MOTORMAN

CAN NEW ZEALAND’ S ONLY MASS-PRO­DUCED MO­TOR VE­HI­CLE BE ACCORDED CLAS­SIC CAR STA­TUS? DONNA ND ER SON PONDERS AF­TER RE­MEM­BER­ING THE FIRST LENGTHY ROAD TEST OF A TREK K AT O CAPE RE IN GAIN THE SUM­MER OF 1967…

New Zealand Classic Car - - EDITORIAL -

Clas­sic car en­thu­si­asts have widely dif­fer­ent pref­er­ences — one per­son’s gold is an­other’s scrap metal. So, ig­nore fi­nan­cial re­turns or in­vest­ment ad­vice when choos­ing what you wish to ad­mire and own, and take no no­tice of those who say they know bet­ter when they prob­a­bly do not.

Lengthy re­search and due dili­gence go without say­ing, as does care­fully check­ing own­er­ship of any car you fancy. Of course, it pays to set­tle on the best pos­si­ble ex­am­ple while stay­ing within your bud­get. Trust no one, and keep it orig­i­nal, for you are look­ing af­ter the ve­hi­cle for the next gen­er­a­tion.

Which brings us to the Trekka that I drove to Cape Reinga pre­cisely 50 years ago, never dream­ing that one day any­one could think it any­thing like a col­lectable item. But though the Trekka is ba­sic and util­i­tar­ian, it de­serves spe­cial sta­tus not only be­cause it was the high­est lo­cal-con­tent mo­tor ve­hi­cle ever made here, but be­cause it was also New Zealand’s first and only masspro­duced car.

Hum­ble be­gin­nings

Turner, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of the Mo­tor Hold­ings Group, told me the idea was his. The Kaw­erau pro­to­type was sent to Mo­tor Hold­ings in Auck­land, and Ris­bridge an­tic­i­pated his com­pany would have a share in the project.

But the Brad­ford was never likely to fly. Its side-valve flat-twin 1.0-litre pro­duced a mis­er­able 14kw and gave the van a top speed of 85kph. That made it barely faster than walk­ing, though it was a use­ful load-car­rier, as I found out when my fa­ther ran two for his elec­tri­cal busi­ness in the early ’50s.

The other myth — which is clearly more fic­tion than fact — is that Mo­tor Hold­ings found it­self with a bunch of half-fin­ished Skoda Oc­tavias that were miss­ing many parts and de­cided to cob­ble to­gether a ba­sic work­horse and thereby use up said bits. Ac­cord­ing to those who know, this is non­sense. A sim­ple pro­to­type was built in 1964, but this was a far cry from the pro­duc­tion re­al­ity. Ge­orge Tay­lor, who had worked for Rolls-royce and a coach­build­ing com­pany in Bri­tain, as well as on com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles in New Zealand, was as­signed the task of turn­ing the pro­to­type into a com­mer­cial propo­si­tion.

In those days, Sko­das had a rather un­en­vi­able rep­u­ta­tion for shoddy fin­ish and poor re­li­a­bil­ity, but Turner could see the po­ten­tial for a low-cost prac­ti­cal ve­hi­cle in a mar­ket starved of new ones. The Volk­swa­gen Bee­tle was the cash cow for Mo­tor Hold­ings, but the com­pany also had the fran­chise for the com­mu­nist Cze­choslo­vakian brand, and the durable 1221cc Oc­tavia four-cylin­der en­gine, which also served com­mer­cial ve­hi­cle pur­poses in the home­land, seemed an ideal power source.

Ad­di­tion­ally, the Skoda plat­form was a good choice for an all-pur­pose ute or van, although, in 1966, I was ap­par­ently mis­in­formed that there were mi­nor mod­i­fi­ca­tions to al­ter the wheel­base. In fact, the 2400mm wheel­base is iden­ti­cal to that of the Oc­tavia sa­loon built from 1959 un­til 1971, as is the Trekka’s over­all length of 4065mm. Over­all height, of course, is greater at 1867mm — 437mm more than the Oc­tavia, and Dun­lop Road­trak tyres were fit­ted to the 15-inch-di­am­e­ter steel rims.

It had in­de­pen­dent swing­ing half axles, and mod­i­fi­ca­tions were made to the rear sus­pen­sion, while the four-wheel in­de­pen­dent sus­pen­sion was per­ceived to be a good sales fea­ture. Yet, while Mo­tor Hold­ings lauded a de­sign that was specif­i­cally suited to New Zealand con­di­tions, the lack of four-wheel drive was some­thing of an ob­sta­cle to farm­ers, lo­cal bod­ies, and in­dus­trial or con­tract­ing busi­nesses need­ing back-up ve­hi­cles to sup­ple­ment their heavy equip­ment. The ve­hi­cle ap­par­ently orig­i­nated from a con­verted Jowett Brad­ford van built by Peter Ris­bridge, who had an en­gi­neer­ing com­pany in Kaw­erau, although, at the launch of Trekka pro­duc­tion Noel

Body stamp­ing was com­pleted by HJ Ryan, and con­tracts were let for lo­cal man­u­fac­ture of a mul­ti­tude of com­po­nents.

When the Trekka was un­veiled in De­cem­ber 1966, it was the first Kiwi-built pro­duc­tion ve­hi­cle to con­tain 80 per cent lo­cal con­tent, and the re­tail price was a lit­tle more than a Mor­ris Mi­nor and slightly cheaper than a Ford Cortina 1200. The base price of £899 ($1798) in­creased to £950 ($1900) when it was spec­i­fied with a lim­ited-slip dif­fer­en­tial (LSD). The Trekka was never go­ing to pro­vide the 4WD an­swer to the Land Rover or Austin Gipsy, which were sub­ject to im­port li­cens­ing and al­ways in short sup­ply, but the Kiwi-built cre­ation was about £600 ($1200) cheaper.

Bal­anced trac­tion

There’s a mo­tor sport con­nec­tion to the op­tional LSD that was, un­for­tu­nately, miss­ing from my North Cape test ex­am­ple. Ray Stone was a tal­ented me­chanic, who, with his Per­for­mance De­vel­op­ment com­pany in Ma­nurewa, worked with such prom­i­nent rac­ing driv­ers as Johnny Mansell, Bill Thomasen, Paul Fa­hey, and Roly Le­vis. Ray tested sev­eral ver­sions of an LSD for Mo­tor Hold­ings on farm­land near his South Auck­land home, and came up with a mod­i­fied part, dubbed ‘Bal­anced Trac­tion’ by Mo­tor Lines’ gen­eral man­ager Colin French — hence the ‘BT’ badge on the rear of those ex­am­ples fit­ted with what was re­ally an es­sen­tial op­tion.

The Trekka had not been sub­jected to a pre-de­liv­ery check and was show­ing just 50 miles on the clock. Four of us were set­ting off on a 1227km … run that would mark the first time that a Trekka had ven­tured that far north

French, who was a driv­ing force be­hind the Trekka project, be­came gen­eral man­ager of an­other di­vi­sion of Mo­tor Hold­ings — Mazda New Zealand — in 1972, and steered the Ja­panese make through a crit­i­cal growth pe­riod un­til a sud­den heart at­tack in 1989 re­sulted in his un­timely death. He la­belled the Trekka the ‘2-10’, with all the early pro­duc­tion painted green and sport­ing a can­vas top. White fi­bre­glass canopy tops made by Fi­bre­glass Mould­ings soon be­came a pop­u­lar ex­tra — un­sur­pris­ingly, given the amount of time re­quired to erect the soft-top sin­gle-hand­edly, with fas­ten­ing clips dif­fi­cult to lo­cate. Run­ning changes in­cluded im­prove­ments to seat­ing, although we found the early seat­ing com­fort­able, with plenty of pad­ding and good ad­just­ment. But, with four adults aboard, this meant mov­ing the spare wheel from be­hind the pas­sen­ger seat to the rear load com­part­ment. How­ever, more crit­i­cal prob­lems would soon an­noy own­ers.

No fewer than 32 deal­ers were fran­chised to sell the new ve­hi­cle, and, with parts and ser­vic­ing pre­sent­ing no prob­lem, there was high in­ter­est in the lo­cal cre­ation. Yet, as the Trekka went into ser­vice, some own­ers were dogged with poor re­li­a­bil­ity. One cou­ple from Marl­bor­ough bought a new Trekka in 1967 and re­ported prob­lems with the ex­haust sys­tem, fuses, and gen­eral qual­ity. Owner Mar­garet Philips launched a cam­paign to force Mo­tor Hold­ings to buy back the Trekka, tow­ing the ve­hi­cle to Auck­land where a part set­tle­ment was reached. But most prob­lems ex­pe­ri­enced by own­ers were mi­nor, and the Min­istry of Trans­port claimed to have few fail­ures with the 180 Trekkas in its fleet.

Am­bi­tious plans

Ini­tial sales were good, and Mo­tor Hold­ings had ex­pec­ta­tions of achiev­ing 1000 reg­is­tra­tions for 1967, the first full cal­en­dar year. The fi­nal tally that year was a stil­limpres­sive 708, enough to claim a 15.6-per­cent share of the light-com­mer­cial mar­ket. Trekka never im­proved on this pen­e­tra­tion, but the best year for num­bers sold was 1969, with 724 units, af­ter se­cur­ing 14 per cent the pre­vi­ous year.

Af­ter three years, deal­ers were find­ing it dif­fi­cult to sell the ve­hi­cle, and share of the light-com­mer­cial sec­tor was down to nine per cent in 1970, with 409 re­tailed that year, 236 in 1971, 176 in 1972, and 24 units in 1973, the fi­nal year of pro­duc­tion. Just one strag­gler was sold in 1974.

A few were ex­ported to Fiji and other Pa­cific Is­lands, and there were am­bi­tious plans to sell 750 Trekkas a year to Aus­tralia in re­turn for an equal num­ber of im­port li­cences for Holden. But the ve­hi­cle did not strike a chord with our trans-tas­man cousins, and fewer than 100 were sold there. Plans were also put in place for a com­plete­knock­down (CKD) pro­gramme in In­done­sia, but this col­lapsed in 1971. Five Trekkas went to Viet­nam with the New Zealand forces in July 1969, and, in 2003, Taranaki­born Michael Steven­son took one to the 50th Venice Bi­en­nale — prob­a­bly the only ex­am­ple to make it to Europe. To­tal pro­duc­tion over the seven years Trekkas rolled out of the Otahuhu plant was around 2800 — a gen­er­ous num­ber, if not as good as what Noel Turner had planned. Turner did not sur­vive to see the end of pro­duc­tion — he died on Oc­to­ber 17, 1971, the same week­end that he was work­ing on a deal to sell his com­pany.

Test­ing time

Rewind to early 1967, and the Auck­land Skoda Cen­tre had dif­fi­culty se­cur­ing a test ve­hi­cle for Motorman mag­a­zine to road test. We ended up with a Trekka that had not been sub­jected to a pre-de­liv­ery check and was show­ing just 50 miles on the clock. Four of us were set­ting off on a 1227km (700-mile) run that would mark the first time a that Trekka had ven­tured that far north.

So, was the trip trou­ble-free? Well, not ex­actly.

With the 50-litre petrol tank topped up, we set forth from Auck­land, con­fi­dent the un­der-stressed wet-sleeved Skoda mo­tor would see us through, de­spite the mod­est 35kw (47bhp) at 4500rpm out­put and low com­pres­sion ra­tio of 7.5 to 1. It was re­luc­tant to start from cold but oth­er­wise quite will­ing. While the wind­screen wipers had a good spread, they con­tin­u­ally went on the blink dur­ing our few days of driv­ing and even­tu­ally stopped al­to­gether. The steer­ing-col­umn boss loos­ened and worked its way down the col­umn, and, by the time we reached Whangarei, we no­ticed an oil leak. This was sim­ply a sump bolt that needed tight­en­ing, but we were glad to find the stan­dard tool kit con­tained a com­pre­hen­sive ar­ray of tools. Most own­ers prob­a­bly found the tool­kit to be a well-used item.

The in­te­rior was clearly well de­signed, if con­ven­tional, with in­stru­ments from the Oc­tavia com­pris­ing a 90mph (145kph) speedo, wa­ter-tem­per­a­ture and fuel gauges, and a lined pocket to the left of the fa­cia. The

in­di­ca­tors were not self-can­celling, but at least both doors had two side pock­ets, the up­per one lined, and the door win­dows were slid­ing like those of a Mini. Un­lined bench seats were fit­ted ei­ther side of the rear com­part­ment and in­cor­po­rated four un­lock­able stor­age com­part­ments which were dif­fi­cult to open. Rub­ber mats lined the floor up front, and the starter con­trol was floor mounted.

Later in the test, we ran a set of per­for­mance fig­ures that re­vealed a top speed of 111kph and in­di­rect gear speed max­i­mums of 32kph in first, 50kph in se­cond, and 80kph in third. Own­ers were un­likely to la­bel their Trekkas as ‘speedy’ when it took a good 25 se­conds to ac­cel­er­ate from a stand­still to 100kph. Even so, the low gear ra­tios made the light truck nippy, with good low-speed pulling power. Trekka pulled up most hills in third, although the large gap be­tween se­cond and third ra­tio was a small hand­i­cap. Our av­er­age fuel con­sump­tion over the en­tire route, which in­cluded off-road ex­cur­sions, was 10.6 litres per 100km (26.7 miles per gal­lon).

The trim, un­laden weight of 907kg and abil­ity to carry a half-tonne load were al­ways go­ing to be a good sell­ing point, and our pay­load of four adults and lug­gage were scarcely a bur­den. The Trekka showed no strain, cruis­ing at 50 to 55mph, and, although firm, the ride was not un­com­fort­able, and noise lev­els were rea­son­ably sub­dued.

The first evening stop was at Man­gonui be­fore em­bark­ing on the 112km run to the cape the next morn­ing, with the sealed road soon chang­ing to a twist­ing met­alled strip. Our Trekka was taken off-road sev­eral times to ne­go­ti­ate nar­row bush tracks, and, while its light weight was an as­set, its lack of LSD clearly re­stricted our abil­ity to keep mov­ing in the rough.

With the canopy in place, mo­tor­ing was rea­son­ably draught-free, but the rear flap had to be fas­tened down on gravel and dry off-roads to avoid a dusty cabin. Soon the Houhora Ho­tel — New Zealand’s north­ern­most pub — was be­hind us, with the cape draw­ing nearer. A de­tour to the right led the Trekka to Spir­its Bay, where our ve­hi­cle strug­gled on the beau­ti­ful sandy beach. On to the cape, where, un­like to­day, we were able to drive right down and be­yond the lighthouse to the edge of the cliff, and peer 170m into the sea and the meet­ing of the Tas­man and Pa­cific oceans. A per­fect sum­mer’s day, with the Three Kings Is­lands to the north-west and not a tourist in sight.

For the re­turn trip, we planned to turn west at Te Paki and make the faster jour­ney along Ninety Mile Beach. An AA sign said ac­cess to the beach was closed, but an in­spec­tion by foot of the up­per part of the Te Paki stream showed the way to be ac­ces­si­ble, and, throw­ing cau­tion to the wind, the Trekka plunged down the river bed, mak­ing short work of the stream with its sandy base.

Once on the beach, our ve­hi­cle cov­ered the 70km to Sweet­wa­ter ef­fort­lessly, although one large bump at around 80kph knocked out all the rub­ber sus­pen­sion stop­pers and al­most threw the oc­cu­pants into the sand. Back in Auck­land, we pon­dered the fact that the Trekka as a van or a util­ity was clearly a com­pro­mise be­tween a road ve­hi­cle and fully fledged off-roader, as well as be­ing rea­son­ably com­fort­able over long dis­tances.

Todd Niall’s 240-page book, The Trekka Dy­nasty, pub­lished in 2004, is an ab­sorb­ing tale not only of this util­i­tar­ian ve­hi­cle but also of Noel and Arthur Turner and the Mo­tor Hold­ings Group. As Todd points out, the Trekka is a re­minder that life in New Zealand was once very dif­fer­ent.

Now that you know more about the Trekka, I am not sup­pos­ing you’ll have fallen in love with it and be ac­tively rush­ing out to buy one. How­ever, spare a thought for this quirky lit­tle ma­chine that has per­son­al­ity; was much loved by some, if not all; and is very much a part of New Zealand au­to­mo­tive folk­lore.

vari­ant means the Ram is now a vi­able op­tion for tradies at the top of their game and lifestylers with a need for torque.

As much as I’d love to tell you that Chrysler saw the op­por­tu­nity to bring its trucks to the huge ute mar­ket that is New Zealand and Aus­tralia by re­tool­ing its Michi­gan plant, I’d be ly­ing. Of course an op­por­tu­nity was spot­ted, but it was more eco­nom­i­cal to pro­duce the trucks in left-hand drive and put them on a ship to Mel­bourne for Walkin­shaw Au­to­mo­tive Group, which has put to­gether a re-assem­bly plant to con­vert the big left hook­ers to right-hand drive in con­junc­tion with lo­cal dis­trib­u­tor, Ateco, to con­vert.

Walkin­shaw Au­to­mo­tive has spent count­less man hours and mil­lions of dol­lars re-en­gi­neer­ing the Ram. Fol­low­ing all of this R&D, and the cre­ation of ef­fi­cien­cies in the process, it now takes just 20 hours to com­plete a con­ver­sion. The ul­ti­mate goal of the swap from left to right was to pro­duce an end prod­uct that meets Fiat Chrysler’s fac­tory stan­dards, and you’d have to say the crew has done a bang-up job of it, too.

Big is good

The Ram is avail­able as both the 2500 and 3500 (which will re­quire you to make a trip to your lo­cal li­cence cen­tre to get your HT re­newed) in the lands down un­der, with Walkin­shaw build­ing 90 per cent of its an­nual al­lot­ment as 2500s (ap­par­ently not much in­ter­est has come through for the 3500; it’s just too big, we reckon). Both trucks are best pow­ered by the 6.7-litre Cum­mins diesel en­gine, but for the, um, bolder buyer, there is a petrol ver­sion, too. Power for the diesel ver­sion we tested was seem­ingly se­date at 276kw, but where it gets in­ter­est­ing, and sud­denly be­gins to make a whole lot of sense, is in the torque fig­ure: 1084Nm. The Ram is here to com­pete against trucks, mid-sized utes, and lux­ury SUVS, and with that torque fig­ure, it might just be able to com­pete against all three at once.

A nice place to be

The ca­pa­cious in­te­rior makes long jour­neys a breeze for ev­ery pas­sen­ger. Rear-seat legroom is enough to ac­com­mo­date the tallest folk, and it could eas­ily ac­com­mo­date three back there for the long haul, too. Prac­ti­cal­ity clearly hasn’t come at the ex­pense of lux­ury, with full leather op­tioned in this Laramie ver­sion, along with heated and ven­ti­lated seats in the front, 10-way power ad­just­ment for the driver and six-way ad­just­ment for the front pas­sen­ger, plus a heated steer­ing wheel for those chilly morn­ings.

Other fea­tures in­clude dual-zone cli­mate con­trol, an eight-inch touch­screen dis­play with nine-speaker sound sys­tem plus sub­woofer and Usb/blue­tooth con­nec­tiv­ity, and don’t for­get the Kiwi three-point socket sit­ting con­ve­niently within the cen­tre con­sole (toasties on the run, any­one?).

She’s a safe beast, too. There are six full-length cur­tain airbags and elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol, rear park as­sist and a re­verse-view cam­era, as well as a cargo cam­era atop the cabin to keep an eye on the load in the tray.

Tow, tow, tow your boat

The Borg­warner BW 44-46 trans­fer case for the Ram’s 4x4 set-up fea­tures re­spon­sive elec­tronic shift, which can be con­trolled on the fly with three op­er­at­ing ranges (2WD, 4 High, and 4 Low) plus neu­tral. This im­pres­sive unit of­fers a re­duc­tion ra­tio of 2.64:1 for low-range use.

On the pin­tle set-up, the Ram 2500 can tow a mas­sive 6989kg (more than dou­ble the Ranger) while the leaf-sprung 3500 can tow 6170kg, but makes up for it with a bed load ca­pac­ity of 1713kg to the 2500’s 913kg, firmly tar­get­ing the fifth-wheel en­thu­si­ast, of which we don’t have a huge num­ber here in New Zealand. Com­bined pay­load is the same for both trucks at 11,479kg — again, sig­nif­i­cantly more than any other ute avail­able for sale with a fac­tory war­ranty. This tow­ing ca­pac­ity opens up a world of op­por­tu­nity for the num­ber of Ki­wis who have been look­ing at that multi-car garage to keep the team happy. As part of the 2500’s pack­age, you’ll get the very truck-like ex­haust brake, which will help keep your speed in check when there’s a big load on the back.

So, while the price tag isn’t for the faint of heart — at a ten­ner un­der $165K, as tested — the Ram of­fers space, power, mas­sive tow­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties, and a few crea­ture comforts for those who live by the mantra that big is best.

A spe­cial thanks to Winger North Shore, Ken­nards Hire Pukekohe, and Peter Martin — Ul­ti­mate Rally Group.

How much can your ve­hi­cle tow safely?

Most ve­hi­cles have tow rat­ings given to them by the man­u­fac­turer spec­i­fy­ing the gross trailer weight braked, un­braked, or both, that the ve­hi­cle can safely tow. Although the law does not re­quire these tow rat­ings to be fol­lowed, the New Zealand Trans­port Agency (NZTA) rec­om­mends that they be taken into ac­count.

The law does re­quire that ev­ery light ve­hi­cle and trailer com­bi­na­tion be ca­pa­ble of stop­ping within a dis­tance of 7m from a speed of 30kph. In ef­fect, this means that the max­i­mum al­low­able weight of an un­braked trailer is lim­ited by the weight and brak­ing abil­ity of the ve­hi­cle be­ing used to tow it.

As a guide, the NZTA rec­om­mends that the laden weight of an un­braked trailer not ex­ceed three-quar­ters of the un­laden weight of the tow­ing ve­hi­cle, and then only if the tow­ing ve­hi­cle’s brakes and tyres are in ex­cel­lent con­di­tion. A trailer heav­ier than this may pre­vent the ve­hi­cle com­bi­na­tion from meet­ing the 7m from 30kph brake-per­for­mance re­quire­ment. To il­lus­trate the in­crease in stop­ping dis­tance when tow­ing an un­braked trailer, con­sider a trailer with a laden weight equal to the weight of the tow­ing ve­hi­cle.

This com­bi­na­tion can be ex­pected to have dou­ble the stop­ping dis­tance of the tow­ing ve­hi­cle alone, and even a tow­ing ve­hi­cle with good brakes is likely to fail the le­gal brakeper­for­mance re­quire­ment of 7m from 30kph. If the trailer is equipped with brakes, it may be pos­si­ble to safely tow a trailer heav­ier than three-quar­ters of the un­laden weight of the tow­ing ve­hi­cle, but the 7m from 30kph brakeper­for­mance re­quire­ment still ap­plies.

Note: Re­mem­ber that a car, util­ity ve­hi­cle, or light van is not per­mit­ted to tow more than one trailer or ve­hi­cle.

Tow bars and tow cou­plings

Although tow bars are not re­quired to be rated and cer­tifed on light ve­hi­cles, there are safety re­quire­ments. Your tow cou­pling and tow bar must be strong enough to safely tow your fully laden trailer. The tow bar must also be cor­rectly fit­ted so that it trans­fers the tow­ing forces to the struc­ture of the tow­ing ve­hi­cle without any dis­tor­tions of the tow bar or the tow­ing ve­hi­cle’s body­work/struc­ture.

In ad­di­tion, when you are load­ing the trailer, make sure that there will be a down­wards force on the ve­hi­cle tow bar at the point of at­tach­ment equal to about 10 per cent of the weight of the trailer plus load. Do not put too much weight at the back of the trailer. En­sure there is a down­wards force at the point of at­tach­ment, to im­prove the han­dling char­ac­ter­is­tics when you are tow­ing.

The cou­pling on the trailer must have a man­u­fac­turer’s rat­ing ap­pro­pri­ate for the gross laden weight of the trailer and be com­pat­i­ble with the tow ball size.

There are two sizes of tow balls in use: • the older 17∕ 8-inch di­am­e­ter • the newer 50mm di­am­e­ter.

The tow ball and cou­pling must be in good con­di­tion and se­curely at­tached to the tow bar and trailer draw bar, re­spec­tively. When con­nect­ing the trailer to the tow­ing ve­hi­cle, you must make sure that the tow cou­pling, elec­tri­cal con­nec­tion, and safety chain(s) are all con­nected cor­rectly, so that they work prop­erly. Re­mem­ber that the gap be­tween the ve­hi­cle and the trailer must be no more than 4m. Trailer brakes There are three types of brakes. 1. Ser­vice • Di­rect — this ser­vice-brake sys­tem al­lows the driver of the tow­ing ve­hi­cle to di­rectly con­trol the trailer brakes from the driv­ing po­si­tion. This in­cludes vac­u­um­op­er­ated brakes and pneu­matic-over-hy­draulic sys­tems, con­trolled di­rectly by the driver of the tow­ing ve­hi­cle. • In­di­rect — with this ser­vice-brake sys­tem, the ac­tion of the driver ap­ply­ing the tow­ing ve­hi­cle’s brakes causes the trailer to push against the tow­ing ve­hi­cle, and this force in­di­rectly con­trols the trailer brakes. This in­cludes over­ride brakes. 2. Break­away These will ap­ply them­selves au­to­mat­i­cally if the trailer is ac­ci­den­tally dis­con­nected from the ve­hi­cle. 3. Park­ing These brakes are ap­plied by hand and are use­ful for hold­ing the trailer when it has been dis­con­nected from the tow­ing ve­hi­cle. A light trailer may be re­quired to have ser­vice brakes, park­ing brakes, break­away brakes, or safety chains, de­pend­ing on the gross laden weight of the trailer. The ta­ble at right out­lines the re­quire­ments for the types of brake that must be fit­ted to light trail­ers.

Loads over­hang­ing the ve­hi­cle or trailer

Warn­ing de­vices.

If the load (in­clud­ing equip­ment used to sup­port or re­tain the load) ex­tends more than 200mm be­yond the sides of the ve­hi­cle or trailer, or more than one me­tre be­yond the front or back of the ve­hi­cle, then you must at­tach suit­able warn­ing de­vice(s) to it. Dur­ing day­light you must at­tach: • flags (coloured white or fl uores­cent red, or­ange or yel­low, at least 400mm long by 300mm wide)

Se­cur­ing your load

All loads, in­clud­ing those car­ried on trail­ers, should be prop­erly re­strained so that they can’t shift around while the ve­hi­cle is mov­ing.

All ob­jects should be re­strained by be­ing: • se­curely packed in­side com­part­ments that

are rigidly at­tached to the ve­hi­cle, or • held se­curely in racks or cra­dles or frames de­signed to fit that size of ob­ject and which are rigidly at­tached to the ve­hi­cle, or held by lash­ings (web­bing straps, ropes, chains) or clamps se­curely at­tached to ap­pro­pri­ate an­chor­age points (rails, hooks, or eyes) on the ve­hi­cle. When you se­cure a load, bear in mind that it will try to move: • for­wards when you brake the ve­hi­cle • side­ways when the ve­hi­cle turns • back­wards when the ve­hi­cle ac­cel­er­ates • up­wards when the ve­hi­cle goes over

bumps.

or • stan­dard haz­ard warn­ing pan­els (coloured yel­low/green with an or­ange stripe, at least 400mm long by 300mm wide). Dur­ing the hours of dark­ness, you must have lights on the load: • at the rear and fac­ing to­wards the rear, coloured red (if the load ex­tends side­ways or to the rear)

Lash­ings (web­bing straps, ropes, and chains)

If you’re us­ing lash­ings to se­cure a load, you’ll need to work out the strength of the lash­ings — known as ‘lash­ing ca­pac­ity’.

Look on the lash­ing or its pack­ag­ing for a fig­ure (in kilo­grams) be­side ‘lash­ing ca­pac­ity’. If you see ‘break­ing strength’ – then the lash­ing ca­pac­ity will be half of this fig­ure.

Fas­ten your load to the ve­hi­cle us­ing as many lash­ings as re­quired to achieve a com­bined lash­ing ca­pac­ity equal to at least twice the weight of the load.

Note: A min­i­mum of two lash­ings should be used to pre­vent the load, or part of the load, from twist­ing, ro­tat­ing, piv­ot­ing, or slew­ing.

Se­cure lash­ings to suit­able an­chor­age points (rails, hooks, or eyes) on the ve­hi­cle.

If your ve­hi­cle doesn’t have suit­able an­chor­age points, in­ves­ti­gate whether these can be fit­ted to your ve­hi­cle or use a ve­hi­cle that does have suit­able an­chor­age points.

Tighten the lash­ings be­fore be­gin­ning your jour­ney. Check them dur­ing the jour­ney and tighten again if nec­es­sary.

If pos­si­ble, put the load against a head­board, side­wall, or other rigid part of the ve­hi­cle struc­ture to help hold it in place. Note: • If your load weighs more than 500kg, re­fer to the Of­fi­cial New Zealand Truck Load­ing Code. • Re­mem­ber to reg­u­larly in­spect web­bing straps and ropes (they can be dam­aged by wear, chem­i­cals, heat, light, ex­ces­sive knot­ting, bend­ing, or chaf­ing). • Ropes made of nat­u­ral fi­bres (sisal and manila) may stretch when dry (al­low­ing the load to move) and shrink when wet (which might dam­age the load).

Max­i­mum ve­hi­cle size

Ve­hi­cles are al­lowed to carry loads up to the max­i­mum per­mit­ted size (di­men­sions) for that type of ve­hi­cle (pro­vided that the ve­hi­cle can be safely loaded that way).

Car­ry­ing pas­sen­gers

If you’re car­ry­ing pas­sen­gers, you must en­sure that they ride in a po­si­tion where they are not likely to be in­jured dur­ing the jour­ney. It is against the law for pas­sen­gers to ride in a car­a­van be­ing towed.

Above: Driv­ing to Cape Reinga in 1967 meant open­ing and clos­ing gates along the way Be­low: Colin French — a driv­ing force be­hind the Trekka Be­low right: Press ad­ver­tise­ment from March 1967

Trekka ne­go­ti­at­ing North­land bush

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