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And still serving: the 1971 Leyland Contractor


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Big Rigs  /  June 20, 2017

Greg Holm's mighty Leyland Contractor, Steelweld tank trailer and Centurion Mk. 5 tank are simply a standout outfit.

At the recent Heritage Truck Association Australia two-day event at the Rocklea Showgrounds in the heart of Brisbane's road transport hub, the massive combination drew the attention and interest of every visitor at the show.

Built in February 1971, the Leyland Contractor was delivered to the Australian Army in March 1971.

The version on show is actually the combination of parts from two contractors, owner and restorer Greg Holm said.

"One came from Emerald in central Queensland,” Mr Holm said. "The other came from the Town of 1770 on Queensland's north coast.

"They were purchased in 2002 and I worked on them when I could, but I've been working full-time on the project since 2007.”

Powered by an N335 335hp Cummins through an RV30 air-operated semi-automatic gearbox with eight forward and two reverse gears, the Leyland Contractor is believed to be the only road registered version of the truck in Australia.

The truck tares at about 13 tonnes, has a front axle rating of 10,200kg, a rear axle rating of 40,650kg and a GVM of 182,940kg.

The trailer and dolly were built by Steelweld in 1966 and were specifically designed and constructed to carry Centurion battle tanks for the Australian Army. The trailer and dolly sit on 40 tyres spread over 10 axles that ride on walking beam suspension.

The trailer has a tare of 13,200kg, and a load carrying capacity of 60,000kg. The combination is 15.7m long and 4.19m wide.

The tank is a former Australian Army Mk.5 Centurion battle tank.

It is powered by a petrol-powered 650hp V12 27 litre rolls Royce Meteor engine. It had an operating range of 450km and a top speed of 35km/hr. The tank is 3.38m wide, a touch over 3m high and is 9.8m long overall. It weighs 52.5 tonnes.

Mr Holm said he was able to obtain a permit and with one escort vehicle was able to drive the combined 79 tonne, over-width unit in daylight hours from where it is housed south of Brisbane.

He said the truck carried Queensland club registration, which allowed him to proudly display it at a number of regular events, including his local Anzac Day parade and memorial service.

The truck, float and that impressive war machine of an Australian Centurion tank is a piece of history to be cherished.

The outfit captures so much of what is important to our history.

Today we live in an age of "world” trucks, corporate ownership. This rig remembers our history tied with an umbilical to the Brits for technology, a time before we, as a nation, grew up and learned to walk independently.

The British designed and built truck, Australian war history and memories of days gone by all come together in this example of our road transport heritage.

And when Greg is on the road, heads turn.


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