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.