Fans keep on trucking

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By Mick Jensen

Les Bennett and Murray Elliott, who have both lovingly restored vintage trucks made by the International Harvester Company (IHC), will join other enthusiasts from around the region at a display in Rakaia on March 18.

Mr Bennett drives a 1947 KB-1, while Mr Elliott runs a 1937 D2 pickup and also owns a couple of tractors made by now defunct IHC.

Both men said IHC made some top quality trucks in the day, along with a wide range of other agricultural machinery, construction equipment, trucks, and household and commercial products.

“I drove International trucks for 30 years when I worked for Burnetts and they were reliable and nice to drive,” Mr Bennett said.

He transported mostly stock in them in his truck driving days, he said.

His restored IHC truck had been bought from a mate for $50 in 1978.

“He was going to scrap it, but I couldn’t let him do that, so I snapped it up.

“I restored it and prepared it myself to the final paint stage.”

His truck had a 214 cubic inch engine and a three speed gear box with column change.

Murray Elliott’s truck, although 10 years older, has practically the same engine.

He bought it about 15 years ago and took parts from other trucks to restore it.

There were no doors, so wooden framed doors were commissioned for it, said Mr Elliott, who is a former Burnett Motors mechanic.

He had enjoyed restoring it and now enjoyed driving it.

Both Mr Bennett and Mr Elliott are members of the Ashburton Vintage Car Club and also part of the Binders Group, a new and informal club set up to keep alive as many historical trucks made by IHC as possible for future generations.

“In the early days International trucks were called Binders because they were built by IHC, which also built McCormick Deering binders and farm equipment – so the name stuck,” Mr Bennett said.

The Binders Group was made up predominantly of Cantabrians and was building numbers.

Anyone with an interest in IHC trucks was welcome to come along to the display in the Rakaia Domain, which would run between 9am and 4pm, said Mr Bennett.