Hutt City Libraries Online Heritage Collection > Texts

Petone's First 100 Years (1940)


New Zealand Motor Bodies Limited.

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Established in 1926 at a time when there was considerable expansion in the motor industry in New Zealand, this company which was originally named Munt, Cottrell, Neilsen & Co., Ltd., was an amalgamation of Neilsen's Body Works of Dannevirke and the body-building interests of Munt, Cottrell & Co., Ltd., the well-known Wellington Carrying Firm. Situated at the corner of Hutt Road and Jackson Street opposite the railway station in the heart of the motor industry in the Hutt Valley, the company is the largest purely motor body-building business in the Dominion, and has played a prominent part in the development of the commercial body industry in New Zealand.
In its earlier years, a large portion of the company's activities was devoted to the building of car bodies but, with changes which have taken place in customs regulations and the importation of car bodies in c.k.d. form, this class of work has completely disappeared and the business is now almost entirely devoted to the manufacture of commercial bodies and truck equipment. A full range of bodies for commercial vehicles is manufactured, including omnibus and passenger service car bodies, truck cabs, vans of every description, ambulance bodies, dump and general transport bodies, etc., whilst hydraulic and hand tipping hoists, winch gear and six-wheeler units are produced in the engineering department.
A major development upon which the company embarked early in 1938, was the production of an all-steel truck cab—the first completely all-steel motor body to be made in this country. The principle of manufacture adopted is the same as in the large overseas motor-car factories, all body panels and parts being pressed on a large double-action hydraulic press and the assembly and finishing processes carried out on the line principle. The intricate press tools, dies and assembly jigs were all made on
the premises by the company's own staff. An output of twelve cabs per day has been attained but this is capable of considerable expansion when required. This development is one of far-reaching importance to the motor industry in New Zealand, as it has proved the practicability of the manufacture locally of standardised all-steel car bodies, the step from a truck cab to a car-body being one only of degree.
Since its establishment in 1926 the business has grown considerably, the expansion having been particularly rapid during the past three years. The original staff was less than 100 in office and factory whilst to-day, the company has normally nearly 300 employees. Property adjoining the factory was recently purchased and the factory extended to cope with the increased output.
The range of plant and equipment carried is very complete and includes hydraulic and geared power presses, power metal cutting and trimming machines, the latest type electric welders, extensive wood-working plant, general engineering plant and oil-fired ovens for baked enamel finishes. The manufacture of motor-bodies and truck equipment involves diversified classes of work and the departments of the business include panel beating and sheet metal working, press shop, wood mill, bus and service car-body shop, commercial body shop, paint, trim and finishing shops, engineering shop, pattern making tool and die section and draughting and designing.
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Pressing Back Panels on 200 ton Hydraulic Press.

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Spray Painting.

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Final Assembly in Large Assembly Jig.

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Electric Welding.

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