PPG Imaging Awards

 
The Burling brand

The Burling brand

PPG Imaging Awards

 May 2020    All photos (including poster) Rod Simmonds

Longtime Wairarapa transport operator Fred Burling reckons it was quite simple – the process of coming up with Burling Transport’s distinctive red, white and yellow livery.

It started out as just red and white – back when he started the company more than 50 years ago: “Oh, they were just the colours I wanted to use – so that was it.” 

He’d bought the carrying side of the “Baileys topdressing outfit” in Masterton – taking over “about three” petrol-engined Commers. 

“They were grey, some of them.” He had them repainted, with white cab roofs, white guards and front bumpers – and red in between.

When he bought out another Wairarapa operator, Tony Pye, he repainted those trucks too. After all, they were pink! 

Fred isn’t big on talking about his Masterton business, but does allow that much, much later – in the mid-1990s – he decided to brighten-up the original red and white livery a bit….


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Longtime Wairarapa transport operator Fred Burling reckons it was quite simple – the process of coming up with Burling Transport’s distinctive red, white and yellow livery.
It started out as just red and white – back when he started the company more than 50 years ago: “Oh, they were just the colours I wanted to use – so that was it.” 
He’d bought the carrying side of the “Baileys topdressing outfit” in Masterton – taking over “about three” petrol-engined Commers. 
“They were grey, some of them.” He had them repainted, with white cab roofs, white guards and front bumpers – and red in between.
When he bought out another Wairarapa operator, Tony Pye, he repainted those trucks too. After all, they were pink!  
Fred isn’t big on talking about his Masterton business, but does allow that much, much later – in the mid-1990s – he decided to brighten-up the original red and white livery a bit….
By adding a lemon stripe through the middle of the body: “It’s just a better colour scheme. It looks good.”
Over the years that Burling branding has graced a range of makes – from the original Commers, to Internationals, many Kenworths, a Foden or two, a bunch of Mitsubishis about 20 years ago, then more Kenworths, a Western Star, a handful of Freightliner Argosys bought new about five years back….and more Kenworths since then.
The livery has been seen on flatdecks, curtainsiders, livestock units, tippers and – for 15 years or more, until 18 months to two years ago – loggers.
The curtainsiders on the fleet, including four Freightliner Argosys, have made a big visual statement in the form of their lemon curtains and bold “Burling, Masterton” signwriting, with elaborate scrollwork as a finishing touch.  
The truck that earns Burling Transport the finalist honours in the PPG Transport Imaging Awards this month is a 2014 Kenworth K108 curtainsider truck and trailer unit that Fred’s son Jonny drives – and which he treated to a number of embellishments as the flagship of the fleet.
The Sting Red (a Holden colour) on the cabover 8x4 extends to the roof of the high-rise sleeper cab – and back onto the curtains, which are usually all Chrome Lemon. 
In addition to the paint job, carried out by Supreme Automotive Refinishers in Masterton, is new striping – with lighter-coloured (a pale apricot shade), wider stripes bordered by fine lemon striping. It also has intricate scrollwork on the larger stripes – designed and applied by Truck Signs in Mount Maunganui.
A new K200 Kenworth dropsider that’s just gone on the road and a secondhand T904 added two years ago were both given a more traditional treatment of the red, white and yellow livery (without the revised striping and returning to the white roofs). The paint on the K200 was done by Fleet Image in Te Awamutu, while Supreme painted the 2007 T904. The Sign Factory in Masterton did the signwriting and striping.
Fred says the fleet currently runs to “about 11” trucks. As he told New Zealand Truck & Driver a few years ago, he puts big store in having good-looking trucks: “I’d give that 99 out of 100. That’s how important. If you look shit, you are shit.”
Son Jonny puts it this way: “Oh yeah, for sure, appearance is very important. It’s like being best-dressed, you know. You DO the part – but you’ve got to LOOK the part as well eh.”  

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