Three Parks, Wanaka – Dodge Kew 100

In December 2021 / January 2022, Rust in Peace2 MinutesBy Gavin MyersFebruary 8, 2022

We’re still at Three Parks in Wanaka this month. While the International AR-160 from last time round was perched high and proud overlooking the venue, parked up among some old machinery beside a back fence in a rear section of the venue was this 1955 Dodge 100 Kew.

This two-axle truck was still wearing its tipper body and, if you looked past its blanket of dust and cobwebs, seemed from afar to be in somewhat salvageable nick.

Though its missing windows, leaky hubs, smooth tyres, bent propshaft and decaying interior would suggest having been out to pasture for quite some time, it stood out in the red-and-black livery of E.G. & G.R. Foster – Coromandel. Coromandel to Wanaka, that’s a fair journey we wanted to know more about…

George Foster (the G.R., E.G. being his father Ernie) says that he bought it in 1963 and owned it for nearly four decades.

The truck was sold to the Caterpillar Museum in Rotorua when it was opened by Lindsay Willis in 2005. It followed the Cat collection when it was taken over by the Gough family, and most recently when it was bought by Allan Dippie – which is how it ended up in Wanaka.

The Dodge 100 Kew was built from 1949 – 1957 at Dodge’s British factory in Kew, London. It was fitted with the Dodge flathead six-cylinder petrol engine.

While the Wanaka Kew is a little beat up and “rusted through”, as Allan describes it, it’s easy to see the distinctive shape of its bonnet and grille that led to this model earning the nickname of ‘parrot nose’.

The model achieved some fame in the 1957 film Hell Drivers.