Right Hand Drive Export
by Dennis Schumacher
The truck shown here was manufactured in Tarrytown, N.Y. in late1957 and imported into Kenya in November 1957. It spent it's entire first life as a company delivery truck for an outfit called Malmont Electroplating Limited.
The company still exists in the industrial area of Nairobi. I believe the truck was based in Nairobi it's entire life which is above 5,500 feet in altitude with very moderate weather, which accounts for the good state of the metal work.
Sometime around late 1976 or early 1977, someone performed an oil change and forgot to fill it up with oil again before driving it! I found the truck in October 1989, parked beside the road in the Nairobi industrial area up to it's hubs in dried mud with a seized engine. The oil filter was still new and hadn't had any oil in it. There was no oil in the sump either. The previous owner told me it had been sitting there in the open since the engine had seized.
This is absolutely remarkable and a near miracle since anything in Kenya that is left in the open automatically gets turned into something else, like cooking pots. Even the Click on to Enlarge Photo generator was still on the engine, which an item that would normally be gleaned for other uses. Someone was saving it for me!
It took me 5 years of working in my garage and several shipments of parts from the States to get it on the road. I spent an inordinate amount of time cleaning and repairing rust damage in the rolling stock since it had been buried in the mud so long.
Every part, and I mean every part, was disassembled, cleaned, repaired, or replaced before re-assembly. The bodywork was done off the frame and had to be redone since the first restorer I hired did not do a good job.
All the mechanical work was done myself, farming out only the machine shop work on the engine. Engine, gearbox, steering box, differential, and all other components were rebuilt. All brake parts are nickel and cad plated. Some engine parts are cad plated or chromed. Otherwise everything is original except the fuel tank, which I relocated under the bed, in the original spare tire location.
Some efforts were unique in that the steering box is opposite to a left-hand model. This created a problem in finding a right hand steering rod! Had the same problem with the new wiring harness, which had to be modified to reach the right side of the dashboard.
The truck was finished in July of 1995 and was put into the local car show, which takes place once a year at the Nairobi Race Course. This is the biggest car show in East Africa and the truck won 4th place. Since then there have been a lot of refinements and I continue to work on it every spare minute.
My pickup is a daily driver and I use it every week. My wife uses it in her Interior Design Company and it is common to see her driving around Nairobi with furniture piled high in the back! The kids love it too. It has a special place in the family and is probably a throw back to my own childhood in West Africa when my father owned a bright red 54 Chevy pickup! - CTS