Here she is in all her splendour. She is a cracker and back in her hay day she certainly turned a few heads and earned a few ££. Now why do I call her a her? Her name being Gloria – named by possibly the most famous Owner Driver from Buxton, Lord Paul Rylance. I’ve known Paul for many a long year now and this week we’ve had a real good catch up on where the hecketty heck the last 10 years have gone. Running through Paul’s side of the story we relived the names of many of his past conquests, sorry I mean trucks. From Tania the Scania, to Gloria the Volvo above through to his 10 year anniversary Scania Nikola (due to the trucks registration) and onto Paul’s current squeeze, Charlotte the red Volvo FH below.
Having met up with Lord Rylance while driving what can only be described as an anonymous Mercedes-Benz truck, I felt I needed to give my truck a name. As soon as this mentioned at home the following weekend Mrs Blog said “Claudia”, named after the German supermodel of course. We’ll just look at her!
Now all this naming and shaming got me thinking, why do we tend to give trucks female names?? I need your input here dear readers as I don’t really have an answer. In fear of upsetting the entire fairer sex, why give something, big, strong, powerful, tough, dirty and produced to do endless hard days graft up and down the roads, highways, and autostradas of the world a female name? As far as machines go I’d say a trucks life is very masculine or is that unfair? Cars I can understand, cars are sleek, fast, pretty and in my book I think they could be described as female. But trucks? Or am I missing the point, is it far more romantic than that? Traditionally truck driving has been a very, very male dominated industry. Even now here in the UK, female drivers aren’t very common, far more so than 15-20 years ago but still a male dominated environment. Could it be that male drivers used to name their trucks after their wives, lovers (both?) or give trucks female names as a surrogate partner if you will?! All thoughts and opinions welcome. For now how about a final female, the one and only Lady Louise.
Often we get told that not to meet your hero’s as they can turn out not to be the people you hope they are. Recently I got to meet a man who I consider to be one of my trucking hero’s if you like. As I regularly do on the blog I harp back to the golden days of transport which I’m sure most of you will agree was the 20 years spanning the 1970’s through to the 1990’s, but unfortunately for me and many of you this was when I was growing up and not old enough to get behind the wheel (legally!). Reading magazines and spotting when on family journeys across the UK was all I had to survive on. When I think back there were really to many fleets to name that I would look out for but at the top of my list were ACH and the black trucks of Ralph Davies. The men behind both of these iconic fleets are what I consider to be my trucking hero’s, luckily for me I recently met up with one David Fowler. Mr Davies is still on the list!
I run the ACH page on Facebook as back in the 1970’s actually before I was born, my own father worked at ACH for a few years.I blame the County Cream trucks in part for what has become some what of an obsession over the last 37 years, but i have to say a very enjoyable one. I look back and talk about the golden years of UK international transport as I firmly feel that those days are gone and sadly won’t be back. What better place to discuss and relish in what was, than on the www with you lot. Luckily the ACH page on Facebook has grown and grown and I am very happy to say that is followed very much by plenty of fans, ex drivers, employees and also Mr Fowler. Due to the wonders of technology it meant we could make contact and have a few email conversations and finally a meeting. David said he had a huge photo collection which of course I wanted to see, so far i have been allowed to borrow the first box of photos for scanning which I can tell you is awesome! At some point I hope to share more with you but that is dependant on David and of course how things pan out as i have a few ideas.
I think it is vital that photos and documents from the golden days are now scanned and kept in digital form. So often at the moment I hear of people throwing away photo collections and the like and it saddens me to think about it. Photos are an integral part of the UK transport history that we younger ones should be taking on from those who are older and even passed on to the big truck stop in the sky. At my place of work, a whole cupboard of photos from the 80’s through to the 2000’s were skipped as they needed the space for filing and all that remains is one 3 album photo box. I’m gutted to say that this was long before I joined the company, so there was never a chance of me giving the collection a safe home. This makes me wonder what is happening to all the other collections there must be. I have heard of a few up for sale, a few which are constantly being sold off on eBay and I also hear of many, many that get binned. These photos are priceless and tell the stories that the sadly ageing driver pool from the golden years won’t be able to tell and pass on for much longer. If you know of any trucking elders, I urge you to talk to them and ask if they have a collection anywhere that they want to pass on to you. If you don’t ask you don’t get and all that old jazz. I asked Mr Fowler if he would lend his photos to me so I can scan them into the computer, luckily for me he agreed, so for now at least part of the history of the well-know County Cream, red and black trucks that ran far and wide across the UK, Europe and beyond (yes….beyond!) has been saved for hopefully all to enjoy eventually.
The photo at the top is Copyright to Mr Fowler and just sums ACH up for me. The photo above was in a small batch my Dad had from his days at ACH in the early 70’s although I have found similar in David’s box. Now the second part of my transport historian quest is the paperwork and items that were used on a day-to-day basis. I have never seen a telex machine in person and never seen a telex note. I found a couple in David’s box of treats, so they too have been scanned as momento of a forgotten era! Along with the telex I found a copy of a GV60 application. For those of you that know what a GV60 is, you probably have seen a hundred of them but for me it was a first. The GV60 was/is the form you had to submit to the Department of Transport to enable your trailer to be given authorisation that you could carry goods under Customs Seal. A couple of photo’s of the brand new trailer along with a description of the build, security measure and of course registered keepers details had to be completed. If the DoT was happy then the trailer could then be used as it was intended. These days I wonder how many trailers are GV60 approved? Probably not many due to the low numbers of you still doing international haulage.
There will be plenty more to come from ACH I hope, some of the photos are just awesome but there is plenty of scanning to be done first. Please, everyone who is a trucking romantic like me and I know some of you are otherwise you wouldn’t have got this far through the blog, talk to the old drivers of these heady days, ask them the questions and ask about the evidence. Lots of drivers were too busy driving all day to take photos but those that did have captured a time and a place I can only day-dream about. Yes it was hard work, but who minds that if you’re enjoying it, what I would do to go back to a brand new F series Volvo and have to tip and load Rome and back with nothing but running money, paper tachographs and strong flask of coffee! Oh the romance of the road…….
Hello Gang, sorry I’ve been away. Been getting over Christmas and through nearly dry January. A busy year this year I think truckers, lots to do, shows to get to, books to write etc etc and of course you lot to try and keep hooked. This year should see the birth of a new, larger TBHQ and Mrs Blog has already told me she will decorate it using all my truck gumpf as it will look far cooler if she does it!
A good old boy by the name of Mr Darren Watts text me and said he’d found a couple of old toy trucks in a clear out and asked if I wanted them?? Is a bear catholic? Does the pope….. in the woods?? So the deal was done and I’ve re-homed the two National Band 3 Globetrotters. If much like the kind hearted Mr Watts, you have any old truck stuff that you don’t want to bin but don’t have space for then I can give it a loving home. Things like stickers, badges, models or anything to be honest, can be re-homed. I even got given a proper looking CMR with Russian stamps and numbers and the like, looks awesome on the wall.
If you willing to donate to the good cause then contact me some how and we’ll get something sorted. Much love bloggers.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if I have my time again Lord please let me be Dutch. Not just the home of the best curry sauce in Europe, not just home to the tallest men in Europe, not just home to Europe’s only native wooden shoe and not just home to the most beautiful blonde people in Europe (Sorry Sweden!), but home to what I consider to be the best looking trucks in Europe and possibly the world. The vast majority of Dutch trucks are painted and by this I don’t mean over the top or hideous colours. Very few trucks are sold in the manufactures standard white and plastic, but on the opposite side of the scale when have you ever seen a fleet of over top painted trucks?? Never. They all seem to be painted to just the right level, subtle, stylish, simple and generally stunning! Just look at the ever delightful Chickliner fleet…..
Living near to Harwich I see plenty of Dutch trucks, but even with all the gorgeous flower trucks that come in and out of the port with all of our Friday gifts for our partners(!), the fleet of Chickliner trucks stands out. White trucks yes, but full white paint with simple lines and painted wheels. As far from a plain white truck as a painted white truck can be! Match these gorgeous paint jobs to another Dutch invention, the full custom interior. The Netherlands is home to 3 or 4 custom cab interior companies but one of the original and best known is the one and only Special Interiour. The Hazelanger Scania is another of Special Interiours creations and sumptuous is probably the best English word to describe it, not sure on the Dutch translation though. I’ve not seen another custom Interiour company who make their work look so, hmm, look so right. The work carried out looks like a manufacturer finish rather than aftermarket if that makes sense.
Yes I like Italian trucks and yes I like Spanish trucks, Danish trucks can be pretty close but for me Dutch are top of the league. Long live the Hoek Harwich ferry and long live the Truckstar Festival!!