That same 1932 Chev truck is still part of the Powe family business is shining again after a decade-long restoration that has seen it returned to its original glory. "Our grandfather bought the truck new when he used it for transporting goods for the Heinz food company," Stephen Powe, who along with his brothers Darin and Paul have overseen the restoration project, says.
"Around the same time he had a chook farm out here (at Oakville outside Sydney) and he moved the operation out to that in about 1933. It was just too much travel to be driving into town every day and then doing the carting business." The old Chevvy was decommissioned as a road vehicle almost 45 years ago but it had not been enjoying a quiet retirement until just on a decade ago when it was driven into a shed and the restoration project begun.
"When we started the restoration about 10 years ago she was still a runner being used around the farm for this and that," Powe explains. "It was pulled off rego in 1965 because it had cable brakes but we kept using it around the farm, just moving stuff around, right up to when we started restoring her. I used to belt her around the paddocks carting peat moss when I was about 16 ... she got plenty of use."
The original 194 cubic inch (3.2-litre) straight six engine in the truck was the first mass-produced six-cylinder engine from General Motors and featured overhead valves and, from the 1932 production, a balanced forged steel crankshaft. Up until 1932 the engine was good for 50hp (37kW) but that was boosted to 60hp (45kw) when a 5.2:1 compression ratio was introduced along with a four-speed gearbox.
The Powe family, now producing mushrooms and mushroom compost at the original chook farm at Oakville, are looking forward to the old truck's second coming. "We are not doing it (the restoration) personally but we have a good mob looking after it," Powe says. "She's now got a rebuild of the original wooden tray and is not far off being finished ... there's just a bit of electrical wiring needed to complete the job.
"The cab, the diff, the engine and the gearbox are all the originals. We actually had a bit of trouble getting the wood for the tray right and in the end we had to get a carriange builder in because there is a mix of wood and metal. She still has the full intrumentation oil pressure, voltmeter ... the only thing she doesn't have is a tacho."