Tyretracks of Eccleshall

Tyretracks of Eccleshall

Tyretracks is a name that most of you would have heard of, Chris Hopton and his merry team supply Alloy wheels to all of us truckers who are lucky enough to be able to afford a bit of shine to our trucks. It’s not just wheels though, these days you can buy allsorts of stainless steel accessories for various trucks. I was lucky enough many years ago to get a tax rebate and I thought I’d treat my little MAN to a set of 17.5inch Speedline alloys. They transformed the truck and also saved a bit of weight, why not do the same for your own truck???…….

V413 KPU - MAN 8163 (70)

Along with the various truck accessories that are available from the Tyretracks website, Chris Hopton has always been a truck fan and there has always been a pro-mo show truck lurking in the Tyretracks shed. The Torpedo at the top is one of Chris’s creations (it then went to Frank Hudson transport and is now owned by JG Riddell) as are the trucks below, all quite well known. Much to my delight the 141 is ex ACH, it was originally a 4×2 but was converted by/for Wharfedale Traction I think. It has since ended up in the sheds of Scotlee Transport in Scotland so perhaps we will see it again. The 143 has also lived a well documented life, starting out with well know Owner Driver Graham Cordiner, then being owned by CDC Truck Accessories and now Paul Binns. The 142 is Chris’s personal favourite and also the one that he wishes he had kept, it is currently residing down in Poole. I have to say I love the way Chris knows where all his ex trucks are now. All the trucks were developed to promote the business and the products that tyretracks sell as well as satisfying Mr Hopton’s love of trucks!

Tyretracks of Eccleshall

Tyretracks of Eccleshall

Tyretracks of Eccleshall

A current favourite with all you customisers are the light up headboards to go on the front of your trucks above your windscreen. These headboards have been about for a long time and one of the original manufacturers are a company from Denmark called SRI. I can vouch how good they are as I had one on my 141 when I restored it, although I had to buy it direct from Denmark which wasn’t easy. I had one of the Classic square boards and once it was sign written it was awesome! If the two other newer versions are any where near as good as the Classic…….Original is best and all that;

Lite Test (30)

“These headboards are manufactured in Denmark by SRI and are one of the very best headboards currently available. They are available in 3 styles in a range of sizes (From 200mm x 1050mm to 400mm x 1600mm) so you are almost certain to find the one that will suit your taste. LED lighting is also available if preferred.”

SRI Signs

“There is the AERO Sign® which is the traditional style deep Danish headboard, the AERO Slim® which is a modern take on the traditional Aero Sign, being slimmer and smoother in design and then there is the CLASSIC Sign® which is in the style of the fabulous 1970’s / 1980’s style headboard. You can also be assured that if you do happen to have a mishap then spare parts for these Headboards are also stocked. Prices start from £300.00 + vat and as most sizes are stocked they can be shipped for next day delivery, although collection from Tyretracks Head Office in Eccleshall, Stafford is also no problem.”

Tyretracks of Eccleshall

That’s almost it for now although we will all be seeing and hearing a little more from Tyretracks during 2015. Good news came a few weeks back that Chris and Tyretracks have signed up to sponsor next years Retro Truckshow at Gaydon in September. On top of that I think I have almost convinced Chris to come to the Gathering of the Griffin show in Ipswich next year, seeing as he is a big Scania fan. This leads nicely to more good news that due to pressure from his son, Chris has given in and bought another project. Above is a very tidy Scania 144 530 V8 with a proper sleeper cab, that will hopefully make it on the show circuit next year. There are plenty of plans for the aging V8 but I won’t spoil it, so you’ll have to wait and see! Tyretracks are a family firm and you’ll be well looked after if you need their services. As well as the website there is also a Tyretracks Facebook Page for those who are that way inclined.

#flattopsareback         #retroromanceoftheroad

Moody Blues


Scania Scania Scania, I know I know, that’s all I seem to put on here these days. Can you blame me when they are producing the best and really the only special editions of any worth by the main manufacturers? The Blue Stream is produced by Scania for the world wide market, it’s available in any chassis configuration with any cab as long as it has a V8 engine. The limited edition is a run of 200 individually numbered trucks.


Both the gorgeous Blue Stream and the UK’s own special edition, the Golden Griffin were released fairly close to one another but there really is no comparison in spec from what I hear and I will say hear. The Golden Griffin is a limited run of just 50 trucks available to the UK market to celebrate 50 years of Scania in the UK. For me the Blue Stream blows it’s Golden cousin out the water. It’s based on celebrating the original baby blue and pink stripes from the original Scania Streamline that was released back in 1991. With the launch of the new R-Streamline Scania got lots of feedback from drivers who fondly remembered the original Streamline, so it was decided they would release a new special edition to honour the original. Nice.





In the north of England on the east coast of Lincolnshire there is a man who goes by the name of Moody, Mick Moody. Many of you will know the name and some will know the man, I have no idea how myself and Mr Moody have become what ever we are but we text and these days talk quite a bit. Now I have been known to be a fair Scania fan but Mr Moody is probably one of the biggest Scania fans that I know (excluding Mr Rigby that is!) and when Mr Moody text me to say he had something special on its way I knew it was going to be a knock-your-socks-off-special, he didn’t disappoint. This particular truck is new and unregistered so it is in need of a good number and among the fields of dreamers I’m sure there are a good number of Scania fans with enough money to snap up edition #5. The truck is a left hand drive R580 Topline, 6×2 mid-lift. The Blue Streams spec will leave you feeling far from blue as each truck comes fitted with the following packages that are usually cost options;
· Lighting package
· Driver package
· Prestige package
· Comfort package
These packages include the following equipment, Air Suspension Including Front Axle, 2 Peddle Opticruise, Retarder, Coffee Maker, Fridge, Premium Radio Inc Sat Nav, Bluetooth, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure, Camara, Limited Edition No 5, Top Bar,Visor Bar,Rear Bar,Durabrites, Far To Many Extras To List,This Truck Is Just Pure Class. So you can be safe in the knowledge that it has virtually every option and upgrade that is possible from the factory. This has since been confirmed by Mr Moody telling me that he can’t find a blank switch cover any where on the dashboard, all the switches are in use with something or another. Have a look at the dash in the photos, you can see that every switch has a symbol and is there fore a use.



If your not a dreamer, or a tyre kicker or a waster or a Volvo lover then perhaps it might just be worth you giving Mr Moody a call and I’m sure he will set you straight. The truck will be expensive but remember what your getting, an awesome drivers favourite, collectible special edition that will hold its value. Please contact 00-Moody on either of the following;
Email: mick@moodyinternational.co.uk
Phone: +44 (0) 7802 225585
Website: www.moodyinternational.co.uk





J777 RDF & J888 RDF


You will or won’t know that Richard Payne, Dion Anderson and myself are busy trying to track and trace as many of the original 100 Scania Centurions as possible. Any info please email: centurion@truckblog.co.uk

In my book the two best Centurions were #89 and #90, both belonging to Ralph Davies International. Bother trucks were LHD 143 450hp 6×2 tag axle Topline Streamlines, perfect. You can’t get a better looking wagon! What I really want to do is find out as much about these two as possible when they were in use in the UK. Do you know any of Davies drivers who piloted either of these trucks? How far have either truck travelled across Europe and Asia? Any photos, contact info or information will be highly appreciated.

I know where J777 is now but no one knows where J888 ended up. An acquaintance of mine owned J888 after Davies but we’re not sure where it went after he had it. Again any help would be great. Email me or leave a comment below.

Photos are from Facebook groups but credit to the photographers!


The Forgotten Art of Map Reading


Way back when in 1997 mobile phones were just becoming part of my everyday life and it was a handy gadget to have especially as I had just bought my first 7.5 tonner at the age of 17 and I had started subbing for DFDS at Coggeshall, Essex. The one thing I would never have believed back then was that now a days there would be a gadget in in the cab that would have saved me from learning  what felt like every street across Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Hampshire, Surrey, West Sussex, East Sussex, Kent and last but definitely not least, Greater London. In my first week I was given a day in London with something like 15 drops across the Greater London area, nice. Oh for those who aren’t sure, Greater London is probably easier described as everywhere inside the M25 circle. So age 17, 1st week of owning and driving my first Tonka toy and 15 drops across one of the worlds busiest cities, where do I start???! One of the other DFDS subbies said “Don’t worry son, just get yourself a hard back copy of the Master Atlas of Greater London and you’ll be fine.” – I couldn’t have had any better advice than that. So on the way down the A12 I stopped at a garage and found a copy of the London bible.


So just take this in for a minute, its 1997, I had X amount of drops (& collections) across the capital, a list of addresses, not many with postcodes and TWAT SAT NAV was no where to be seen. How did we ever cope I hear you ask. Pull up a sand bag and I’ll tell you a story. Once upon a time you could stop at a garage and buy these little paper paged books called road maps. You could buy them for counties or towns depending on what you required and basically they had pages full of the layout of your selected area. At the back was an index with a full list of roads and estates and these were listed with a page number and grid reference so you could find the road on the page in the map, amazing huh?? Using one of these town maps along side a bigger road Atlas you could pretty well find any where you wanted to go, all on your own without 22 satellite’s guiding you down an unsuitable one way street! Or even better than using the road map you’ve just bought you could use what we used to call common sense, most people had a bit of common sense as it was gained from parents and the school of hard knocks and tough luck. For example your honour; Station Road, Anytown. First up have a look on your map (if you have one of that area/town) and look for station road in the index or just for the station. If there is no visible station have a look to find the closest road to a railway line, simple. Again using a bit of common sense and a good map you can even work out where an old railway might have been. If you haven’t got a map you could always head towards the town and see if you could pick up the sign posts for the station. Or last but not least you could ask the local and they’d send you right round the town and back to where started and in the mean time with a bit of luck you’d stumble across Station road.

Now in London the streets are a plenty and the traffic lights and junctions are even more. So having to keep an eye on your hard back atlas was very easy or convenient so I found it best to tear the A4 page out. See the photo above. Still an A4 page isn’t so easy to hold, so when you are close enough you can fold the page to A5 size. Then finally when I was really close to where I needed to be I would fold again so its small enough to hold in finger and thumb. Please see my thumb below. I have to say that in day to day driving it was very much find your own way to your destination, no typing in a postcode and follow the arrows on your dash-mounted screen. All drivers back in these prehistoric times had to have a sound knowledge of the UK’s road network and most industrial towns and somehow we managed. In a previous life as a transport manager I watched a driver heading from Ipswich to Leamington Spa take the A14, M6, M42, M40 to his destination. When I quizzed him to why he went this long way round, I got the response “That’s what sat nav said”. Now call me an old stick in the mud but I asked if he had looked at his road atlas to check where he was going and I got a short silence and then the response “I haven’t got one”. Not impressed I confiscated the drivers twat sat nav for the following week. Now I hope he has a slight knowledge of the road network. Anyway I digress.


The beauty of a paper map over a twat sat nav is that I find I can always see more than I need to, which can only ever help you know where you are and what your surroundings are. For example heading into London the other Saturday as a passenger I decided we would have a Map-Off. This was fine and a good contest and we both arrived at the right place with no major dramas, but along the way I could check each street I passed and I could see how far ahead the next turning was, without having to wait for the 200 metre warning or what ever it is. Also looking at the map you can get some idea of what the road you are turning into is like or which way it goes, something which twat sat nav can’t do very well. The one downside I found to the paper map is that it doesn’t light up when you enter a tunnel!!

I challenge any driver who isn’t a map reader to take up the challenge and try and get yourself across the country with no twat sat nav. At the end of the day you might just find that you have some sort of new found satisfaction in your day to day job. Twat Sat navs do have their uses and I for one do like that fact they can tell you how far you are from your destination and I can never argue against the fact that some one shouting directions at you is far safer than reading a map while driving along or each time you stop. My biggest fear is that the beauty of a good map is lost on all new drivers. Where’s the sense of direction that you all had to find the nearest sweet shop when you were a kid? Does anyone else agree that all drivers should have an understanding of where about’s they are in the country and what other roads are available to the one your on with no help from the NASA convention on your dashboard?? In the worst case we know that at 12 o’clock the sun is in the west and we want to be just to the right of that, so we best take that tangent………………..


Mega MAN


I found this article on a Dutch website called ponpersportaal.nl but there is no English version so I have translated it. Enjoy the translation and enjoy the article;

Unique MAN TGL volume combination for 120 m3 Sagar transport can now load pallets Leusden three layers, 29 april 2014-Sagar transport in the Drenthe recently put a unique combination Rolled in. It is a MAN TGL 12,250 Euro 6 rigid with reduced base and a Krone-trailer. The combination offers up to 120 m3 loading volume. The internal load height is up to a whopping 3.15 metres – enough for three layers pallets. The combination is mainly used for the transport of packaging material, such as empty drums of steel and plastic.


“There are few if any other distribution trucks – because that is the MAN TGL – that so many loading volume offer”, said Herman Weringa, Director of Sagar transport. “This particular combination is the result of the intensive cooperation between MAN-dealer Sommerauer Trucks in Westerbroek, Compaan bodywork in Assen and Krone Trailers in Germany. For our environmental performance, we wanted a loading space in which we could carry in three layers and pallets that is so successful. CO2 emissions per pound of cargo that goes down. That suit corporate social responsibility (CSR) that we have made in our business operations with a view to the ISO 14001 certification. “
17.5-inch wheels the chassis of the MAN TGL 12,250 and of the Krone trailer is very low thanks to the Assembly of 17.5-inch wheels. That makes a higher building possible. The combination is equipped with a hydraulically adjustable roof. Weringa: “the driver can choose from three heights. By default, the height in the cargo compartment 3.05 metres, but the roof is in two steps to 3.10 and up to 3.15 meters. That offers just what more latitude. Moreover, the roof to bring up another 40 inches to easy to load without damaging the roof. “
Twelfth MAN the MAN TGL-combination goes to customers in the Benelux countries and in Germany. He also performed with a sleeper cab. It is the latest addition to the fleet of Sagar transport, which consists of 45 vehicles. Three years ago became the first MAN deployed. The TGL-combination is the twelfth MAN in the fleet. Weringa: “the man’s TGX.
The trucks gave birth to good, in terms of both consumption and reliability. Also very important is the customized service, which has shown once again at the dealer Sommerauer delivery of the new MAN TGL.


Big Rig Videos – New Vids!

For those of us on the more regulated side of the pond, we can only dream of Big Pete’s, K’Whoppers, Bulldog Macks (with or without a can on the back!) and the like, we have to put up with our length regulated, cab-over trucks (for most of us). If any of you are anything like me then I long to go back to the States now I’ve got other the need to go to Disneyland, I’d rather go to Florida to meet up with man behind the camera and CB interviews of Big Rig Videos, Christopher. I love just watching trucks rolling along the motorway as it is, but Big Rig Videos brings us all the trucks and big rig from the US, well all those that and trucking up and down Florida on their way to and from where ever. For example the big orange Peterbilt from Fox Trucking above is on a fairly decent length trip from Denver, Colorado down to Miami, Florida. That’s just over 2,000 miles and something like 8 states, for comparison, it’s virtually the same distance as Manchester, England to Istanbul, Turkey.

As its Sunday, then why not get the roast dinner out the way, then put your feet up and spend an hour or so enjoying some of the videos on the Big Rig Videos YouTube Channel. Well worth the time I can tell you. The Gold Digga Pete is another quality looking truck that has been loved and cared for by its owner and lavished with all kinds of custom parts and paint work. The HD quality of the videos makes them all the more enjoyable as does the odd burble of American muscle, listen to the Caterpillar engine purring away in the first 30 seconds of the video above, just awesome! Please make sure you check Big Rig Videos out at some point;

Big Rig Videos Website – Click HERE
Big Rig Videos YouTube – Click HERE
Big Rig Videos Facebook – Click HERE

Last but not least, I will put up a video I have put on the blog before, but for me it is one of the best looking Amercian rigs I have seen. Plain and simple and in a lovely deep purple colour, the only way the video could have been slightly better, would have been catching the rig loaded, but you can’t have everything. Keep on trucking – 10-4 over and out!!

Retro Trailer Rescue


A fridge trailer in a field, (put your M&S advert voice on!) but it’s not just any fridge trailer in a field, it’s a 1982, Gray & Adams, tandem spread axle fridge trailer in a field! On top of that if the farmers memory serves him correctly he says he acquired the trailer (for fresh poultry storage) in 1990, which means that it served Christian Salveson for just 8 years before being parked up, which would explain it’s surprisingly good condition. Anyway, this trailer has been parked on the road between Hadleigh and Sudbury in Suffolk for as long as I can remember. So me being me, curiosity won and I went to find it a year or so ago. I drove in the farm yard and right through it and found the trailer. I had a call around to try and find someone with no luck, so I took a couple of photos and left. I do like to know where these trailers are lurking incase anyone wants one. At Truckstar Festival this year a certain young man with a known collection of classic trucks, mentioned during a beery conversation that he had started hunting for a 2nd fridge trailer to turn into another caravan trailer. Luckily I hadn’t had too many so I piped up and showed a photo of said trailer. A positive response. So I volunteered to go and talk to the farmer.

Again a positive response. It turns out that it was the perfect time to enquire as the decision had already been made to rid the farm of the trailer. I took a few newer photos of the trailer and it’s general condition and found the manufacturers plate and photoed that too. I spoke money with the farmer and that was that. I forwarded all info onto the interested party, he said yes to me straight away, so I put him in touch with the farmer and a deal was done.

Today was collection day. I managed to get over to see the highly skilled farmer pushing the fridge up the ramps with a chain and a dolly, straight as a die and up she went. Luckily the fridge had a folding rear bumper which helped with clearance both going up the ramps and also to clear the neck of the stepframe. Once on board it was all strapped and chained down and to beat the school traffic through the little Suffolk village high street, a quick exit was made. I ran ahead in my car and just asked a few locals to stay still which the whole outfit gently weaved through the high street. That was that and off to its new owners home.

The plan is to restore the trailer to its former glory and keep the famous blue and white livery then convert the inside into living accommodation.
As you can see this is a great find and a great trailer that has gone to a man who wants to preserve it just as it started life. If you know of any old trailers that need rescuing please please let me know. In my book trailers are in as much need to be saved as the trucks that pull them. Most trailers have long rusted away or been chopped down so any that are still in one piece should be saved. Now I’m not suggesting that every trailer can be bought and restored but at least if we know about them then perhaps we can help a few which will make the likes of The Retro Truck Show at Gaydon all the more enjoyable for us. Hopefully by Truckfest Peterborough next year this little restoration project will be complete. Fingers crossed.

Finally if anyone knows where their is a Petter fridge unit, please get in touch.