Truckin Heaven: A day at Transport World

By: Cobey Bartels

Presented by

When you think of Invercargill in New Zealand, you think of Burt Munro, the world’s fastest Indian. But, there’s another icon that hails from the bottom of the world, and it’s Bill Richardson.

Now THIS is an iconic truck. ‘Deer Hunter’, probably the most famous ERF to ever hit the highways, and a truck with as many stories as gear changes!

The late Bill Richardson is the man responsible for building arguably the largest private machinery collection of its type, now known as Transport World.

Bill is famous throughout the South of New Zealand, known for his transport businesses, encyclopaedic knowledge of all things trucks, and of course, his epic collection of iconic rigs.

The 15,000m2 automotive haven was born out of Bill’s passion for all things transport and a dream to share that passion with the world.

Bill was quoted as saying, "one day I hope someone loves it enough to carry it on", which is exactly what his daughter Joc O’Donnell has done with his collection.

The gargantuan Kenworth Log Skidder! The only one in NZ and probably the heftiest bit of machinery in the place!

Joc now heads up the museum, as well as the popular Dig This and Motorcycle Mecca also featured on Mighty Machines, and she was kind enough to show us around Transport World for the day.

But first, Joc gave us a bit of background on Bill’s extraordinary collection, comprised of hundreds of trucks, tractors, cars and motorcycles.

"He started collecting trucks in 1967. He got a hankering to get hold of his grandfather’s truck, which he purchased not far from here for about ten quid…and that was sort of the start of the collection,"
Joc explained.

The smaller end of town! Have a go at this collection of vintage vehicle jacks!

"I think there’s probably about 250 trucks, 60 cars, and of course the motorcycle collection down the road."

Since taking over the museum, Joc has carried things on with the same level of passion her father was known for, transforming the already impressive collection into an immersive experience for the public.

"As the years went by we decided we would open it to the public, and we thought if we were going to do that then we needed to try and widen that audience reach by having a bit of diversification in the collection," she told us.

The Kombi collection at Transport World will blow your socks off, and it’s Joc’s pride and joy.

"I’m into Kombi vans and my husband is really into motorsport and racing cars. Then our oldest son is into Citroens and our second son is into Minis.

"For us it was really as a family about continuing on a legacy that dad had started."

It’s more than just the machines that make Transport World special – it’s the people, the stories, the effort that goes into the unique displays…and of course, the toilets!

Yep, you read that right, the toilets! Joc had the quirky idea of making every toilet an automotive playground!

The toilets were a trip back in time! Can’t say we’ve ever washed our hands with a petrol bowser before!

You don’t go to transport world unless you’ve got at least half a day to explore, because the place sucks you in on a carefully curated journey through the 1900’s and beyond.

For those of you partial to two wheels as well as four, a few streets away is Joc’s multi-million dollar collection of motorcycles – old and new!

A very famous bike over the ditch – The Britten V1000, hand-built by famous NZ racer John Britten!

Motorcycle Mecca is truly mind blowing, in terms of the sheer variety of bikes on show, from classic Harley Davidsons, Indians, Triumphs, even a 1912 Flying Merkyl!

The star of the show though, for us anyway, was the Vincent Black Shadow on display. A genuine $1million dollar bike! Sadly, but understandably, we weren’t allowed to ride it!

If you’re in New Zealand anytime soon, you’ve just got to check out Invercargill and when you do, schedule a pit-stop at Transport World and Motorcycle Mecca!

The million dollar baby, a 2007 Vincent Black Shadow. Oh, the things we’d do!

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