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  • Nigel Gamble

Visit to C&R Developments Museum, Cambridge.

Updated: Jan 4, 2020

During a recent trip up north, myself and Anna stopped into view C&R Development’s collection of cars, trucks and earthmoving machinery, situated just out of Cambridge, in Hautapu. In what could only be described as a very impressive building sits this even more impressive collection, when you first enter the building you are greeted by a impeccably set out line up of classic cars and motorbikes, in one corner a 1950’s style diner and bar, complete with neon lighting and juke boxes, the walls are adorned with memorabilia, and all this including the cars sits upon a floor of highly polished black and white tiles.

Just some of the car collection.

If you are not impressed by this highly polished collection of cars, then by passing through what appears to be a quite unimpressive side door, that

at first glance leads to no where important- will surprise you. As this door opens, waiting beyond is a world of giants, including one of the biggest production built bulldozer’s in the world, the Komatsu 575 super dozer, its blade towers above the door way as you enter this next display.

The entrance way into the machinery building leads you through the bucket of a 400 ton excavator, the size of which dwarfs Anna, who can be seen standing in the door way.

The Komatsu 575A Super Dozer is a huge machine, weighing in at 175 ton, it is equipped with a V12 twin turbo engine producing 1350 HP, a blade that stands at near 4m high, can carry 69m3 of material in a single pass. But with a replacement cost of $5.5 million dollars, you would need to be sure there was plenty of work ahead before ordering one.

This particular machine was purchased new in Australia in 1995 and was later brought to New Zealand by Auckland based Kaipara Group, and was put to work along side a second 575 on the west coast at Stockton stripping overburden from the coal seam. With a heightened risk of falling into underground coal workings, as many years earlier much of this area had been mined, both machines were equipped with remote control systems enabling the operators to stand away from the machine when working above such areas. When the world coal price plummeted both machines became redundant, and being unable to find a buyer for the dozers, this one was offered to the museum, the other now sits at the gate of the Kaipara rock quarry. Although having clocked up over 45,000 machine hours this museum piece is still quite capable of going back into work should the need arise.

A side view of the 575, note the 44 gallon drum next to the side arm at the front, it gives a little perspective to the actual size of this monster.

Along with this big machine is a number of smaller dozers that can be viewed, including a very rare Euclid TC12, one of only three that can be found in NZ. These machines when released in 1955 were the biggest dozers on the market in the world, and are basically two machines joined side by side, fitted with two Detroit 6V71’s with a combined output of near 400hp- and as you might imagine quite a bit of noise. Early versions of off road dump trucks, scrapers loaders and other earthmoving plant are also on display, along side some vintage tractors and a fine collection of old trucks. All items on display are well set out and accompanied with photos and information detailing the history of various pieces, in one corner is a reconstruction of a workshop building from the 1930’s, complete with a International truck that is being worked on by either some fellow sleeping beneath it, or at least a pair of legs protruding from between the wheels! The collection in this wing of the museum is predominately of the International Brand, with a few Caterpillar and Terex items in the mix. But for anyone with an interest in old iron, be it on wheels or tracks this collection as a must see if you are ever passing through Cambridge. And from what I saw sitting outside the building, it is clear that this is only the beginning of something very special indeed.

The ripper end of the 575,

Euclid TC12

Some of the IHC trucks in the collection including a 1949 KB8, a 1967 R190, and a 1967 Load Star F1890 equipped as fire appliances.

Cat 769B

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