Vince's Atkinson is ideal for runs to the sale yards.
Vince's Atkinson is ideal for runs to the sale yards.

'This old girl will see me out'

LUCKILY for us the prime cattle on show aren't the only ones turning heads at the Pakenham sales yards, 56km southeast of Melbourne.

When cattle farmer Vince Garretto pulled in driving his trusty 1976 Atkinson 3800, Jeff Johnston from the Facebook group Historic Commercial Vehicle Club of Australia snapped off a few shots of the Aussie-made workhorse to share with fans.

Intrigued by its history, Big Rigs gave Cockatoo-based Vince a call to find out a little more (answers have been edited to fit the page).

How long have you had her?

I bought her 24 years ago from Edyvanes Transport in Pakenham who had an ad in The Weekly Times. I paid $27,500 which I thought was pretty good value with a new motor in it, and these sorts of trucks were hard to come by at the time. Up to about 10 years ago I still saw a few of them, but not many of them are around now.

Have you had to do much with her?

Edyvanes did all the work on it. They stretched it out to a tray truck, rebuilt the motor, put a 15-speed Roadranger transmission, painted it and built the tray for it. I put the stock crate on it which is a long semi-trailer that I cut back and painted.

Vince loves the convenience of the bigger truck.
Vince loves the convenience of the bigger truck.

What do you know about the truck's history?

I know it was a prime mover for a little while, then they stretched it out to a tray truck. It also did a bit of work on the wharves before the recession hit.

How many ks have you done?

In the rebuild only about 60,000, before that it would have done millions. I used to be a potato grower and used it to take all the potatoes to the wholesalers. Now it just does my cattle and the hay, which isn't a lot of ks anymore. She only comes out of the garage when she has to help me out.

Vince loves his Atkinson truck.
Vince loves his Atkinson truck.

What's it like to drive?

It's a real bloke's truck. These days they're comfortable like cars, but in those days they were trucks. It's got a 6V92 in it and it really gets up and goes. There's over 300 horsepower in there. I love it, and the convenience of big truck like that to do your work. I've got two other older trucks which are originals too; a 67 International tray truck, five tonner, and an old Bedford that was the old man's which he bought brand new back in 1967. I just potter around with those here. I don't use them much.

Have you ever thought about upgrading to something more modern?

I haven't really got the work for it. For the amount of work I do, I just hang on to it for the convenience of it. I know it's a good truck and there's nothing wrong with it. It should see me out.

Do you know of a vintage truck still workin' hard that might make a good story? Drop us a note with more details at editor@bigrigs.com.au. We'd love to share more stories about trucks like Vince's that have been given a second shot at life.

Big Rigs

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