Light rig a to­tal steal in decades gone by

The 1950 Al­bion Chief­tain

Big Rigs - - LIGHT RIGS -

TALK about a his­tor­i­cal bar­gain, this Chief­tain comes with a price that would have spendthrifts grin­ning. Shame about in­fla­tion. When it first ar­rived in Bris­bane from the Al­bion Mo­tors’ works in the UK, the milk and choco­late brown 4x2 Al­bion FT 38L was just a cab and chas­sis.

A de­posit of 200 pounds (just $400 if we con­vert) se­cured its pur­chase for its then-new owner, Mr F Whyte of Am­boola Siding, out on the south­west­ern line be­tween Mitchell and Mun­gal­lala in west­ern Queens­land.

A tray body was added to the truck at the cost of 100 pounds ($200) and when ready for de­liv­ery it cost, af­ter tax and fully in­sured with 205 litres of diesel on board, the then-con­sid­er­able sum of a lit­tle un­der 2906 pounds. That’s a mere $5810.85. At the time the tax com­po­nent was $366, com­pre­hen­sive in­sur­ance $40.25 and third-party in­sur­ance just $2.70.

The 205 litres of diesel was an in­cred­i­ble 4 pounds 18 shillings and 10 pence. Just $9.90. The ini­tial de­posit was paid in late April 1951 and the truck was first reg­is­tered in late May of the same year.

On de­liv­ery the truck was ap­par­ently taken to Mitchell at night to avoid road tax.

The Al­bion was used to pri­mar­ily cart live­stock at Am­boola for the next 45 years un­til in 1999 it was moved to Oban homestead north­west of Dir­ran­bandi.

It re­mained with its orig­i­nal own­ers un­til 2001 when it was pur­chased by Doug Clark, who brought it back to South­east Queens­land for restora­tion.

In­ter­est­ingly nick­named “Claude”, the FT 38L un­der­went a five-month restora­tion be­fore be­ing re-reg­is­tered on “club” regis­tra­tion in Septem­ber 2001.

It re­mains in Mr Clark’s hands.

It has a recorded tare of four tonnes two hun­dred­weight and an ag­gre­gate of six tonnes.

The pat­terned clip­board hang­ing from the Al­bion’s ra­di­a­tor cap tells its story.

The taste­fully re­stored, near-70-year-old Al­bion is of­ten seen at her­itage truck shows across South­east Queens­land.

PHO­TOS: BOB RI­LEY

HIS­TORY IN MO­TION: The 1950 diesel-pow­ered 4x2 six ton Al­bion FT 38L.

The taste­fully re­stored rig is al­most 70 years old and a reg­u­lar on the her­itage truck show scene.

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