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Bris­bane Truck Show shines as the big­gest and bright­est truck­ing event in the South­ern Hemip­shere

Deals on Wheels - - Contents -

thou­sand gear changes and re­think it. My fin­gers still scrab­ble for a range change switch that doesn’t ex­ist.

I get lost in the box a cou­ple of times as I try and get my head around the un­fa­mil­iar pat­tern.

But it’s the steer­ing that takes even more get­ting used to. With no power steer­ing it’s a se­ri­ous ef­fort to get it around a cor­ner, even bob­tail. Daniel sits in the pas­sen­ger seat talk­ing me through it.

“You’ve got to start turn­ing about five me­tres be­fore the cor­ner, oth­er­wise you won’t get around it.”

He’s not kid­ding; the steer­ing box ra­tio is that slow.

Af­ter a cou­ple of three-point turns at round­abouts I get into the rhythm. The ’box starts to make sense and I can start to truly ap­pre­ci­ate this old piece of his­tory.

Com­pared with to­day’s big bangers, this truck seems quite small. It can be hard to imag­ine how it must’ve looked parked next to an F600 Ford in the early ’60s – it would’ve been mas­sive.

This truck hauled tim­ber out of the forests on log­ging tracks and dirt roads. What a job that must’ve been! I’m whinge­ing about the steer­ing bob­tail!

WORK­OUT WHEEL

The job would’ve en­tailed a dif­fer­ent breed of driver. Prob­a­bly one with bi­ceps the size of bas­ket­balls and not a pudgy mid­dle aged guy who wasn’t even born when this truck rolled off the pro­duc­tion line.

This truck de­mands me­chan­i­cal sym­pa­thy. It bucks, snorts and breathes. It re­quires the skill of a horse breaker to make it work. As we wind through the hills there’s a clang from the front end; the ra­di­a­tor grille shut­ters flick open to get some more cool­ing air through the front.

It’s hard not to smile as the Cum­mins growls through the hills east of Perth. The jake brake snarls in anger, bark­ing at the eu­ca­lypts and snap­ping at passers-by. It’s a beau­ti­ful piece of ma­chin­ery that de­mands skill and per­se­ver­ance to op­er­ate.

I can only imag­ine what it must’ve been like hang­ing off the wheel as fo­liage whipped past the mir­rors with a 40-tonne lump of jar­rah on the back. There would’ve been no sec­ond chances with this jig­ger; grab the gear and go.

It’s a take-no-pris­on­ers ap­proach to driv­ing. Some­times the past is a nice place to visit but you wouldn’t want to live there!

This pi­geon pair of Pac­car clas­sics book­end not only a com­pany story but an amaz­ing fam­ily his­tory: a chronicle of in­no­va­tion and hard work that started on a Fre­man­tle dock more than 50 years ago and con­tin­ued into a sec­ond gen­er­a­tion.

Daniel’s pride in these trucks and their her­itage is ev­i­dent, and rightly so – they’re a part of his fam­ily’s story. And hope­fully they’ll con­tinue to be a part of it for gen­er­a­tions to come.

1993 Peter­bilt 379 prime mover. Detriot S60@

550hp, 18 spd, 70T B-dou­ble • VIC 03 9998 4887

2014 Peter­bilt 388. 388 se­vere duty CAT 3. Plat­inum in­te­rior, leather • VIC 0418 989 382

1992 Peter­bilt 379. Day cab, 970,394kms, Detroit 550hp, 18 spd • VIC 0418 101 320

Above left: Daniel Ri­dolfo cut his teeth on the tools; these trucks have a lot of sen­ti­men­tal value to the Ri­dolfo fam­ily

Above right: At one stage Ri­dolfo Trans­port op­er­ated all three of the Pac­car brands: Hayes, Peter­bilt and Ken­worth

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