Monday, December 3, 2018

Jailbar jar-heads

During the Second World War the purchase of new vehicles for the Post Office was largely suspended, with many of the existing fleet requisitioned for military use. Postwar, many ex-military trucks were transferred to the Post Office and other government departments. These included GMCs and Canadian Military Pattern Fords and Chevrolets. Maintenance on these was high, and before long newer Ford V8s entered the fleet. These were used in many roles, including mail delivery and lines work. Some were also used as breakdown trucks and a few fitted with fifth wheels to tow low loader trailers.

Photos: The photographs show two examples of Jailbar Fords in service in the early 1950s. Fitted with a 22kW (30hp) side valve V8, the flat-deck was in service in Auckland and the breakdown truck was in Wellington. Designed when solid beam front axles were the norm, the breakdown truck was fitted with a cantilever arrangement instead of the more common lifting jib. This posed problems when it came to lifting vehicles that had independent front suspension. The solid steel front bumper was also a counterweight, commanding respect from Wellington motorists at the time.