It’s a haul lotta love
A rusty old Chev gets new life as a unique transporter
LET me introduce you to Australia’s coolest car transporter: It’s a custom 1936 Chevrolet truck with a chopped roof that has been transformed into a truly unique hauler.
The amazing machine belongs to Sydney’s Mitch Reinders, who wanted to customise a truck after playing with cars for many years.
He had always had a thing for ’ 36 Chevs, so it didn’t take long for him to decide to buy a rusty old version that had been used as a Victorian bushfire tanker way back in time.
Reinders started off with the idea of turning it into a custom pick-up truck. But that idea was quickly abandoned.
‘‘ I realised it would be a waste of money because I wouldn’t be able to use it for anything,’’ he says. Instead, Reinders, who makes display stands for exhibitions, decided to build the Chev as a flat-bed truck to carry all his gear.
And from that it developed into making a transporter which could be used to carry gear and cars.
Three years later, his dream is on the road and is an immaculate combination of gleaming chrome and glowing yellow paint. He says: ‘‘ Greg ‘ Beach’ Ball did most of the metal work and I think I drove him mad because I kept changing my mind. I did all the panel beating and rust cutting and a mate made the tilt tray.’’
Reinders did the paint himself, saving about $15,000.
The custom rig is 9m long but uses the original chassis rails. The tray body adds about a metre to the rear and it has a lazy rear axle— that is, one that doesn’t drive.
Just like a hot-rod, the special Chev takes components from several different cars and has a Mitsubishi L300 front end, HQHolden hubs and disc brakes from a Leyland P76.
Not that it was exactly straightforward. Reinders says he ended up buying two of everything because nothing fitted the first time.
The engine is a fresh 454 cubic inch (7.4-litre) crate special, a Chevrolet of course, with a special camshaft for more torque rather than a lot of peaky power.
Reinders bought a freeflowing manifold kit from the US which came as a box of elbows and straight sections to be welded together.
He was assured it would fit, but as soon as Reinders opened the box he knew it would take many hours of custom labour to get it to work.
The transmission is a heavyduty Turbo TH400 automatic with a gear-shifter that sticks out through the dashboard in a stunning custom interior.
‘‘ It doesn’t need to be on the floor because it is only controlled by a wire so I thought I would do something different with it,’’ Reinders says.
The 5.8m tray tilts, the end can be raised by 1.5m with a hydraulic system, and there is also a winch. Reinders installed some stainless steel tanks behind the cabin which look like small fuel tanks but are actually containers used to carry ropes and tie-downs.
And the whole thing sits on airbag suspension at the rear for a nice comfortable ride.
The Chev makeover did not initially include power steering but Reinders said he went out for a drive, got to the first corner and had a huge panic:
‘‘ I realised it was going to need power steering straight away.’’
He has already towed some cars but is yet to see whether his new machine will work in all the ways he needs to take his exhibition display sets.
In the meantime, he isjust enjoying driving a unique beast that is always attracting plenty of attention wherever he takes it.
‘‘ I get 15 minutes of fame every time I drive it,’’ he says.
‘‘ The reaction is incredible. People stop, they follow me and hang out of their car windows with their cameras.’’ ’
Picture: Tracee Lea
Eyecatcher: Mitch Reinders’ 1936 Chevrolet transporter gets as much attention or more as the cars it hauls