1950s pickup the latest truck to be restored and raffled for medical research

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A 1954 Chevrolet pickup truck, first spotted on a farm in the US and brought to Australia, is the latest vehicle to be restored and raffled to raise funds for Motor Neurone Disease research.

The truck, named Daphne, is the sixth to be raffled for MND and Me Foundation by Australia’s largest transport and logistics specialist insurer, NTI. NTI has raised more than $1.5 million over five years for MND research, and CEO Tony Clark said he was thrilled to announce the organisation’s next vehicle.

“Daphne is a ‘hot lava orange’ pickup truck, built with a 1954 Chevrolet Cab Over Engine body on a 1969 Chevrolet C-20 Pickup chassis. While the truck might be mid-century, she’s got modern features, including a 460hp LT1 Chevrolet Performance engine,” Mr Clark said.

“Daphne was found on a farm in the USA and purchased by a young Australian working there. Its original owner was supportive of the re-sell once she’d heard about how it would be restored and raffled for the MND cause.

“Our commitment to raising funds for MND research comes after NTI’s former CEO Wayne Patterson lost his battle with the disease in 2018. We established the official NTI MND Research Grant to help fund research into treatment and to ultimately find a cure.”

NTI’s 2023 truck restoration has been made possible by generous donations, and General Manager Marketing for GM Aust and NZ Chris Payne said they were excited to be teaming up with NTI and Matt Stone Racing on a vehicle for a fantastic cause.

“For many years Chevrolet Performance LS crate engines have been the logical choice for builders of special project vehicles like this one. This project truck is a terrific example of how the latest generation LT engines can now be used to provide big horsepower and incredible reliability, and really make it a special prize to help bring attention to MND research,” he said.

Matt Stone of Matt Stone Racing said it was an added bonus that such a fun project was for a good cause.

“Our biggest contributing factor has been the time and the effort that’s gone into getting the work done and getting the truck built, juggling that with our busy racing schedule,” he said.

“It’s a great project to be involved in, with a lot of work in a short amount of time, but thankfully we come from a motorsport background so that’s something we’re used to. Partnering with the NTI crew who are very passionate about both the cause and the project meant that it was something exciting to be involved in.”

The truck will be displayed at the National Diesel Dirt & Turf Expo (Sydney, 21-23 April),  MotorEx (Melbourne, 6-7 May), the 2023 Brisbane Truck Show (18-21 May) and Cooly Rocks On Festival (Gold Coast, 7-11 June), with the raffle being drawn at the NTI Supercars Round in Townsville in July. Tickets and terms and conditions can be found here.