AS WIDE-EYED AS EVER

In Kenworth, Back Down The Road A Bit, Mack, Freightliner, August 20214 MinutesBy Dave McCoidSeptember 18, 2021

The Back Down the Road gallery is proving a popular spot in the magazine, and this month it comes in house to our very own editor, Dave McCoid. A native of the Thames area, the floor is all his.

“Should I, or shouldn’t I?” – that was the question. I’ve been pondering it for a while, and then in a fit of spontaneity, I decided, “Meh! Why not.” That was also the moment I realised how hard this particular assignment was and what I’ve been putting old friends and colleagues through. Talk about agony. Trying to decide which pictures to use!

Here it goes then, from someone who’s as wide-eyed truck-crazy today as he was at the sight of his first NZCDC tanker arriving at the farm in the late 1960s.

Thames Freightlines Ltd and later Provincial Freightlines Ltd were a huge part of my working life, and again, eternal thanks to the Malanaphy family for taking a punt on a young fella. What image would epitomise that company more than an R-model Mack in ‘full Bulldog’?


Graeme ‘Gunner’ Wright proved to me when I was very young that wearing glasses was no barrier to becoming a truck driver (it did concern me that truck drivers never seemed to wear glasses). He proves to this day that dogged passion and dedication wins.


Probably my all-time favourite pic to this day. In my early years, it was the K-model Kenworth that epitomised the long-haul trucker. That had its roots in images out of the US, taken in the era before the conventional trucks dominated on the back of regulation changes.


In the late 1980s/early 1990s, the Mical brothers were inspirational for any young Thames Valley person wanting to get behind the wheel. Here, a young Dave Mical rolls out of Thames bound for Marton in the C-series ERF that Jeff Leonard contracted to R&L Main Ltd.

Here’s a doozy: Long logs going on with a fork hoist at the Kopu railyard. Many hours in the late teens were spent with the wonderful, late Brian Hunt.

THANK YOU

Some scratchy old pics to start, taken with goodness knows what – probably a Kodak Instamatic – but tributes that simply have to be in here. Men who went out of their way to foster a passion.

My dear late uncle Ted Wilson, who drove for Andy Smith Ltd in Morrinsville. Here, his brand new UD CW51 at the company depot on Lorne Street.

Richard Fisher, from Turua. Still truckin’ today. His B-series ERF stopped at the farm gate, picking me up for a trip to Southdown Freezing Works.


The one and only Neville ‘Yogi’ Chambers. Responsible for blooding so many into the industry. Still truckin’ today at 75. Here, the original Thames Sawmilling W-model he drove from brand-new. I stood by it all day at the gala this pic was taken at.