Story Behind 'Diesel 86' 

Diesel 86 is my son Joshua's favourite song on the album. It was written about the old girl, the old 1986 Toyota Diesel Hilux that I drove till her body couldn’t drive no more.
 
She was an amazing old ute. I got word of her through my cousin who knew I was looking for something more reliable after the van I had was bustin my balls with breakdowns.
 
My cousin’s Blue Mountains neighbour was the owner so I asked her how much she wanted for it? She said, ‘You can have it, I was going to take it to the wreckers…’
The lady was adamant she was off loading her to me…So I asked… ‘Do you drink wine?’ She said yes. So that was it, I got rusty for a case of red wine.
 
Riding back to the city in the rusty old girl I could feel we were going to have a good run together. Thank you cousin Katherine for the hot tip!
 

Joshua Singing Diesel 86

 
So I took her to a mechanic to get her looked over and the mechanic said she had a cracked head gasket and that it was not worth working on… I smelt a rat. Walking out of the shop he said, 'I can take it off your hands for a couple of hundred if that helps'. I politely declined to get a second opinion. Good thing I did because the word was this motor was one of those old broke- in diesel’s that wouldn’t die.
 
And yes that was the case. She had done over a million kms in the better part of 30 years and she took us on some amazing adventures.
Together we went through floods, fires and a particular snow trip that nearly drove us off the mountain.
 
Stevie de Wilde, Alex King and myself were bound for Smiggins Hotel for a show with Ash Grunwald in the middle of a cracking snow season for Mt Perisher.
On route we hit a ‘snow storm’ and pulled over to put the chains on the old girl. It was a black night and the snow was coming in heavy.  I had to move quick to get the chains on before my gloveless hands would freeze. Bingo! They’re on, let’s keep moving or we’ll be late for sound check.  
 
But the chains weren’t on properly… And before too long we hear this snap and bang which suddenly put the old ute in a spin on the black ice and snow covered road. We’d spun 180 and were still spinning when we were thinking this could be the end… But she did stop not far from the edge of the moutain and we looked at each other pale faced with brown undies.  We were ok.
 
The chain had come off and was now wrapped around the axle.  Through our efforts we couldn’t release its grip from the axle.. Fortunately down the road there were lights on in a shed, it was the workshop the snowfields snow mobiles. I asked to borrow a portable angle grinder and got back to the ute to cut the chain out. Success… We had 30 minutes before show time.. There was still hope. We made it but only just enough time to set up and grab a shot of Tequila to settle us.  What shall we open was the question? We ripped into a version of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Testify in front of a packed house.
 
Rusty, aka Diesel 86 was put to rest in 2014. The travels shared with the old truck will always be fond.

RIP Rusty!
 

Leave a comment

    Add comment