Foden not forgotten

By: Steve Skinner, Photography by: Steve Skinner

The British-built Foden may be considered a road transport relic, but there's still a few collectors items around, including Frank Latorre's twin-steer model

Frank Latorre's 1965 Foden (right) on display alongside Alan Kimber's Foden at this year's Sydney Classic and Antique Truck Show.

Foden might be a largely forgotten truck now, but believe it or not the British brand was a common road train hauler in the 1960s among other uses, and renowned for its pulling power (but not speed).

Frank Latorre drove his 1965 Foden twin steer all the way from Shepparton in Victoria to be part of the Sydney Classic and Antique Truck Show at Penrith in May, sleeping in the back of his tipper converted into a camper.

Fans of Foden: Karl Ryder (left), Frank Latorre (centre) and Alan Kimber.

Top speed on the Hume Freeway was 80km/h, powered by an 11 litre straight-six Gardner LXB boasting 180hp (134kW) through a 9-speed Roadranger. Fuel economy is a pretty impressive 10 litres per 100km empty.

Frank bought the truck – originally a Sydney box-carter – from a wrecker in 1982, fixed it up and carted tomatoes for Rosella for 6 years followed by a 20-year run ferrying aggregates within a Boral quarry near Shepparton.

Foden heyday: At work in the Boral quarry near Shepparton.

The old truck is virtually impossible to climb in and out of, there are no shock absorbers and the original seat was just a bench with a thin layer of padding bolted to the back of the cab. "They weren’t built for comfort," says Frank in an understatement, marvelling at the drivers of old who took them across the Nullarbor.

Frank’s mate Alan Kimber has four old Fodens, and brought one of them to Penrith -- a 1962 single drive prime mover, powered by a 12 litre Rolls-Royce putting out 212hp (158kW) through a 12 speed, two-gearstick box.

Mod con: Being so close to the motor meant being warm in winter.

For more on the Sydney Classic and Antique Truck Show, see the July 2019 edition of Owner//Driver.

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