Truck resto: ‘46 Ford Jailbar restored for Truck Assist
Roadside assistance brand Truck Assist has restored and customised a 1946 Ford Jailbar truck – but unlike its previous restoration project this one will be staying in the company’s stable, Greg Bush reports
Truck Assist, a branch of National Transport
Insurance (NTI), has announced a partnership with rising Supercar driver Jack Le Brocq and the Tekno Autosports team.
As well as sponsoring Le Brocq’s Tekno Holden Commodore, Truck Assist has restored and customised a 1946 Ford Jailbar truck. The Ford made its first public appearance at Sandown
on September 14 to 16 when the Commodore competed in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship ‘retro round’.
Both the Commodore and the Ford sport the Truck Assist emblems as well as wearing the Truck Assist orange-and-black colour scheme. NTI CEO Tony Clark announced the partnership at Tekno’s headquarters at Yatala, south of Brisbane.
“We’re delighted to be involved in this opportunity with Tekno,” Clark says. “It’s very exciting for us. It’s not something we’ve been involved in before.”
According to Alan Hasted, general manager of Truck Assist, the 1946 Ford Jailbar truck was an eight-month restoration and customisation project.
However, unlike NTI’s previous rebuild, the 1946 International K5 which was raffled off to raise money for motor neurone disease last year, the Ford will be staying in the NTI stable.
“The first one we did, we kept it really original,” Hasted says. “But it was really actually hard to drive because it had a crash box in it, brakes were 1940s’ brakes, so we thought we’d build something that anybody could hop in and drive because we’re going to keep this and have it as a promo vehicle.”
Despite its retro appearance, the old Ford has all the mod cons of a modern-day vehicle. Parts from a 2017 Isuzu NPR were engineered into the old chassis, and the cab and bonnet were split and widened by 300mm.
“It’s basically got an Isuzu drivetrain – engine, gearbox and suspension,” Hasted continues. “It’s a 5.2-litre turbo diesel four-cylinder, with a six-speed manual transmission.
“It’s got ABS, disc brakes, stability control, power steering … all those things that were not in the original 1946 Jailbar. It’s pretty much got everything that opens and shuts in it.
“Anyone can pretty well just hop in and drive it. I’ve had a go and it drives quite nice,” Hasted adds.
“It’s perfect for the retro round at Sandown.” As well as the Sandown 500, the Le Brocq’s Truck Assist Tekno Commodore will compete in the upcoming Bathurst 1000 and the Gold Coast
600, with team owner Jonathan Webb sharing driving duties.
“Our Truck Assist Commodore looks fantastic in orange and black, and Jonathan and I are looking forward to continuing our progress toward the front of the field,” Le Brocq says.
It’s got ABS, disc brakes, stability control, power steering … all those things that were not in the original 1946 Jailbar.
Truck Assist GM Alan Hasted with the customised and restored 1946 Ford Jailbar