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Built in ’78 and resto still going great

“I only ever drove one 3070 in my life, around 1973-1974…Willaton’s in Morwell owned one. It was a single drive, but I always had a bit of an attraction to them, and this one came up.”

And so started the restoration of a 1978 International ACCO 3070/B for Barry Rolfe of Eden, with the project resulting in an immaculate and eye-catching vehicle.

With a lifetime working in road transport, Rolfe saw the truck advertised in a magazine in Beaudesert and got another life-long trucking associate (and expert truck restorer) Alby Twyford to check the truck out on his behalf.

“Alby went and had a look at it for me, the old bloke selling it put two batteries in it and away it went,” recalled Rolfe.

“I paid $7000 for it, everything was there so didn’t have to chase a lot of parts and he threw in the turntable and a fuel tank.  

“I carted a crane up to Canberra and I just kept going! She started up and we dropped it on the trailer in November 2017. We have had it done now for a bit over 12 months.”

Barry and Jill Rolfe with great-granddaughter, Lexie and the ACCO.

Upon its return to Eden, the ACCO underwent a considerable amount of restoration both in Rolfe’s shed and a bit further up the coast at Bega. With the radiator replaced, and the back brakes, diff and seals all receiving some attention, CB Smash Repairs in Bega was tasked with sandblasting the cab and repairing a few dings in the panel work the truck had acquired over its working life.

Slotted between the chassis rails is a Cummins 903 motor which back in the day was pretty much a standard fit to most 3070’s. 

Having run Cummins powerplants in all his own trucks over the years Rolfe found the engine in good working order and left it relatively untouched, but found it to be somewhat of a ‘smoker’ when it hadn’t been kicked over for a while.

 “The day we got it fired up to take it to get rego’d , we took it to the top of Bellbird [a long pull uphill on the Princes Highway out of Eden].

“There was that much blue smoke people in cars were blowing their horns at us.

“I had been told to give it a bootful and by the time I got to the top she was as clear as anything. I took it to the Candelo Show the other week, same thing happened as it had been sitting in the shed for a couple of months.”

The Cummins is naturally aspirated and without a turbocharger has an output of around 300 horsepower which might seem modest today for a linehaul truck but back in the day Rolfe reckons the 903 was a good way to go.

“Back in the 70s I had done a lot of interstate out of the paper mills. These 3070’s and then later the Louisvilles came out with the 903’s. By jeez, a lot of blokes made a lot of money, a lot of operators used to run 3070’s and they got good runs out of them – and the Cummins brand says it all.”

With the interior and exterior all overhauled, the finishing piece was the alloy bulbar which was built by Whitlock’s, who Rolfe reckons went the extra mile to make sure it was made to fit.

“I rang Whitlock’s, the bloke said yeah we can do you a bar, he rang back a bit later and he said ‘we are going to send a fella up to Eden from Melbourne to measure it all up.’ They did so and away they went – they started from scratch but I was very happy with that,” he said.

The ACCO was a faded shade of green in colour when Rolfe picked it up and he decided to respray the truck in the same colour which is complemented by the red chassis and spider wheels.

“All the trucks I had, previously were blue and white and silver which I thought was an immaculate paint scheme, but I always had a thing for green,” he explained.

“The green I had never had before – when you go back into the factory colour sheets it was an original International Harvester colour. The later 3070’s, particularly the Eagles went into cross colours and stripes and all that sort of thing.”

The 3070 was in a tired state prior to its two-year restoration.

The restored 3070 made its first big trip last year, heading to Melbourne and then up Highway 31 as part of the Crawlin’ the Hume event, with the clutch and gearbox getting some attention on its return to Eden. 

“She didn’t use a skerrick of oil, but I had a bit of clutch trouble, so we pulled the box out, and put a new clutch in and also made it an overdrive box. It would sit on 2800 revs at 100k’s. Now it’s about 1900 revs, so she lopes along really good,” he said.

As mentioned earlier, Rolfe has had a lifetime in road transport, starting out in a Bedford with the Twyford family: “I had two options, either go to school or get a job!” he said with a grin. 

Stints driving International R200’s and DCF’s followed and along the journey he had a couple of shots running as an owner driver, firstly in an International Transtar tipper around Morwell in Victoria, and later with a Mack on interstate.

“I didn’t go broke, but I didn’t make much money! It was bloody hard, and I gave it away.”

Rolfe, wife Jill and their family returned to Eden in 1979, spending the next 11 years working for local fuel and log haulers LW and CK Cocks until an opportunity to become an owner-driver on timber cartage popped up.

“We purchased a 1990 Value Liner Mack with a bogie jinker and carting job and I just blitzed it from there, when then got a Mack CH, then a Trident and then a Superliner, a Western Star and a Kenworth.”

The International has been overhauled from end to end.

He also bought into a local taxi business with the Rolfe operation at its peak running three trucks, taxis around the Eden area and employing nine people. Rolfe was inducted into the Road Transport Hall of Fame in 2019.

Beside the shed at his Eden address is the next project, a 1979 Freighter trailer which is about to start being overhauled to match up to the ACCO. The long-term plan is to put the ASC-160 on the trailer to do the historic truck show circuit along with other events. 

But, if he were to be given the chance to haul a load interstate, or indeed across the Nullarbor, Rolfe reckons the old 3070 would be up for the task.

“The motor ticks over like a charm and she goes really well – she’s still noisy though! Would I hook it up and take it to Perth tomorrow?  Bloody oath I would!”

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