"My Hobby: The Restoration of my 1938 International Truck"
The Aussie Over 50s Guide to Hobbies with a difference!
"Hi I am Michael,
"I am restoring a 1938 International truck!
"It was a long time developing, but my hobby now is the restoration of a vintage truck and my involvement with the WESTERN SYDNEY HISTORICAL TRUCK CLUB
"As a kid I remember being fascinated by the giant engine of the steam powered Manly ferry "SS South Steyne". The engine protruded through the main deck exposing the workings. Being able to watch the pistons go up and down and listen to the sounds of the engine was what started my interest.
"When I was a teenager I dreamed of owning a smart looking classic car. Time just flew by me at a rapid rate. I built up a career, got married, raised a family and built a home. By the time I was actually in a position to realize my dream the cost had exceeded my expectations. I had to rethink my options.
"I spent some years being involved in Rotary. During this time I had the opportunity to help set up and organise a charity event involving trucks travelling in convoy to raise funds for children's charities. I spent five years working with "Convoy for Kids" Sydney.
Convoy For Kids
"My time in the Convoy for Kids project sparked my interest in trucks, particularly old trucks. The prices for old classic trucks was more within my grasp than cars were. In 1995, after a few missed opportunities I was successful in getting my hands on a 1938 International flatbed truck for a reasonable price.
"It was located in the Lake Cargelligo area in western, NSW. The truck had been in a paddock, open to the elements and hungry livestock that ate the upholstery. While the truck was 95% complete it needed a full ground up restoration. It was in a bad way when I first saw it.
"The cabin, mudguards and doors were full of red mud and rust. The engine had not run for some time and all the rubber seals, brakes and wiring had deteriorated beyond recognition. The doors had no window glass, door catches or window winders. The timber tray was rotten. I didn't know exactly where to start the restoration but the strange thing was I fell in love with the old girl. I opened her own bank account from which I have paid all costs of her restoration.
"The mechanic who serviced my everyday car was of some help initially, providing a place to store and slowly dismantle the truck. The guards, grille, radiator, bonnet, cabin and doors were removed. The engine was taken out and sent to be completely rebuilt so that it would run on current unleaded fuel. I removed the timber tray and took it home to be used as a template for the new replacement later.
"Everything seemed to be going smoothly until the mechanic's work load eased off. He and his assistants set about removing bits off the truck without recording where parts came from. Over time vital irreplaceable parts of the truck were lost and I have spent a lot of time searching the internet for replacements or organising for new parts to be made. He cost me a lot of angst and precious money.
"I didn't realise how big the problem was until it came to finding out about the radiator. The mechanic had sent the radiator away for assessment and had forgotten to follow it up. By the time I was chasing up the radiator, the guy had gone out of business, and had thrown my radiator out along with other stuff.
"Searching the internet put me in touch with other like-minded enthusiasts who offered ideas, advice and supplier contacts. This was invaluable and greatly speeded up my restoration process.
Western Sydney Historic Truck Club
"In 2009 the Western Sydney Historical Truck Club started up and I became a founding member. It has been a great wealth of information, expertise and camaraderie ever since. I was asked to put together a newsletter and the first two page edition was published in February 2012. It is now an 8 page spread that covers recent and upcoming events, items wanted and for sale, and occasionally a restoration story. I was also asked to take care of the material published on the Club's website.
"There are three articles on my restoration journey with the 1938 International D15 and also the "Nine Rules to follow when Restoring An Old Truck". These rules, of course, were written in hind sight after learning all the pitfalls of what not to do.
"The truck club contact with like-minded people and the outings with vintage trucks are a great pleasure. Sometimes it gives you a reason to visit shows in country towns. You meet many different people and make contacts for information and parts supplies. Restoring a truck is an ongoing process, at times absorbing and sometimes frustratingly slow. My truck is still to be completed. This is not a hobby that needs daily attention and may not suit a lot of people. If you like the idea of restoring a vintage truck, car or old machinery, etc there are a lot of organizations out there to help. The links below to Western Sydney Historical Truck Club would be a great start."
Michael D - Sydney
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