Commer collection

Roger Hamlin goes to see a growing collection of classic Commers down in New Zealand.
Brian Bond has worked in transport for years and is currently the transport manager of a large haulage firm on the outskirts of Dannevirke in Southern Hawkes Bay, New Zealand. One day while on a trip out with friends he happened to see a Commer in the colours of a company he had driven for many years before —Murphys transport of Pongaroa. Just seeing this 1957 petrol-engined lorry brought back so many memories that he decided to try to buy it. He managed to track down the owner, Noel Galloway, and after a bit of negotiation the vehicle was his.
The lorry was then placed in storage for a while until Brian had time to start work on it. First job was to strip it down. After this Brian enlisted the help of a friend who was a panel beater in order to sort out some dents in the cab and tinwork. Fortunately nothing needed doing to the engine as it was known that it had been worked on just before it left Murphys, including the fitting of new rings. Similarly the four-speed gearbox was found to be fine.
Derelict TS3
When it was time for paint there was no choice —the vehicle would be going back into Murphys Transport colours.
A short while later Brian happened to be driving out near the coast when he happened to spot a derelict TS3-powered Commer sitting under a tree. Upon investigation he found that the truck had been used by Hargreaves Transport until 1967. It had then been sold to Linton Motors of Napier, who converted it into a wrecker. Lintonused it for many years until it was sold on to a contractor who parked up under the tree where it stayed. Fortunately Brian knew who the owner was so he managed to obtain it for the princely sum of just $100, which is about 40 euro.
Sad state
Once back at Brianyard, Brian realised what a sad state the Commer was it. As well as being sat for years the vehicle had been damaged when a dump truck had backed into it. Undaunted he set to work stripping it down. Then with the help of a friend he set to straightening the chassis and repairing the cab. In addition the recovery gear was removed and a fifth wheel fitted. With everything done the lorry was then repainted in its original colours —Hargreaves Transport of Dannevirke. This company by the way had at least fifty Commers in its fleet.
Problems
However, when he took it out for its first run he realised he had serious problems —the engine would hardly run. A quote was obtained for a kit to recondition it but it was far too expensive, if he could get one at all, and so the lorry was put to one side.
In the meantime Brianmate, Noel Galloway, had recently been down at a place called Levin collecting a Unipower. Quite by chance while he was there he was offered a complete reconditioning kit for a Commer TS3 engine. Noel knew that Brian wanted one and so he said hetake it. To his surprise the owner gave it to him for nothing! Noel then let Brian have the kit for what he paid for it (nothing!) and in due course his engine was repaired. Now as well as looking the part BrianTS3-powered truck runs like clockwork!
Briannext Commer was from 1954. He found this in a shed and it required a full rebuild to the brakes and major metalwork repairs to the cab and wings, as these had rusted badly. This lorry was then painted in the colours of a local company called Norsewood Transport —a firm that had run nine of these Commers in the past.
Sat in the shed at the moment is a trailer that is going to be restored for the artic, but alongside it is Briannext project —a 1962 TS3. I canwait to see this one out!