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.

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!