1973 Ford D710 tipper

In Unsung Heroes, June 20223 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineJuly 27, 2022

“It’s not a very fast truck, but it does seem to keep working without making a fuss – something possibly reminiscent of the work ethic of its era,” writes Paul Pritchard about his 1973 Ford D710 tipper.

Based in New Plymouth, Paul bought the old blue D-series a little over a year ago and is slowly but surely getting her back to working condition.

“It came from Carterton North. The registration had been on hold for eight years, but it is now back working in earthmoving and landscaping. I believe I’m the second owner and have put it back working after a ‘social distancing’ restoration. The cab was to have been completed by now, but work commitments have delayed that,” he says, adding that he’s planning to repaint the cab as a winter project and keep it working for quite some time.

Paul’s research shows that the New Zealand-new D170 has been employed in light civil construction work all of its life and had five owners since coming off the production line, the previous owner hanging onto the keys for 30 years.

“It came from a contractor in his 80s whose family convinced him it was time to dispose of his fleet. He had five trucks, all under 16 tonne, but only this one had the 19-inch wheels, which was what I wanted.

“Recently, it completed moving approximately 400 tonnes of earth from one location to another in a round trip of about 14km. It never missed a beat, worked all day and other than needing pulling out three times from getting stuck in soft ground, performed faultlessly.”

Also reminiscent of its era is the five-digit odometer – so the true mileage covered in almost 50 years of operation is currently unknown. “And the speedo cable was broken when I got it…” says Paul. “Currently, the odometer reads 93,400km. It seems accurate with a consistent increase at each COF.”

It can’t all be 7” twin shooters, Texas bumpers, ram intakes, Kelsa bars, polished stainless steel, and Dura-Brights. Millions of tonnes of freight are moved every day in trucks that only the true enthusiast ever looks twice at. Yet owners and drivers alike often look on these old trojans with fondness – like the holey jumper you put on when it’s cold. Unsung Heroes, running opposite Rust in Peace, is aimed at those trucks. They may be near to God, but they’re also dear to our hearts.