Almost rolling – Update # 31

A rolling chassis is only weeks away. Enamelling has begun on the trunk letters, the cab and tank have finally been reunited and we have purchased a rare keyhole sign from the original Texaco truck fleet.

The Rear End

Steve has made great progress over the past couple of months with a number of components on the chassis. The complete rear end was blasted and 2 pack epoxy primed. It was then stripped down for a rebuild.


The rear brake drums were sandblasted and machined.


Lamberts Brake & Clutch in Wiri relined the brake shoes and matched the rebonded shoes to the drums.


Just Brakes resleeved and rekitted the rear wheel cylinders.


Once the backing plate, rebuilt brake cylinder and brake shoes were fitted, Steve cut down an unusable brake drum and used this as a tool to adjust the brake shoes. He had used the same system when adjusting the brake shoes on the front.


Steve painted the cast spoke wheel centres and fitted new axle gaskets which had been made by Gasket Specialties.


Prior to reassembling the rear hubs.


The artillery style wheel centres were fitted to each side of the rear axle.


Steve purchased four more new 825/20 tyres from Carter’s Tyre Services in East Tamaki for the rear dual wheels. Carter’s Tyres fitted the new tyres to the rims with new rim protectors and tubes.


He mounted the dual wheels and came one step closer to having a rolling chassis.

The Diff

Steve had bearings replaced where necessary in the diff and Gasket Specialties made new gaskets for the rear diff cover.

Steve primed and painted the diff and then devised a plan to get the diff back in on his own……..


……..the plan worked!

The Engine

It has been two years since I published a post on the history of the Diamond T Super-Service engine.


When we purchased the Texaco tanker, a spare Diamond T / Hercules engine came with the parts. This was always going to be a good back up plan if the original motor was no good (we were being optimistic!).

We understand from Peter Phillips that the spare motor had come out of a wrecked Diamond T many years ago and it had sat on display ever since.


Steve discovered when he removed the cylinder head that the original motor out of the tanker had held water for many, many years. There isn’t a lot more to say…..

So he decided to use the long block from the spare engine but rebuild all the accessories off the original motor in the 614 truck where possible .

Steve removed the sump and checked all the main and big end bearings. All the valves were also removed, refaced and the valve seats were cut.


Each valve was lapped and the tappet clearances were checked.

The head was blasted, crack tested and resurfaced. Steve painted all the components separately prior to reassembly.


This image shows the sump and bell housing back on in readiness for the cylinder head, manifold and side cover.


A new cylinder head gasket was fitted ready for the cylinder head to be replaced and torqued down.


The original engine mounts had been refurbished by Tom Warren at The Diamond T Rubber Company in Amarillo, Texas.


Steve fitted the engine mounts and then secured the engine in the chassis.


He stripped the carburettor and rebuilt it with a new kit. The manifold was blasted and high temperature ceramic coated by Tim at Pro Coat in East Tamaki. Steve also stripped the oil conditioner, checked it, made a new gasket and then reassembled it.


The carburettor, manifold and oil conditioner are the only accessories refitted on the engine so far. Steve has now directed his attention to the drive shaft and gearbox.

The Trunk Letters

The ‘TOUR WITH TEXACO’ letters were ready for their journey south to Dunedin for the porcelain enamel process to begin.

Steve decided to fly down and deliver the letters in person to Grant Davis at Procote Industries. Grant will be enamelling the letters, using the same process as the large TEXACO sets that were completed last year.

And, of course, Steve’s visit to Dunedin also meant catching up with long time friends who he doesn’t get to see very often. It was a great trip all round.


Grant has kindly shared these initial photos of the Texaco trunk letters. The entire porcelain enamel process has been detailed and explained in Update #18.

The Texaco Truck Keyhole Sign


Our good friend, Chris ‘Starry’ Malcolm, constantly keeps an eye out for anything relevant to the project and has found several vital pieces that we have needed to complete the restoration.

He recently drew our attention to a memorabilia auction that was underway in the States. One of the lots on offer was an original Texaco truck keyhole sign.


The entire streamlined Texaco tank truck fleet from this era was adorned with a pair of enamel keyhole signs on the cab doors.


These symbolic, single sided porcelain enamel signs measure 13 1/4″ (336mm) x 10 5/8″ (270mm) and have become hard to find these days. For more than 30 years, Steve has collected gas station memorabilia but has never had the opportunity to purchase an original keyhole sign.


Three brackets are mounted on the back of the door sign. We believe these were designed to have springs between the sign and door to hold the keyhole sign slightly off the body.


The same style of mounting bracket on the keyhole sign was used on several of the enamel trunk letters.


Mitch will now be able to generate precise artwork in order for us to get a pair of recreated keyhole signs manufactured for the truck.

Our thanks and appreciation once again to Starry and Linda for their help in purchasing, carefully packing and safely shipping the sign to us here in New Zealand.


Finally, Steve delivered the cab out to Rowan Glass some weeks ago. After many, many months apart, the tank and cab are finally back together again.

Rowan has shared a couple of initial images of the tank and cab positioned at the same height.


Although work hadn’t yet started on the cab when these shots were taken, the world-class quality of the fabrication and subsequent body work is already clearly evident.

It is such an exciting milestone in the project to see a glimpse of what the streamlined truck will look like once finished!

Image Sources



The steering box and the elusive pedestal design – Update # 30


A glimpse of red – Update # 32


  1. Justin

    Looking amazing – thanks for the updates!

  2. Ken Smith

    Another interesting update. Looking forward to many more! Thanks for keeping us informed.

  3. Steve Medley

    I really enjoy following your project. Thanks again for sharing. You should do T-shirts and sell them.

    • Sue Keys

      We haven’t considered selling T-shirts but you never know! Thanks Steve.

  4. Chris Green

    Wow! This is really coming along great! I cannot wait to see the completed truck, but I’m gonna miss the updates!

  5. Steve

    Love following this project,especially the gathering of NZ’s skilled workforce and their contribution to this great restoration.

  6. Wayne Rogers

    As usual Steve is doing a fantastic job , can’t wait to see it painted

  7. Mark Barton

    Looking so good team, congrats on progress to date

  8. John Murray

    Awesome high quality work, can’t wait to see the finished product. We have some very clever and talented people here in NZ.

  9. Graeme Thompson

    Amazing Job Steve Keep it up

  10. Chuck Dalton

    Congrats on being able to persist on this awesome project during these difficult times! I am amazed at the level of attention to detail and the workmanship every time I read an update. Keep calm (and committed!) and carry on.

    • Sue Keys

      It has certainly been great to focus on something so positive over the past few months. Thanks Chuck.

  11. Brent Mathieson

    What can we say? Simply stunning! Be proud, we love your work.
    Brent and Lou

  12. Scott

    Greetings from North Carolina. Noble work! You are well on your way to having it looking better than new. Have enjoyed watching the patient, pains-taking team efforts of artistry and craftsmanship. Not sure, but I think that wheel type used to be associated with what they called “Budd” wheels, which as I recall was a German company originally. Funny how the machines associated with ‘old’ household brand names have such a strong nostalgic attraction.

    Keep up the good work, exciting to see it come to fruition!

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