Truck re­vamp wins peo­ple’s choice

South Waikato News - - NEWS / OPINION - By CAITLIN WAL­LACE

It has been one long trip for Gra­ham Shel­drake’s Ken­worth haulage truck which won Peo­ple’s Choice at the Ken­worth gath­er­ing.

Owner of Toko­roa’s G J Shel­drake Ltd. Log­ging company en­tered his re­stored 30-year-old Ken­worth truck in Ken­worth’s 50th an­niver­sary held in Mount Maun­ganui.

It is part of Shel­drake’s orig­i­nal fleet which he bought in 1984.

But it has spent 25 years with var­i­ous com­pa­nies across the North Is­land.

‘‘We had al­ways kept an eye on it, ev­ery time we saw it ... we joked about buy­ing it back.’’

That joke was taken se­ri­ously when it was of­fered back to him last year.

De­spite its age, the truck was still in ‘‘good nick’’ and has com­pleted a few jobs since its re­turn.

In Septem­ber last year, South Waikato Auto Trans­for­ma­tion Ltd. owner Richard Ban­field took on the truck as a restora­tion project.

‘‘I stripped all the cab and bon­net ... I pulled the cab out of the chas­sis and it was just a bare cab and bon­net,’’ Ban­field said.

As a one-man company he did the majority of the work on the old truck within seven months.

The end re­sult was ob­vi­ously a show stop­per but it was never Shel­drake’s in­ten­tion to en­ter it into any com­pe­ti­tion.

‘‘I’m not re­ally a showy per­son, I just like to do my business.’’

How­ever Ban­field was ‘‘ blown away’’ that his work had been recog­nised as one of the best against 300 other trucks.

The pair agreed that one of the truck’s best fea­tures was the fact it was still in work­ing con­di­tion.

‘‘Other trucks at the show were gleam­ing and they’ll never do another days work again,’’ Ban­field said.

The prize was a three day trip to the Ken­worth fac­tory in Mel­bourne.

And be­cause Shel­drake had al­ready been a few times be­fore­hand, he de­cided to give the prize to his son and Ban­field.

‘‘I’ve never been any­where like that ... that’s just some­thing you never get to do as a pan­el­beater.’’

‘‘Con­sid­er­ing I’ve spent all my life pulling them apart, it was in­ter­est­ing to see how they are put to­gether.’’

His­tory re­stored: Panel beater Richard Ban­field, back, re­stored Gra­ham Shel­drake’s 30-year old Ken­worth truck and won Peo­ple’s Choice at the Ken­worth 50th an­niver­sary at Mt Maun­ganui.

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