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PHOTOS | VIDEO | Truck a labour of love for Horsham’s Eric Smith

Eric Smith has restored an International truck. Eric drove the same model in his working life. It has been a 13 year labour of love.

MEMORY LANE: Retired Horsham truck driver Eric Smith has finished refurbishing an International R190 truck he bought 13 years ago. Mr Smith drove an R190 throughout his career. Pictures: PAUL CARRACHER.


By SARAH SCULLY
They say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure – and Horsham’s Eric Smith feels he has hit the jackpot.
When Mr Smith, 70, heard there was an R190 International truck at a Horsham scrap yard back in 2005, he did not waste time checking it out.
The truck came from Cobar, NSW, on a load of scrap and unable to resist the blast from the past, Mr Smith snapped it up.
“I first started driving an R190 for Bob Watson in Dimboola in 1968,” he said.
“We transported mainly livestock. The R190s were really popular in the 1950s and ’60s. They were a necessity on the roads. We all like our daily needs and that’s how things were transported.
“If you were driving an R190 in the area you were driving the top-of-the-range International truck at the time.
“It was exciting to get this truck and bring it home. Thirteen years later I’ve got it up and running and I’m able to drive it down the road.”

Eric Smith has restored an International truck. Eric drove the same model in his working life. It has been a 13 year labour of love.

Eric Smith has restored an International truck. Eric drove the same model in his working life. It has been a 13 year labour of love.

Mr Smith’s purchase might have seen better days, but that was part of its charm.
The truck has undergone a full restoration. Mr Smith said it had been pulled apart and rebuilt, with the inside refurbished and the outside freshly painted.
“Guy Smith reconditioned the engine out of two engines – the original and another one,” he said. “The truck was originally green and the one I drove for Bob Watson was also green, so it was an easy choice when it came to repainting it. The colour is called ‘International green’.”
The roof is white and with the help of a friend he added signwork and scrolls in ‘old-school signwriting’. He also fitted the wheels with rims for a ‘bit of bling’.
“They didn’t have rims back then but if they did, they would have been on the International,” he said.
“I always thought this truck was a 1954 model but I’ve been talking to the son of the man who owned it in Cobar and he reckons it might be as late as a 1958 or 1960 model.
“They made the same model from 1950 to 1968 so it’s hard to work out, although I was under the impression it was a ’54.”
Mr Smith completed the majority of his work on the International in a workshop he created in his backyard.
“It was a big job,” he said. “I did most of the work in the past two and a half years during my retirement.”
Mr Smith drove trucks for 45 years, retiring from Wimmera Container Lines aged 65. He said refurbishing the R190 was his major triumph and he would avoid taking on a project on that scale again.
“I might do up a trailer to tow behind it, that’s from a similar era,” he said.
“The truck travels better with a trailer, otherwise its bobcatting around on the road. I also have a David Brown tractor I’ve had for 10 or 15 years that I might do some work on, but that’s about it.
“These things take up a lot of time and money and I’d like to enjoy the truck now.”
Pride and joy
Since registering the truck last month, Mr Smith has taken it to Clunes and also entered it in Warracknabeal’s annual YFest parade at Easter.
He is considering participating in the Calder Convoy Classic Truck Run next month, if he finishes his trailer in time.
Mr Smith said he had always enjoyed going to truck shows and he was excited to show off his pride and joy to others.
“When you get older you want what you used to drive in your youth,” he said.
“To actually drive them when I was a young fella, 20 years of age, and now I’m 70 and I’m still able to drive them – it’s pretty special.
“When you start these projects you never think the end will come, but one day if you keep at it, it does. I’m pretty happy and proud to be a ’90 driver.”

Eric Smith has restored an International truck. Eric drove the same model in his working life. It has been a 13 year labour of love.

Eric Smith has restored an International truck. Eric drove the same model in his working life. It has been a 13 year labour of love.

Eric Smith has restored an International truck. Eric drove the same model in his working life. It has been a 13 year labour of love.

Eric Smith has restored an International truck. Eric drove the same model in his working life. It has been a 13 year labour of love.

Eric Smith has restored an International truck. Eric drove the same model in his working life. It has been a 13 year labour of love.

Eric Smith has restored an International truck. Eric drove the same model in his working life. It has been a 13 year labour of love.

Eric Smith has restored an International truck. Eric drove the same model in his working life. It has been a 13 year labour of love.

Eric Smith has restored an International truck. Eric drove the same model in his working life. It has been a 13 year labour of love.

Eric Smith has restored an International truck. Eric drove the same model in his working life. It has been a 13 year labour of love.

Eric Smith has restored an International truck. Eric drove the same model in his working life. It has been a 13 year labour of love.

Eric Smith has restored an International truck. Eric drove the same model in his working life. It has been a 13 year labour of love.

Eric Smith has restored an International truck. Eric drove the same model in his working life. It has been a 13 year labour of love.

Eric Smith has restored an International truck. Eric drove the same model in his working life. It has been a 13 year labour of love.

Eric Smith has restored an International truck. Eric drove the same model in his working life. It has been a 13 year labour of love.

Eric Smith has restored an International truck. Eric drove the same model in his working life. It has been a 13 year labour of love.

Eric Smith has restored an International truck. Eric drove the same model in his working life. It has been a 13 year labour of love.

Eric Smith has restored an International truck. Eric drove the same model in his working life. It has been a 13 year labour of love.

Eric Smith has restored an International truck. Eric drove the same model in his working life. It has been a 13 year labour of love.


Eric Smith at Warracknabeal's YFest parade.

Eric Smith at Warracknabeal’s YFest parade.

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Posted on Apr 10 2018

Posted by on Apr 10 2018. Filed under FEATURED, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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