the risk and certainly paved the way for the high volumes of mini excavator sales we see today and helped make a mini excavator a must-have machine for any builder