18 April 2014

One huge hobby

1/02/2012 9:50:00 a.m.

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VIC Draper keeps a Hippo and a Beaver in a big shed at his home in Pautahanui. No, not new additions to a zoo, but part of his collection of classic trucks. The Hippo and the Beaver are Leyland trucks; Draper’s also got a Bedford KM and a Mack Superliner, “as well as some other ones that I’m working on.”
Draper doesn’t consider himself a ‘real truckie’ as he’s not on the road every day, but his family was in the contracting business way back in the 1930s, so they’ve been involved with trucks since then.
“My family ran tip trucks and heavy haulages,” says Draper, “I still run a few trucks within my contracting business along with showing classic trucks.”
Draper pursued trucking from a young age - “I was driving trucks around the yard and on farms well before I could get my licence” – and says when you get into a truck for the first time it takes some getting used to.
“They’re pretty big, obviously a lot bigger than a car,” he says, “You’ve got a big hunk of steel under your control. The results of your actions can be a lot more catastrophic. You’ve got to be a lot more cautious; you’ve got to read the road and what’s in front of you.”
Draper is part of a growing number of New Zealanders starting to collect classic trucks, which can be anything from 15 to 50 years old, and he says these enthusiasts are mindful of preserving the history of trucking.
“Maintaining the trucks is not too bad because I don’t use them a lot - they’re for showing - but some of them I’ve rebuilt and restored myself, which is quite involved,” he says.
Draper organises and participates in classic truck runs including tours of both the North and the South islands.
“On the North Island tour we had a lot of trucks registered, we did a park-up at Cambridge with 75 classic trucks, it was quite a sight.”
The Great Wellington Truck Show is another opportunity for Draper to get his trucks out of the shed and show them off. The day looks set to be a truckie’s dream as a convoy of 100 trucks from around New Zealand descend for the day. This will be Draper’s third time at the show.
The Great Wellington Truck Show, Trentham Memorial Park, 9am-4pm, February 5.
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