DAILY GRIND

NZV8 - - CONTENTS -

Wow, that’s a great-look­ing promo truck, Stu. Surely it’s just a busi­ness move and not ac­tu­ally your daily-driver?

Thanks, guys; it’s the best of worlds, re­ally. I get to pro­mote my busi­ness and en­joy driv­ing a great old truck at the same time. It’s a win-win for me, and my cus­tomers love see­ing it when I rock up on the job. I’ve also found it to be a very prac­ti­cal ve­hi­cle to work from, with a gen­er­ous flat deck and the pipe racks, etc.

What do your cus­tomers say when you ar­rive to a job in it?

They love it and want to know ev­ery­thing about it. Of­ten, I tell my wife [that] I’m nip­ping out for half an hour to drop some­thing off and end up com­ing back home a cou­ple of hours later due to the in­ter­est [that] the old truck cre­ates. Cus­tomers can’t quite be­lieve [that] I use it as a plumb­ing truck and don’t have it locked up, wrapped in cot­ton wool, and only brought out on sunny days.

They’re not alone. The sign­writ­ing looks great — much more ap­pro­pri­ate than some stick-on graph­ics!

When I looked into get­ting the truck sign writ­ten, I spoke to the guys at Mackie Signs in Te Puke. We agreed that stick­ers weren’t re­ally an op­tion, and the logo on my late­model Holden Colorado wouldn’t work, ei­ther, as it’s too mod­ern. So, I said to Ja­son, their artist, “If I came into your sign­writ­ing busi­ness in 1946, what would you do?” I gave Ja­son full li­cense to come up with a pe­riod-cor­rect logo and use ‘1 Shot’ lead-based paint to do the work. I was a bit ner­vous, as you can’t peel it off if you don’t like it, but my faith in Ja­son’s abil­ity paid off, and I’m rapt with the re­sult. I get asked all the time who did it and how it was de­signed, etc.

What made you choose some­thing like this in­stead of, say, a late-model ute or van?

I’ve had many clas­sic and cus­tom cars over the years, and I’ve come to re­al­ize that they’re much more fun to drive, and they don’t de­pre­ci­ate like new ve­hi­cles. I rang my ac­coun­tant and ran the idea past him, and the rest is his­tory. When I take the Chev out to do a job, it al­ways puts a smile on my face, and my cus­tomers of­ten get dis­ap­pointed if I turn up in my Colorado.

What’s un­der the hood? You’d want to have some­thing with enough power. The en­gine in this old girl isn’t any­thing too se­ri­ous, as I don’t have to travel too far for work.

It’s a six-cylin­der Blue Flame out of a Corvette with an orig­i­nal four-speed crash gear­box, which was stan­dard is­sue for the 1946 ¾-ton Spe­cial, as op­posed to a three-speed. She gets along at 100[kph] on the high­way — just — and seems to han­dle the trip from Puke­hina to Tau­ranga with rel­a­tive ease when I pop into town to pick up ma­te­ri­als for a job.

So, no plans to up­grade it at all then?

I’m pretty happy with it as she rolls. I think it’s too orig­i­nal to be hacked up and mod­i­fied at this stage. Half of the joy of own­ing it is dou­ble clutch­ing the gear changes, and en­joy­ing that beau­ti­ful whine in the gear­box through first, sec­ond, and third. There’s a cou­ple of mi­nor cos­metic jobs, such as chang­ing out the non-orig­i­nal in­di­ca­tors, but she’s pretty mint as she is.

We agree. What other cars have you had?

The bo­gan gene is strong in this fam­ily, and I’ve been lucky enough to own some cool rides over the years. My kids nearly di­vorced me when I sold ‘Holly’, my ’61 FB Holden, as some of them learnt to drive in her, and they all helped work on her at some stage. I had a ’64 SS Im­pala con­vert­ible, which was a very cool car, es­pe­cially in the sum­mer with the top down. I cur­rently have a nice, pil­lar­less ’56 Cadil­lac de Ville with a 365 big block in it. It’s a mild-cus­tom street rod in Mercedes-Benz sil­ver with flames down each side — not your nor­mal Cadi!

Any plans to add to the col­lec­tion?

Def­i­nitely — the only thing slow­ing me down is lack of garage space and the new kitchen I promised the mis­sus. A late-’40s lead-sled may be in my fu­ture plans, and maybe a late-model Ca­maro for those trips down to Palmy to visit the ex­tended whanau.

Sounds like a great plan to us. Thanks for your time, Stu.

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