From the website of the Veteran & Vintage Chevrolet Association of Australia (Qld)
CHEVROLET FLASHBACK – THE TRUCKS THAT PAY
by Bryan Cantrell
The subject of this flashback is trucks of 1940’s vintage still in use decades later.
The B&W photograph of a WWII Chevrolet “Blitz” was taken inSeptember 1973.It was part of an auction by the Brisbane City Council (BCC) to dispose of superseded plant and vehicles.Members will be familiar with the 4-WD “Blitz” that served the allied armies with distinction in WWII.Unlike most of its kind, this is a 2-WD variant of the ‘Blitz” with a box body which suggests that its military role was a mobile radio unit or something similar.During its service with the BCC it is thought that it was a support vehicle for the Tramways Department on the corner of Boomerang Street and Coronation Drive at Milton, opposite the old Arnott’s biscuit factory.The BCC bought many war surplus trucks and used them for many years in Brisbane and I remember that they were a common sight around the suburbs.
The colour photograph of the (?same) “Blitz” was taken at GM Day in South Brisbane in 1995, resplendent after a full restoration.If it’s not the same vehicle, then it is remarkably similar.Unfortunately I did not speak with its owner and was unable to check on its history.[Note the unmistakeable boat-tail stern of Queensland member Darryl Stark’s 1932 Chevrolet Moonlight Speedster in the background of this photograph.]
Queensland Member Brian Leahy’s 1945 ¾ ton Series 13 utility was also owned by the BCC before he bought it in 1959.Brian believes that it was used by the BCC Electricity Department.It is a WWII unit and still showed signs of its wartime service when Brian obtained it, such as blackout dash lights, brackets on the mudguards previously used to mount military insignia and a dust filter on the generator, suggesting it was built for operation in severe conditions.Brian also has a 3-ton “Lend Lease” Chevrolet truck.
The second pair of vehicles are 1940 Chevrolet ¾ ton Series 13 utilitiesThe more weather-beaten of the two was seen on a construction site at the University of Queensland and has a factory metal “styleside” tray.
The other was photographed at the fresh fruit and vegetable markets at Rocklea in September 1974.It was in much better condition and is fitted with a timber tray.I guess its owner was a farmer who had bought a load of produce for sale.
The 1931 Chevrolet utility seen at GM Day is being followed by a nicely-restored 1940 utility.What a coincidence it would be if this was also the same truck as I saw at the markets all those years ago, like the “Blitz” ?We will never know.
Finally, a photograph of an enamel sign advertising Chevrolet trucks that I saw in a small motoring museum in the UK in 1996.
Following publication of my article "Chevrolet Flashback, the Trucks that Pay" I was contacted by Queensland members Noel and Edna with information on the 1931 and 1940 utilities mentioned in that article, as follows:
The original factory 1931 utility was bought new by Loganholme farmer Alf Nekker (Loganholme is near Beenleigh, south of Brisbane). Alf treated his utility with the best of care and avoided taking it out on rainy days. If he was caught out in rain, he would dry off the ute as soon as he was home (including the underside). Understandably, it was still in great condition when he finally parted with it about 5 years ago.
The 1940 15-18cwt utility with the timber tray was bought by a farmer in Rochedale near Brisbane, who happened to be Edna's uncle, Alan Fischer. It was also cared for very well during his ownership. Edna's father owned a similar truck.
Both vehicles are now owned by a member of the Queensland Historic Commercial Vehicle Club.