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Homepage. This page: A series of Dodge coincidences, thanks to the power of the internet.
Dodge Power Wagon magazine
The story of this model truck, and the real thing that inspired it, was published in the Power Wagon Advertiser. Thanks to Gordon Maney in Iowa, the publisher, for sending me a copy.

Model Dodge aircrew bus.

The long-running resurrection and continued fettling of the ex-WW2 RAF Dodge aircrew bus I've had since 1995, may be familiar to long-term visitors to this site. Without the internet I doubt it'd have been completed. The www has made it possible to contact people who live across the globe, in the ongoing search for parts to suit this rare 3-ton truck. For instance a new-old-stock steering wheel, unique to the 3-ton lorries of 1939-onwards, turned up in Australia a number of years back and was swiftly purchased. It was also in Australia that the subject of this article appeared, via a number of amazing coincidences that, without the internet and the contacts that it creates, would never have found its way onto my office shelf. Someone, at some point, on the other side of the world, decided to make a model of what can only be my truck. It was then discovered, tucked away in the back of a dusty shed/shop, recognised, and eventually posted over to me. The individuals concerned who made this happen are as follows:
  • Gordon McMillan, long-term WW2 Dodge contact who lives in Scotland and who came to cast an eye over Bess in the early days of my ownership.
  • Daryl Day, also a military vehicle enthusiast, living in Australia.
  • Gordon Maney, publisher of the Power Wagon Advertiser, USA.

Distinguishing features of the real truck.

The original VK62B
The real vehicle was shipped, minus cab and rear body, to the UK late in 1940, and bodied for the RAF as a crewbus. I've looked at several contemporary photos of aircrew buses in action like this, and none have the distinctive curved trims fitted to the front doors, cowl and bonnet top panels that are on mine. Way way back these trims were also fitted to the sides, two each side running rearwards and down, fanning out like those often seen on coaches of the 1930s. Why they were fitted, and by whom, is still a mystery. Certainly mine is the only 'bus like this I've seen in photographs with these details apparent, and it is these features that make the chance find of a one-off model truck based on it, in Australia of all places, such an amazing find.

Discovery of the model.

A few weeks after the truck's appearance at Donington Park, a series of cryptic emails arrived in my inbox from Gordon McMillan, asking again about the (apparently) unique trims on my truck. It was clear that he'd found something of interest through his many Dodge contacts, but wouldn't let on exactly what. All I was told that he'd arranged for its purchase and shipment to my address. In return I promised to send him a wartime steering wheel that was suitable for his own WW2 Dodge project.
When the parcel arrived, I was amazed at what had been found in a distant, dusty old shop in a city in Australia.
Model VK62B found in Australia
At first glance the model looks similar to the slightly crude "models" that are churned out of far-eastern countries and litter "antique and collectable" centres everywhere. This though, as far as I can ascertain, is a one-off built by a chap in his shed in New South Wales, one that can only have been based on my own Dodge. The front end is a pretty good match with the real thing, the detail becoming less accurate the further back you get. If I had to guess, I'd say the model-maker found himself on the page featuring photos of the truck, pre-restoration, in 1994. As the rear end doesn't feature in those shots, he would have had to make an estimated guess. Similar photos of the truck in its faded bluey-green paintjob also appeared in several magazines in the 1990s, so could also have been the inspiration behind this. The model truck was found with several similar models at this back street emporium, having been discovered in a house clearance and put high up on a shelf, in the hope of finding a buyer. How the model came to be found, and identified, now follows, based on the story as told in the Power Wagon Advertiser.

Found in a dusty house clearance "shed".

In April 2012, a lady by the name of Pauline, aged 95, decided to give up driving. Interestingly, her brother had served in the RAF during WW2, losing his life in 1942. Quite possibly he'd have travelled in just such a crewbus. Anyway, knowing that her grandniece Sarah could probably benefit from taking over her car, it was arranged that she'd take on the ownership of Pauline's car. Sarah's dad Daryl checked the car over near Melbourne, and drove it over to Sarah's home in Nowra, NSW. While he was there, Sarah took her dad for a look around a few local shops, one of which was an old backstreet "shed" in which bits and bobs of collecting interest, often discovered during house clearances, were on sale. High up on a dusty shelf were several unusual models, cars mainly, with one odd-looking blue van. Daryl carried on walking then paused - the curved trim on the model's door reminded him of something - so he went for a second, closer, look at it. Not quite sure what he was looking at, but seemingly familiar with it somehow, he took a photo of it and emailed over the fuzzy image to Gordon McM in Scotland, as he was sure that a vehicle like it had come up in conversation before.
Now at home
It had indeed been mentioned before, on the 39-47 Dodge Truck Group website, of which both Daryl and Gordon McM are members. It was a vague recollection of the updates that Gordon had posted on the Group regarding the truck's restoration, that clicked with Daryl that day when he visited the house clearance shed. Gordon agreed that likely as not, the model was based on the self-same truck, as he too had never seen another VK62B - of which this was definitely a homage to if not an exact model of - with the distinctive aluminium trims. Its colour, applied in the post-war years during its service as a racing car transporter, started out as green but had deteriorated to such an extent that it became a mid-blue(ish) hue by the 1990s, just like that applied to the model.
How this model of a now-unique 70+ year old truck happened to turn up in a fusty old house clearance outlet, surrounded by chipped cups, old pans and furniture no doubt, on the opposite side of the world, will probably never be known. How it was then recognised by a chap making a one-off visit to the shop in which it now found itself, and had its identity subsequently confirmed by a contact of his in Scotland, who also arranged to have it sent to the current owner of the real thing in England, just shows how the widespread adoption of the internet has transformed the old-car world, and our ability to chase leads and track down interesting artefacts like never before.
Now at home
As far as I know, the model is a one-off. The wheels and tyres are bought-in items from a model shop. The body has been put together with solder, rivets, small nuts and bolts, and bent tabs, and while not the most accurate of models, is a neat item to have and will be displayed with the real thing in future. Had it not been for the joined-up world of the online old vehicle enthusiast, it would never have found its way to me. My thanks to the efforts of the aforementioned individuals, who arranged for it to end up with me here in England. If anyone out there can add to my collection of VK62B-related curios, please get in touch!
Now at home
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