Homemade cab-over truck proves a head-turner

ELENA MCPHEE
Last updated 08:54 07/07/2014
Denyse Healy
SCOTT HAMMOND/FAIRFAX NZ

NICE WHEELS: Mark Stead is entering his custom-made truck in the CRC Speedshow in Auckland this year.

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With the finishing touches all done on his green cab-over truck, Mark Stead is ready for this year's CRC Speedshow.

The Blenheim man is travelling to Auckland this month to exhibit his truck in the Castrol Edge/Teng Tools Custom Show section.

His shiny green truck, which won the section last year, is up against about 50 other vehicles.

CRC Speedshow general manager Kate Gordon-Smith said the show usually attracted an audience of about 30,000.

Stead said he was feeling good about the competition, and would "just see what happens".

He created the truck in order to promote his custom-vehicle business, Big Shed Customs.

The truck was built from eight sheets of 20-gauge panel steel and took 3000 hours to complete.

"I wanted a workman-like vehicle and it's worked. People up and down the country know what the dream truck is now," Stead said.

Last year the truck placed in the top five at the Whangamata Beach Hop and in the top 10 at the New Zealand Hot Rod Association's 2013 Street Rod Nationals. It also featured in the Australian Street Machine magazine, and other publications in New Zealand.

"I'm really pleased with the way it's turned out. It's been excellent publicity, and it's fun to drive."

He had driven it up to Auckland and down to Queenstown with no problems, he said.

The truck provoked different responses from people. "It's fun to see the expressions. Some people think it's ugly, some people think it's fantastic. And that doesn't worry me, we're all different."

Stead, 49, said he had always worked with vehicles. He did his apprenticeship as a panelbeater, and then set up Big Shed Customs, which he runs with mechanic Steve Mitchell, about 14 years ago.

Originally they did restoration work on cars but they had since moved into custom-made vehicles, which Stead enjoyed more.

"You can express individual wants and needs, you have a little more freedom," he said. His truck was unique in the custom show as the other vehicles were hot-rod cars, Stead said.

"I guess you could say I have a fair bit of pride in it."

Speedshow director Ross Prevett said CRC welcomed the truck back to the show. "When we watched Mark's green cab-over truck drive into the pavilion last year, we were all saying ‘wow'!"

Blenheim mechanic and self-described automobile enthusiast David Clark is also entering the CRC Speedshow, and his 1954 Morris Minor commercial van will be in the classic section.

The CRC Speedshow will be held in the ASB Stadium in Auckland from July 19-20.

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- The Marlborough Express

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