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Year: 2007


Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2007.

John Franklin started driving trucks in the early 1960s. He began on Bedford tippers for Millers Lime and Timber and delivered products to and from the many building sites around Adelaide.

Around 1965 he started work with OPS Transport in Adelaide carting general to and from Sydney. His first semi-trailer was a Ford V8 Blitz progressing to Commers, Leylands and Fodens. In 1967 he started running up to the north-west with OPS delivering general and mining machinery to Port Hedland and Tom Price when everyone would put their trucks on the Truckies Train between Port Augusta and Kalgoorlie.

Back in those days every road up north was dirt and John earned the nickname Wheels or Johnny OPS. Around 1970 he worked for Sheppard Wine Tankers as a company driver in 1418 cab-over Benz' and cab-over Kenworths. He then drove as a subbie with Camerons in a cab-over MAN 14304 V8 with a 15 overdrive in the column. He later bought a cab-over 1418 through the company and did the bulk chlorine run from Adelaide to the south-east and Melbourne. In 1979 he purchased a LNT 9000 Louisville to go back on the wine carting.

In 1984 John decided to work locally as a driver and a mechanic for Wilhelms until the company folded. In 1993 John joined Bulls Transport as a mechanic and transferred to Alice Springs where he stayed until the company ceased to operate. He now works at ABC Transport as a driver and mechanic. John has been married to Beverly Dawn Franklin since 1962. They had a son, Shane, in 1965 who has followed him into the industry and currently lives and works in Darwin, and a daughter, Kelly, in 1975. They have given him four grandchildren whom he adores.

John started driving in the days of mateship when all drivers would help each other. There were no unrealistic timetables and all trips were an adventure. To this day his favourite truck of all time is his Foden. Why? It never let him down; it would pull 100 ton up a mountain and it was one of the first to have an integrated sleeper cab.

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