THE TRUCKS OF NEW ZEALAND POST

Monday, July 2, 2018

‘T’ Party

These two examples show a standardised mail van and flat deck truck, both of which would have been built at the P&T workshops in Wellington, the buildings in the background. A few photographs of examples of the mail vans operating in Napier and at the Trentham Army Camp still exist, which suggest their use was widespread. The mail van design was not unique to the Ford, as photographs taken in the early 1920s show similar bodies fitted to other makes of chassis. The cost of the bare chassis was about £198/0/0, (around $34,000 today). They are fitted with electric headlights that got their power from the engine’s magneto, which meant the higher the engine RPM the brighter the light.

Along with Albion trucks, the most popular early vehicle in the P&T fleet was the Ford Model T. In his 2017 book, Ford in New Zealand, Putting the car before the horse, author John Stokes says that probably the biggest purchaser of bare Ford chassis around 1915-16 would have been the Post and Telegraph Department. The bare chassis would have been manufactured in Canada but assembled in New Zealand. The chassis would have included the engine cowl and bonnet but little else, with the cabs and trays manufactured and fitted in New Zealand.