About Me and My Old Iron

| June/July 1992

  • One corner of Jim Davies' engine
    One corner of Jim Davies' engine shed in Auckland, New Zealand shows just some of his total restored collection.

  • One corner of Jim Davies' engine

48 Alwyn Avenue, Te Atatu South, Auckland 8, New Zealand, Sent to us by Richard C. Wiley

A bit about myself first. Well my first 'squark' was let out in 1923 in Aukland. At school and college I was in the middle dumb level, but with the grace of you know who, and a leather belt I managed to get through, sort of. After fifteen years, out into the world I went. My first job was with an electrical engineering company. I was really someone; start at eight, finish at five, and I was with men. Two days later, I was back to square one-and it was the Depression days as well. With the aid of a stern father and all sorts of promises of 'behave or else,' I was installed as an apprentice motor mechanic to the Chevrolet agent in Newmarket. A half-hour tram ride from home. After a lot of mathematics, I found it cheaper to borrow my sister's bike to go to work, so as I could save for my own.

Lots happened in the next three years, an old Vellocette MAC bike was found in the local dump and rebuilt easier than a push bike. Then came the utmost 'for Sale 1924 Chev. offers' the advert went. Five pounds later and a tow home with my neighbor's horse, I was the proud owner of wheels! Much jumping up and down from the Head of the House, 'waste of money, you can't afford to run it,' etc. A lot of work went into the old Chev. (I wish I had it now.) I had a mate who worked in the Railways, as an upholsterer, a helpful bloke. I would say I was the only person who owned the only Chev with Railway red pure leather front and back seats. Servicable too, you could spill a can and not leave a mark.

I had to sell the old Chev because the world erupted and for five years I did my bit for King and Country. Part of the time in Italy I was stationed in the Vehicle Recovery Company, tank recovery, that is. Previous to that I was a foot slogger.

Back home and back to the grind. Most of my relations were farmers, all had an old engine driving their machinery of some sort and being a mechanic of some sorts, it inevitably fell on me to make repairs; a chore in those days. I didn't know then how handy it would be in later years.

I don't know where the time has gone, but the later years are here and I am back to the old stationary engines again and I am enjoying every minute. I had been looking forward to retiring for the last fifty years. It's great-I can go out to the shed in the late afternoon when I have done all my chores, (washing dishes, sweeping, dusting and general cleaning)! I've been known to get out among my engines by about 4 o'clock, that day the wife was feeling okay-birthday or something. It's great to be your own boss!