Monday, June 27, 2011

Famous Faces

The following pictures I have borrowed from elsewhere on the net so cannot credit their snappers. If they are yours I will gladly credit it them to you or remove them if you insist. Famous faces on motorcycles.

George Clooney leaves a service station on his Harley. I don't know what model this is, (maybe someone can enlighten me) but it certainly an evil looking beast in all that black. It doesn't look like something I would choose.

Alanis Morissette about to don helmet and mount her Monster. I rode an old Ducati 750 for a short distance many years ago and was impressed by it's smoothness, but somehow most models seem just too sporty for me.

Pink on her Bonneville T100. Now thats more like it. These Triumphs look how a bike is supposed to look. The only other thing I would like to see is rubber gaiters on the front forks. I have seen some models with gaiters...are they an option?  Although I don't own any Pink CDs, the times I have seen her on tele, I've always found her thoroughly entertaining, whether she is perfoming or being interviewed.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Couple More Trucks.

When I received my last new truck at Premiere Bacon, the company also bought this Hino 700 and trailer adorning it with similar signage to the smaller trucks. Here it has just been positioned for a promotional photo shoot with driver, Amos, acting a bit shy. I never drove this truck on the road, but did have to move it in our yard on the odd ocassion.
This unit was sold at the same time as the other trucks when the company chose to use a separate trucking company. The trailer still carries this sign-writing.  I don't know who is operating it, but my wife recently saw it parked at the inter-island ferry terminal at Picton in the South Island. The Hino is now employed by Palmerston Transport Services Ltd, usually pulling low-loaders to transport tractors, forklifts and other agricultural or industrial equipment.
Since September 2010 I have been driving  trucks servicing wheely-bins two days a week. This is the Hino I drive on one of those two days. On the other day I drive a smaller Hino, which I haven't managed to capture a photo of yet.
This to me is a surprisingly enjoyable job, and with having to get in and out of the truck a hundred odd times a day as well as handling (sometimes) heavy bins, it keeps me fit.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Trucks I Have Driven.

Although I have a Class 5 licence (heavy vehicle with a GCW of more than 25,000kg) all my driving jobs have been in Class 2 rigids (less than 18,001kg). Here are the trucks I have driven regularly, though there have been times I have driven other trucks for one day or even for a few minutes.

I started my truck driving career with Mi-ere Bacon Co in 1987 in this 1981 D series Ford. In the beginning it had a 2 speed axle from a Thames Trader, but when this became troublesome it was re-equipped with a single speed item. My job was to service and deliver into the Hutt Valley area, so this meant a trip each way over the Rimutaka Hill Road every day. The Ford could race over then in 3rd gear (4 speed box) all the way. Unfortunately it was flat out at 80km/h on the flat. With a wider front track than the equivalent Japanese trucks of that time, and the fridge motor mounted below the body, it was very stable and could keep up with most cars through corners. The fridge motor was very noisy and it needed to be left running all day in the Summer. If you were in the back unloading for too long it would start to give you a headache. Thats me proudly posing with the old girl, with a "mop" of hair and stubble on my chin. Nowadays the stubble is all I can grow on the top of my head.

Sometimes if the Ford was in need of repair I would drive this 1977 TK Bedford. The TK with it's low top edge to the windscreen and it's slightly odd driving position felt a bit outdated compared to the Ford, but it had a more comfortable seat and I liked it.

Soon I was promoted to this 1987 Isuzu FSR which had a 6 speed box with a round-the-corner shift from 5th to 6th. 6th was very high geared and needed to be swapped for 5th, or lower, the moment it saw a hill. Not a bad truck, but the seat always gave me a sore back.

In 1991 the company which had purchased Mi-ere closed the factory and I became redundant. Within a month a private individual had bought the factory and some of the equipment and started as Premiere Bacon Co in opposition to Mi-ere and it's associated companies. I was re-employed servicing the same area as before and using this 1982 Isuzu JCR with 5 speed box and 2 speed axle. It was a very challenging job and I am proud to have been one of the staff who built up sales and helped Premiere become the company it is today.
The Isuzu was a bit too big for the job although it was a good reliable truck. In those days we serviced a lot of shops down narrow alleyways and it could be a bit of a mission getting this beast in and out. I also found the first step into the cab awfully high off the ground.

When my boss suggested he get me a smaller truck, I said I would be happy to drive the old Ford (it was now our spare ) if only it had power steering. Power steering was fitted and here it is in our new colour scheme. This became necessary as Mi-ere had objected to our trucks being painted in a similar livery to theirs.
As the company grew I got my first brand new truck. This Hino FC. Unfortunately to save money the body off the old Ford was fitted to it. Although more powerful than the Ford it had a nasty gap between 3rd and 4th which made the hill work a bit of a challenge and also another uncomfortable drver's seat.. The "new" paint scheme in that dark blue had proved to be a bit of a struggle for the fridge motors in hot weather so the management chose to leave the new trucks in plain white. I objected to this strongly as I believe all truck body sides are billboards just waiting for sign-writing.

In 1999 the company was really starting to grow and bigger trucks became necessary. Again we got new trucks (Hino FDs), but this time with new bodies as well. I really appreciated the thoughtfulness of our manager at that time who sat us down with the body builder and said "You are the guys who have to work out of them so tell him what you need". We had always worked off shelves each side with a central aisle previously, but with bigger orders to be supplied we designed these trucks with shelves accessible from the back door, but with side doors near the front so we could carry 2 pallets. These were really good trucks with 6 speeds and a comfortable  driver's seat with adjustable lumbar support. The fridge unit was driven from the motor like an oversized air-conditioning unit. As long as the motor was running it switched in and out to keep the product at optimum temperature. But unfortunately the management refused to signwrite them once more.
Eventually I sent our CEO an e-mail informing him that I knew where there were a number of billboards he could have for free apart from the initial signwriting cost. Anything free always goes down well with management and he was soon in contact. Of course I was referring to the mobile billboard on each side of each of our trucks.

In 2004 we again received new trucks, this time with superb signwriting which I like to believe was instigated by my comments. These were Hino FDs with turbo intercooled motors, air suspension, air ride seat and air conditioning. I loved the power of the engine and the fridge unit (which was now a completely separate unit with it's own motor which started and stopped itself), but I actually preferred the layout of the cab of the previous model.
In 2006 the company decided that it would be more beneficial to "farm" out freighting to an outside trucking company and my truck driving job came to an end. I then became a sales rep for Premiere with a company car, but I was never as comfortable in this job as I had been with the truck driving position.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Even More American Iron

The following photos were all taken at Trentham in 2005, albeit at two different events within a week of each other.
Although there were some 1960 Chev Impala sedans imported into NZ in that year, two door hardtops were a far less common item and were probably imported in more recent years. Note the appropriate rego plate.
This stunningly presented 1929 Studebaker must be fairly rare.

The fact that this 1960 Dodge Pioneer has right-hand-drive suggests that this was probably a New Zealand new vehicle.

1957 Ford Fairlane, like the 1960 Impala, were seen here in that year as 4 door sedans, but hardtops were probably private imports of later years.

With a strong resemblance to a Chev of the same era, this 1937 Pontiac looks smart in this dark red.

1971 Buick Skylark GSX.

1970 Dodge Challenger R/T.

1956 Chev Bel Airs came here in reasonable numbers, but a left-hand-drive hardtop with fuel injection is rare.

In the 30s American cars were far more common on our roads. This is a 1936 Ford V8 sedan.

Ridges across the roof make the top of this 1964 Chev Impala Sports Coupe, resemble a convertible.

Bright red/orange makes this 1976 Pontiac Trans Am very noticeable.

Chrysler two door body shapes of this era were one of my favourite styled American cars. A 1970 Plymouth Roadrunner.

A very desirable 1948 Mercury Convertible.

Bright red paint and chrome wheels gleam in the summer sun on this 1970 Ford Mustang.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Harley-Davidson 100 years

 2003 was the 100th anniversary of Harley-Davidson. To commemorate the event in NZ, local hog riders toured the length of the country with a parade of 1000 Harleys. Not a bad effort for a country with a total population of just over 4,000,000. All photos taken in my home town.
A 1958 Chevrolet leads the parade down Hillcrest Street .

Some time later and they are still coming.
Two abreast along Chapel Street.
A slowish shutter speed has added action to this two-up Electra-Glide; again this is on Chapel Street.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Other Photos.

Just to show that my photos are not all cars and motorbikes, here are a few of other subjects.
North of Wellington on State Highway 1 is the city of Porirua and it's surrounding suburbs. The view looking approximately NW, shows the entrance to Porirua Harbour, the Mana Marina, the Paremata Rail Bridge and the Paremata Roundabout on SH1. This photo is taken on a weekend. On a weekday there would probably be many trucks passing through this roundabout, heading both North and South. SH1 passes from left to right through the roundabout and crosses the Paremata Bridge parallel to the rail bridge, but is just hidden by the hills in the lower right of this shot. The long white roof in the foreground is the busy Mobil Service Station.

Many Wellington workers commute to work by motorcycle. This is a motorcycle park in the central city.

Sunset from the Gladstone Bridge SE of Masterton.

Somewhere in the general Taupo area of the central North Island. This photo I took some years ago and cannot remember the exact location.

A catamaran sits on Castlepoint Beach. Castlepoint is about 45 minutes drive from my hometown. It is an ideal beach for photography, because of it's variety of features.

Muldoon's Corner on the Rimutaka Hill road. This give some idea of the twisting hilly road. Motorcyclists enjoy "playing" here on weekends. Unfortunately some get carried away with the adrenalin rush and get seriously injured.

This is one of the many waterfalls in Milford Sound near the Southern West coast of the South Island. Milford Sound is in fact a fjord. The boat at the base of the falls is the M.V. Milford Haven, one of the tourist boats which takes trips out to the open sea and return.

This shot taken near Martinborough shows just how dry this area can get during summer.

Te Mata Peak near Havelock North is an amazing lookout over the Hawkes Bay area. In this photo an agricultural aircraft is spreading it's load below me.

A little cottage on a farm at Whareama, next-door to where my sister and brother-in-law used to farm.

Travelling State Highway 1 in the central North Island the road takes you up the Eastern side of Lake Taupo with some fine views of the lake. Alternatively one can travel up the western lake road. Although the views of the lake are not so good; shots like this make it a worthwhile change from the main route.

A lone man in a small boat cruises across the Pauahatanui Inlet; the upper reaches of Porirua Harbour.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


In January 2009, the Citroen Owners Club held a national event in Masterton. Here are some photos from that event.Although I have always thought of Citroens as a bit odd, you cannot deny their technical innovation or their styling that is often years ahead of it's time.
Although they had the narrow upright front grille and separate flowing guards similar to many other cars of this era, the Citroen was considerably lower. This is a 1954 B15.

I always think cars of this time look good painted in two contrasting colours as on this 1954 Big 15 on the left, but there is no denying the 1955 Lite 15, on the right, is still a handsome machine in all black.

Three DS21s in different colours. No other car of it's day had a nose like this.

A 1954 C6 in red and black looks magnificent in the hot January sun.

A superb example of a D Special. In this case a 1974 model.

Just to show how straight those panels are, here is the '54 C6 reflected in the side of the '74 D Special.

If ever a car could be described as simple but effective, it would have to be the 2CV. A 1985 on the left and a 1982.
This is the first time I had actually seen a late model C6 close up. Many styling features are reminiscent of the CX; a superb looking car. This is a 2007 model with the 2.7 litre diesel.