The impact of the government directive of the mid 1920s that only motor vehicles sourced from Great Britain were to be purchased for government fleets was becoming noticeable by the end of the decade, with Bedford, Commer and Morris trucks dominating. There were a few Ford V8s, but these would have been sourced from Canada that documents of the time suggest was acceptable as it was part of the British Empire.
Powered by a 4-cylinder 14hp engine with a payload of one ton (pre metric – 1.016 tonne), this 1936 Commer was likely one of the first examples of a forward control (cabover) vehicle in the fleet until the introduction of TK Bedfords. The vulnerability of the steering box and front suspension to damage most likely led to a lot of work for the workshop mechanics at the time. Clearly new when this photograph was taken, the dark colour suggests it was painted red to distinguish its use from the vehicles used to support the telegraph/telephone network. The tray was built by the Railways Workshops in Otahuhu. With their comprehensive workshops the Railways fitted out many trucks for the P&T and other government departments outside Wellington.