Bill Richardson is a big name down here in Invercargill – and his Transport World Museum has to be seen to be believed. Collecting his first truck in 1967, and adding many other vehicles over the years, more than 50 years later the collection grew to become Transport World and is now housed in a huge purpose built building. His one wish was “I hope when I die that someone will be interested enough to carry it on”. Transport World in now directed by Bill’s daughter and family, and is going from strength to strength. It was a cold and rainy morning when we visited, and this place was top of Robin’s South Island Bucket List, being the petrol head and car lover that he is.
Just in the door was the mighty 1940 Dodge RX70 Texaco Tanker, one of 75 ordered by the company. After it’s time with Texaco, it was used for water cartage before going to the wreckers, and was finally bought by Bill Richardson in 1992. Being quite badly damaged, the restoration took four years.
Looking down at the first display
Even a philistine like myself is well aware of Henry Ford and his Model T car, but I did not know that there was quite a range of famous “Letter Cars”. And this collections boasts: 1904 AC Runabout, 1904 Model C, 1905 Model F, 1906 Model N, 1907 Model R, 1907 Model S, 1910 Model T, 1915 Model T, and lastly, a 1907 Model K 6 cylinder, one of only eight restored.
Some of Henry Ford’s Letter Cars
There was also quite a selection of Henry Ford’s convertibles through the years, from a 1928 Model A to a 1946 V8. These would have surely made quite a statement as their rich and fashionable owners took them out for a spin.
Henry Ford’s convertibles
And how about this for a Paddy Wagon? This bright and shiny 1925 Ford T is an exact replica of the first motorized Paddy Wagon in New Zealand.
1925 Paddy Wagon
We even found a caravan tucked away. The Ranger Camp Trailer was manufactured in the 1950s by Hillie Engineering, in Anaheim, and only 200 were ever produced.
Ranger Camp Trailer
And then there were the trucks. Rows and rows of bright shiny ones, all nicely lined up. Robin was in truck heaven, as he wandered up and down, admiring them all.
And the green Bedford brought back special memories. Robin’s Dad Curley had one just like it which he used for his milk delivery business. And when the family went out and abut, the older boys sat in the tray against the back of the cab. This wouldn’t be allowed today!
Just like Dad had
Some of these need restoring
Tractors on display
The film playing described how the tracked vehicles evolved, and how the name caterpillar came about and was registered. Company photographer Charles Clements was reported to have observed that the tractor crawled like a caterpillar and Benjamin Holt of Holt Engineering seized on the metaphor. "Caterpillar it is. That's the name for it”.
And big yellow caterpillar machines
There were plenty of bowsers, car grills, oil cans, garage machinery and other bits and pieces on display throughout the different halls.
Even the bathrooms had motorized touch, especially the men's.
Mirrors framed by gears and pipe toilet roll holders
Racing seat in the loo
There was a small theatre playing the iconic Kiwi film “Goodbye Pork Pie” continuously. This is all about three would be crooks and a yellow mini, and their adventures as they outwit the police as they try their very best to drive the car to Invercargill. Sitting in that bright yellow mini, it looks like Robin has already made it to Invercargill!
Goodbye Pork Pie