Teen keeps old Bedfords trucking on
On weekends and holidays 16-year-old Sophie Hammond swaps her school uniform for a pair of overalls, and heads out to continue work on Alice, the 1950s Bedford K truck she is restoring.
She’s well aware it’s not a typical hobby for a teenage girl.
‘‘People do think it’s a bit strange,’’ she says. ‘‘ My close friends are really supportive.
‘‘They don’t really get it, but they still think it’s pretty cool.’’
Sophie, who is in year 12 at Sacred Heart College in Napier, fits in her truck repair work in between studying for her six school subjects of English, painting, physics, biology, maths and religion.
She was drawn into vehicle restoration by her father Neil’s enthusiasm for old cars.
‘‘Dad was always doing things on old cars, Austins mainly and he’d drag us along to swap meets and things.
‘‘I really wasn’t interested in it at the start but after a while I just decided that I was a bit more interested and wanted to learn how it all worked.’’
Sophie was first attracted to the timeless looks of the Volkswagen Kombi, but then the classic lines of the Bedford truck, and their cheaper price tag, began to appeal.
She has purchased what amounts to two and a half trucks from her savings.
‘‘Buying the truck is usually the cheapest part. It cost about $150 for my first two and then my parts truck was $250.’’
With the family living on a country property in Rissington in rural Hawke’s Bay, there’s been plenty of space for her collection of vintage Bedfords.
The K model Bedford which was originally intended as a parts truck, has become her main project after it was found to be in better shape than the KM model she first planned to restore.
For a girl who admits to knowing little to nothing about vehicles when she started, it’s been quite a journey.
She now hopes to study aircraft engineering once she leaves school.
As well as help from Dad Neil, she’s had support from the Vintage Austin Register and Vintage Car Clubs, whose members have been tickled pink to find a young person interested in restoring old vehicles.
‘‘They are really supportive and really helpful with everything that I am doing,’’ Sophie says.
Sophie Hammond is enjoying her restoration project, a 1950s Bedford K truck called Alice.