Penrith’s Museum of Fire is an ideal venue for outdoor events and its grassy surrounds again proved to be perfect for the 2018 Sydney Classic and Antique Truck Show.
The grassy surrounds of Penrith’s Museum of Fire again proved perfect for the 2018 Sydney Classic and Antique Truck Show
EVENTS SOLELY dedicated to trucks from decades past are enjoying a growth period. Their prominence has increased to the point where they’re close to outnumbering the traditional show and shine events. “I think it’s the last frontier of collecting,” Penrith Museum of Fire CEO Mark White says. “Most of your old cars and rare cars have been taken up, but there’s always an old Bedford in every paddock in Australia.” The Museum of Fire is home to the annual Penrith Working Truck Show. However, it’s in May when the commercial vehicles of the past have their day in the sun at the museum.
On May 27, the museum celebrated its eighth annual Sydney Classic and Antique Truck Show. And yes, there were a few old Bedfords on display. There are usually a few vintage trucks present at the Working Truck Show each March, but their growing attendance meant newer rigs were missing out on a spot, hence the need for two separate shows.
“We had to taper it out of our big one [Working Truck Show] because we were getting so many vintage trucks and we were getting more requests for the bigger trucks.
“We couldn’t have the luxury of increasing our vintage ones at the working show, so we split it into two. So we’re basically running two shows; one for vintage and one for working.”
Mark says it’s not uncommon for transport companies to have a historic truck as a reminder of their heritage.
Camsons’ refurbished Kenworth was an example of that; the company also showing off a spotless 1928 Chevrolet Series LP one-tonner.
Not to be outdone, Charlie Grima had three trucks on show – a 1949 Ford pick-up and two International 3070s, one
“There’s always an old Bedford in every paddock in Australia.”
of which was done up, and the other left as is – for now, anyway. Charlie, who was at the show with his grandson Harrison, operates GrimTrans based in nearby Marsden Park.
“He’s truck mad,” Charlie says of the youngster. “I have to hide the keys; he knows everything.”
Charlie found the old Ford at Crookwell, north of Goulburn. It had been sitting in the shed for 40 years.
“It was an ex-army truck, and I turned it into a civilian,” Charlie explains. “I restored it from the ground up; did the whole lot on it.”
He also went to work on the first 3070 International, which he found in Leongatha, Victoria. ”It had a tipper body on it. I drove it home and we did it all up, a full restoration.”
As for the newly acquired second International, Charlie is in two minds.
“I think it’s the last frontier of collecting.”
“I don’t know yet,” he says. “Some people tell me to leave it the way it is, but I like to have everything shiny.”
However, it does appear to be in reasonable condition, possibly due to only have three owners.
It started out in the south-west Queensland town of St George, before being sold to its second owner based in Gatton. It’s been in Charlie’s hands for the past 18 months. Although he eventually bought Kenworths, the cab-over Internationals are a reminder of his early years in transport. But restoring old Inters wasn’t something he initially considered.
“One day my son said, ‘why don’t you do an International up?’.” Charlie’s reply was “they rust a lot”.
However, Charlie and his Internationals have now become prominent on the show circuit, especially those held at the Museum of Fire. He’s also been as far south as Alexandra in Victoria and up to Wauchope for the Yesteryear Truck and Machinery Show. Closer to home he’s a regular at the Clarendon Classic Rally in September.
Allan Doherty was another to boast a good representation of historical trucks at the show, including a 1980 White Road Commander. “It’s a tribute truck,” says the White’s driver David Slater. “It’s done up to match the first one he bought for the business back in ’72.”
An added attraction sitting on the White’s flatbed trailer was another tribute truck – a Buntine Roadways B-model Mack with Haulmark livestock trailer.
The White has a 400 Cummins with 15-speed Roadranger ’box, sitting on Rockwell SP40 diffs.
David, a carpenter by trade, has been working for Illawarrabased Doherty Transport on and off for the past couple of years. He’s spent the past 12 months driving the White around to various truck shows.
“It’s fully rebuilt, it’s got a rebuilt gearbox, it’s nice and tight, it falls out of one gear and drops into the gear that it needs to be in, and it’s got the overdrive 15 speed in it.
“I love it,” David adds. “I’m lucky enough to be able to drive it on the weekend.”
Hot rod car carrier
More into cars than trucks, Alan Shuttleworth nevertheless arrived at Penrith in a striking 1987 Peterbilt 359.
As well as being a showpiece, Alan bought the Peterbilt to transport his hot rods, including the 1953 FJ Holden sitting on the truck’s trailer at the show.
“I bought the Peterbilt off American Used, a mob that bring old cars from America,” he explains. “And this was the first Peterbilt they brought over. I had an idea what I wanted, and got it modified to suit.
“I had it changed to right-hand drive, got it stretched twoand-a-half metres and spent a lot of money fixing oil leaks and air leaks. And I put a triple-4 turbo on it to give it a bit more pick-up,” he says.
Alan has driven the Peterbilt to a few classic truck events, including a couple of runs in Haulin’ the Hume and a trip to Wauchope in 2017 for the Yesteryear Truck & Machinery Show.
He added a few kilometres to the Peterbilt’s odometer during a month long trip up to Queensland, the Northern Territory and across to Western Australia. “I did 9,000km, but I’d be lucky to do 30,000 to 40,000km a year.”
The Pete has previously been on display at Penrith, although Alan says that was a couple of years ago. “I’ve got a lot of other things on … hot rod shows, drag racing. I’ve just been to one in New Zealand. I mainly do the nostalgia drags.”
Rockin’ and rollin’
It’s been longer time for Allan Pullen since he drove a truck into the grounds around the Museum of Fire. That was in the late 1980s when he worked for Shell. The company had its first B-doubles and wanted to show them off at the Working
Truck Show. Allan has been around trucks all his working life. He drove for Shell out of the Parramatta terminal for more than 25 years.
“I started in the workshop as a young bloke and went driving,” he says.
However, for the 2018 Sydney Classic and Antique Truck Show, Allan drove his own 1989 T400 Kenworth, nicknamed ‘Ol’ Rock’N Roll’, making the more than four-hour trip from Temora.
“It is an original Brambles, working up Newcastle back in the day,” he says. “A local farmer down our way had it for quite a number of years, using it for harvest work and that sort of thing.
“He sold the farm probably three years ago. I bought it 18 months ago and cleaned her all up and here I am.
“It’s not too bad a truck; it gets along all right for what I want to do, which is this sort of thing.”
Allan admits being new to the classic truck show circuit, having only retired from full-time driving in the last couple of years. After Penrith he was planning on attending the Sylvia’s Gap run, and the Dubbo Vintage Truck, Tractor and Quilt Show in August. He believes if it wasn’t for events such as the Sydney Classic, many of the old these trucks would have ended up at the scrap dealers.
“I want to do a few shows, but probably my major one will be 2020 and go up to Alice Springs. In the meanwhile, I’ll keep poking around and go to a few shows. I’ve still got a fair bit of diesel in my veins.”
As well as the truck displays, organisers supplied entertainment for the whole family, including a truck pull, kids’ rides and fire-fighting displays. In addition, a couple of classic double decker buses, one from 1953 and the other from the early ’70s, ferried patrons around town for a 20-minute ride.
As for next year, the annual Sydney Classic and Antique Truck Show will take place on June 2.
“I’ve still got a fair bit of diesel in my veins.”
Top: Allan Pullen with his ex-Brambles 1989 T400 Kenworth
Above: This 1975 W925 SAR Kenworth has been restored in honour of Camsons Transport founder Chris Sultana. Photo by Brent Harrison
Above left: Weekend driver David Slater takes Allan Doherty’s 1980 White Road Commander from show to show
Top L to R: Charlie Borg brought along his showpiece, a 1976 Kenworth S2; A Buntine Roadways tribute B-model Mack hitches a ride on the back of Allan Doherty’s White Road Commander Above: This John ‘Dutchy’ Oldenmenger-owned Volvo G88 is a 1971...
Above L to R: Alan Shuttleworth’s Cummins-powered 1987 Peterbilt – ideal for carting his 1953 FJ to rallies; Phil Potter’s Cummins 320-powered International. Photos by Brent Harrison Left: Hot rod enthusiast Alan Shuttleworth Middle: Barry...