Classic truck museum opens in Invercargill

Classic truck museum opens in Invercargill

One of the world's largest private collections of trucks and classic cars is set to go on show in Invercargill.

Previously one of the city's best kept secrets, the impressive transport collection of Southlander Bill Richardson is now ready for the fast lane.

The late Mr Richardson began collecting trucks in 1967.

As his collection grew, so did the interest from other enthusiasts. More than 5000 people have visited this year by special appointment.

A decision by his daughter, Jocelyn O'Donnell, to buy a collection of early Henry Fords revved up plans for a full-scale museum.

"Had a wee rush of blood to the head," Ms O'Donnell says. "Once we'd made that investment, after bringing them back here to Invercargill , we just decided it was time to look at opening it to the public we can share our passion."

Bill Richardson Transport World is home to more than 300 trucks and classic vehicles, spread across 15,000 square metres. There are also more than 150 vintage petrol bowsers, along with other motoring memorabilia.

Ms O'Donnell's passion is VW Kombi vans – she travelled around Europe in one, getting engaged to her husband en route.

"[I] sold it in London to buy an engagement ring," she says. "So I never actually intended to collect Kombis and he thinks it's quite funny that I now do."

A private gala opening last weekend was aimed at thanking those who have worked for the last two years to get the massive project down the home straight.

"This isn't just about trucks and cars and vehicles and transportation," Invercargill mayor Tim Shadbolt says. "It's really about tourism."

The doors were opened early so those in town for the Burt Munro challenge could feast their eyes on some motoring heaven.

It's expected thousands more visitors will be attracted south when the collection officially opens in early December.

3 News