Family heirloom 1951 Austin truck

We caught up with Tim Knight and his old Austin truck, which started life as his grandfather's workhorse on the farm back in the day

Photographers: Chris Thorogood

We bumped into Tim Knight and his mates at Chopped late last year, and they looked like they were having about as much fun as it’s legally possible to have while in control of a motor vehicle in the state of Victoria. We cornered Tim for a chat to find out more about his awesome old Austin truck.

We love your truck, mate!

It was my grandfather’s from new. He was a farmer from Lockhart, which is about 120km north of Wodonga. It started life as a five-tonne 1951 Austin, and he used it to cart grain and hay and everything else.

It was twice as long as it is now, with bogey wheels and a split diff. My mum remembers steering the truck with the doors pulled off when she was three years old, with Granddad on the back throwing the hay out!

What nick was it in when you started on it?

Pretty rough. The roof was stoved in from carrying hay on the top, and there were cool things like scratches on the doors from when Granddad ran out of paper and just started recording amounts of hay with a nail!

What’s underneath it now? A One Tonner chassis?

Yep, HQ chassis, 308 and Trimatic. I had to notch the firewall to get it in there, but it is a good swap, and you can get parts for it anywhere.

It must be pretty cool having a family heirloom like this back on the road.

It’s great. The truck isn’t the kind of thing I’d normally build; most of my big projects have been shiny. But it had to be done, and besides, I really wanted something I could take to Chopped.

What does the Plata O Plomo Speed Shop name mean on the door decals?

It means ‘silver or lead’ in Spanish – that is, take the money or take a bullet. I wanted a vaguely Mexican-sounding name; we’re from the Wodonga side of the border, so we’re Mexicans!