A glimpse of red – Update # 32

The first splash of red has been applied to the tank, albeit by way of a primer coat. The enamel trunk letters are now finished and a prototype has been produced of the Heil hand / foot rail pedestals.

A Personal Celebration

For the past several months, Steve and I had been busy with preparations for the upcoming marriage of our son, Mitch, to the beautiful girl of his dreams, Allanah.

Having the wedding at our home meant the tanker project and updates were put on hold for a number of weeks. Of course, this didn’t mean that work stopped on all the various outsourced jobs that are currently being undertaken. Great progress has been made over this time in several areas and a special milestone has been reached.

The wedding just took place on Saturday 10th October and was, without question, the proudest day of our lives. Close friends who attended the celebration described the day as ‘magical’.

The one thing we would have loved to have added to the wedding to create even more magic would have been Steve driving Allanah to the ceremony in a stunning, red streamlined Texaco tanker!

The Enamel Gems

Grant and Neville at Procote Industries in Dunedin have now completed the enamel process on the ‘Tour With Texaco’ trunk letters.



The entire process and techniques used were detailed in full in the update published in March 2019.



We have once again received handmade enamel letters, each with their own unique characteristics, and we are once again thrilled with the end result.


Our sincerest thanks to Grant and Neville for fully completing this area of the project, and to Graham Rollo who helped us again by shipping the letters back up to Auckland.

More Fabrication

When the initial fabrication work was carried out on the tank by Simon Tippins and Craig Garland at Creative Metal Works, the Diamond T cab was not in their shop. This was mainly due to timing, space and Simon and Craig’s work commitments at the time.


Rowan and Simon recently trial fitted the cab to the tanker for the first time since the restoration began in 2018.

They came up with a plan to bolt the cowl to the trolley that the cab was sitting on. To achieve the same height as the tank, they lifted the cab up by a further 110mm by mounting it on two 100mm x 100mm square box sections and welding in some mounting nuts.

With the cab pushed up against the tanker body, the centre section was found to be the perfect height. Each side of the cab roof however needed repairs to align the corresponding shape of the front of the Heil tank.

When compared to the tank, the left hand side of the cab roof was approx 8mm too high and the right hand side of the roof approx 5mm too high.

Simon used the same process on each side so the following photos reflect the overall repairs.


Each side was trimmed back to reveal the inner frame. Simon ground down the inner frame height and melted out the factory lead.


New repair sections were made up and tack welded in. Where there was too much shape in the roof, Simon pie cut these areas forward of the repair sections.


By slightly changing the roof height, Simon had to cut out where necessary the second inner frame  that holds the rubber between the cab and the tank. He then had to move and weld the inner frame to the correct new position.


Simon used a carbon shrinking rod to shrink back the excess body roll between the cab roof and tank body.

These repairs have now achieved a perfect alignment of the rear of the cab and the front of the Heil tank.


Simon carried out the final fabrication work to the front of the tanker body itself. He welded a new edge along the full length of the right hand side of the tanker body and then trimmed it to suit.

We are very appreciative for Simon and Craig carrying out more rectifications to the cab and tank…..just when they thought they had seen the last of the Texaco tanker project!!

The Colour Red

For months now, Rowan Glass and Nick Saunderson have systematically block sanded layer after layer of the tanker body using a finer grit each time.

The most recent sanding was done with a 240 grit paper as Rowan and Nick prepared to apply the final coat of PPG Epotec primer.

Rowan discussed the paint options at length with PPG and recommended to Steve that we use the PPG Delfleet range. This is a complete paint system that has been specially formulated by PPG for the commercial transport sector.

Since the body prep work began, the Technical Manager at Car Colors of North Shore Ltd, Barry Wadham, has helped Steve in any way he can. Once the shade of red was confirmed, Barry had some PPG Delfleet CT coloured primer made up and delivered for Rowan to apply.


Steve collected the tank finished in PPG Epotec primer from Rowan’s shop and delivered it to Jay at JJ’s Painters Ltd in Pukekohe.


The tank was masked and the booth prepared for the spraying of the PPG Delfleet primer.

And then……. there was red!


The sheer size of the tank required two painters to work together. Rowan and Jay both got on the end of a gun and began spraying each side with the red tinted PPG Delfleet CT primer.

Throughout this phase of the body work, Rowan has taken advice from the PPG technical rep. The hardener and thinner used with the coloured primer were also from the PPG Delfleet paint system.


Seeing the red primed tank for the first time was a very exciting moment for us all. It signifies a real milestone of getting the tanker to this stage.


The outstanding preparation work that Rowan and Nick have worked so hard to achieve is beautifully showcased in these photos. And it would be so easy to overlook the fact that this is still only a primer coat. The PPG product, along with Rowan and Nick’s talented workmanship, has the tanker looking absolutely stunning.

Our thanks and appreciation to Rowan and Nick, Barry at Car Colors North Shore Ltd and Jay at JJ’s Painters Ltd for getting us one step closer…..and what an exciting step it is!

The Prototype

A search has been underway since we purchased the Texaco tanker to identify the style of the rail pedestals which were all missing.

Rich Harner produced an invaluable photo last year of a 1938 Diamond T Texaco Tanker that showed the pedestals used by Heil during that year.




Then earlier this year we learnt of the existence of another 1941 Heil tank that we were able to study closely thanks to the owner’s help.




Using the 1938 photo, I came up with a sketch of what I believe Heil used to support the two rails. Due to having the dimensions and close up photos of the 1941 Heil pedestals, we also decided to incorporate the ornate detail that was machined at the base of the later pedestals.

Mark Whiter at Marlin Tooling took my sketch and brought it to life by creating a prototype of the pedestal.


Mark has done a fabulous job of recreating the 1938 pedestals to as close as possible to the grainy black & white photo.

Ten of the circular bases will need to be slightly curved underneath to fit the contour of the tank guards.


We have asked Mark to produce the entire set of pedestals which Steve will test fit while he has the tank in his care for a few weeks.

Steve’s next challenge is to get some tube bent up for the hand and foot rails. Once he is happy with the formation of the rails, he’ll drill precise holes in the rails where the threaded bolts are positioned.

He has further work to do on the tank lids, and is going to sand and prepare inside the lockers and under the tank itself.

We will always remember October 2020 as being the best month of a very challenging year. Not only did we get our first glimpse of the beautiful, red Texaco tanker, we also got to share the marriage of Mitch and Allanah with close friends and family. It doesn’t get better than that.


Almost rolling – Update # 31


Off the gun – Update # 33


  1. Cam Lill

    Good choice on the PPG Paint. I use both Delfleet & Autothane CV (also PPG) on my truck projects. Its beautiful paint to use and end results are awesome. I’m no expert painter but its first rate!

    • Sue Keys

      Thanks Cam. From what we have seen so far, the PPG Delfleet really is a magnificent paint system.

  2. Steve Medley

    Thanks again for the update and your dedication to this project. I wish I lived in NZ so I could see this truck in person when it’s done. That is the glossiest primer I’ve ever seen.

    • Sue Keys

      The truck would be a great excuse to come and visit NZ when things settle down again! Thanks Steve.

  3. Ken Smith

    Your update was good to see and read as always!
    Great to finally see some color.

  4. John King

    Congratulations on the wedding and the great progress so far!!

  5. Richard Poisson

    The restoration is coming along so well, it reflects the time and patience needed in the best of results. Thank you, for keeping us all updated.

  6. Greg Stokes

    Excellent progress and congrats re the wedding

  7. Awesome undertaking, slot of love when doing a restoration and making it correct.

  8. George Durante

    Fantastic amount of work that has been done. The care and craftsmanship really shows. Thanks for the update.

  9. Sid Smith

    Wow, what an undertaking ! You certainly have come a long way with this project.I will anxiously await further work progress ! Excellent job by all involved !

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