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Military collection an expensive hobby

Kevin Purcell of Adelong, NSW has accumulated an impressive collection of post World War 2 Army trucks

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Kevin Purcell’s private military vehicle collection is well known to fellow khaki truck lovers. You might have seen some of his vehicles at the Sylvia’s Gap Convoy, the Corowa Swim-In and Military Vehicle Gathering or Military Jeep Club of Queensland rallies.

The 77-year-old from Adelong, New South Wales, also takes vehicles to local agricultural shows and a local Anzac Day march. His collection is so large that you’ll never see them all together at one event. So Kevin welcomed Owner//Driver to Adelong to admire his vehicles.

His obsession began in 1953 when his father, like most of their neighbours, bought a World War II Blitz Chev for the family farm at nearby Yaven Creek. Kevin drove the Blitz around the farm long before he was old enough to have a licence.

After WWII Kevin’s 1943 Dodge command car was used during construction of the Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric Scheme

In the 1960s he bought an ex-Army jeep to use as a farm runabout. He enjoyed the mechanical challenge of keeping it in working order.

Five years ago – after over 70 years on the farm – Kevin retired to Adelong. The collection has grown since then. We ran out of fingers and toes counting the Mack, MUTT, Bren Gun Carrier, FWD, Jeeps, Dodges, GMCs, Studebakers, Land Rovers, Kaisers and Internationals. He still owns that original Blitz and is restoring a 1942 Diamond T ex-Australian Army wrecker.

Kevin’s GMC on Sylvia’s Gap Convoy in 2018

Kevin aims for authenticity with his restorations, including appropriate markings and the obligatory axe and shovel. Larger vehicles also have a mattock (pickaxe).

It’s an expensive hobby. “When you restore a vehicle, you never get the money back,” Kevin says.

He is a founding member of the Australian Military Equipment Collectors and treasures friendships with people who share his passion for military vehicles.

Read the full story in the August issue of Owner//Driver.

Photography: Tamara Whitsed | Video: Tamara Whitsed

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