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They were as good and reliable of a tractor as your old WD with a bit more pulling power.
Look for the obvious. Does everything run and work good, and are there any major oil puddles under it.
 

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Right place. I cannot offer any specific weak points to look for. My Ford experience is largely limited to 8Ns or a Jubilee. Pretty good tractor I'd say. As the Ford tractors improved and modernized,, they became larger and more powerful. I could only check the basics and go from there. As far as price, sorry.
This failed to post yesterday.
 

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Learning from experience on my MF 1250, a tractor such as the Ford 851 is relatively easy to service, almost every part is available compared to tractors from the last 20 years. It has reasonable power, It has live PTO and you can fix it yourself. The loader can either be a help or a n issue depending upon what you need. Find out how you can remove the loader assembly if you need to do engine work, etc.
 

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any ideas on what brand of loader this is?
I can't say for sure what manufacturer built the front loader, but it looks like the Ford branded loaders of the period.
I don't know if Ford built their own or outsourced to other companies.
Freeman Industeries built the front loaders branded Allis Chalmers and some Case that I know through the 70s.
 
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