Truckstar Festival 2022 – #1

Where do I start?! For me the best trip to Truckstar Festival in 8 visits. The hospitality shown by proper truck people to others who perhaps can’t offer the same hospitality through no fault of their own is genuinely humbling. The Dutch are in a league of their own, nothing is a problem, everything is about friends and all are included.

Thank you to everyone we saw, met and shared a beer with. We feel like honoury Dutchman! Good people, good food, good beer, good trucks and crazy music!! Heel erg bedankt, bedank ook alle andere Nederlandse vrienden op de weg and of course a big thank you to our English friends too🍻🍻

Kurt, Lianne’s Richard, Peter with the nose, Mrs Olga Brouwer and all the rest. Also my BM James and of course the wife for letting me go !

Me? Doing some Mechanics??

It’s taken me longer than expected but that’s due to any reason you can think of, starting with actually buying said #gr814 during lockdown. After a little bit of a dance around getting parts, today was the day to get my hands dirty and actually do some mechanics myself. I am fairly practical and I have worked around trucks since I was a boy, but to date the biggest job I have done was replace a water pump on my old 141, although It had already been taken apart for me. Today everything was down to me to complete, under the guidance of one of the best in the business, Spencer Harwin. The list of jobs was pretty straight forward for any of you who regular have oily hands but for a pen pushing, blotter jotter like me, there was a lot to do. A new starter motor to be swapped, oil change, oil filter change, 2 of the 3 fuel filters to be changed, I was going to change the air filter too but after taking the old one out, it was like new, so it can stay as is. Five hours later and all was done.

The starter motor proved tricky, not a great start to the day. It’s was easy enough to get it lose and ready to remove, top tip was to remove the little heat shield on the manifold to give a little space. The difficulty comes in trying to physically remove it due to space constraints. An extra pair of hands helped at this stage (Thanks Roy) especially an experienced pair. One out and then one back in, putting the new one in was easier than getting the old out. I did manage to get a wire in the wrong place but easily changed and that was that. Next was the oil change. Again straight forward once Spencer removed the sump plug, the satisfying stream of oil drained out. The oil filter was removed with the removal of a 13mm nut.

The fuel filters were interesting as I had two new filters to go on, but on inspection we found found three filters in total. Two pre-filters and the main fuel filter. The first pre-filter was full on dirt from the fuel tank, so that was replaced entirely. The second pre-filter was as clean as a whistle, so as we didn’t have a second new one we left that as was. Finally the main fuel filter was removed and I also cleaned some dirt from the housing as there was a small build up of sludge in there.

All jobs done under the eagle eye of Spencer. Apparently I did well for a first timer, good to hear. In fact as I had been told, the 6 cylinder engine is relatively simple and now I know my way round it, it seems to have given me some piece of mind. We finished off by tightening the belts to get rid of the squealing, again a simple job when you know how. The final, final job was to remove the birds nest from the top of the washer bottle. All jobs done, a quick blast down the road and a good mornings work was complete. Next up will be a little bit of light cosmetic work, like the light board to go on the roof, which will involve relocating the CB aerial.

As Old As The Greek Gods

It must be holiday season?! A week or two back a good customer of mine, had some time away in southern Greece, Kalamata to be exact. Kalamata is the kind of place that still seems a little bit more relaxed about modern life and a delightful place to go for some downtime and old school truck spotting. I am so very pleased that’s it’s not just me that spends holiday time looking for trucks native to where ever said holiday destination is.

What else do all of our better other halves enjoy more than spending time with us?? Yep you guessed it, truck spotting or if you’re in Greece, Malta or anywhere else not plagued by Euro emissions legislation, old school truck spotting. It would seem this particular busman’s holiday maker came across a parking area that can only be described as gold dust to us few Merc fans. The beauty of Greece is the serious lack of rust and rot on these ageing machines. Up here in Northern Europe the humidity and moisture takes hold of anything that is 20+ years old and you have to say goodbye to your old favourites. Judging by the condition of this group of transport OAP’s (old age pensioners / senior citizens), they have clearly been worked hard during their lives in the sun but there is not a lot of rust or ruin. Battle scars are of course acceptable and par for the course.

This little lot all seem to have similar bodywork, dropside types and or tippers. Even the mighty F16 looks like it may be pulling a tipper of some sort. Perhaps someone can tell us what Kalamata is known for? Olives? Watermelons? Other Fruit? Must be something like that, as is the way with Greece, supplying the rest of Europe with these delightful summer commodities for us to enjoy.

If you are off on your holidays or should a I say, treating the other half to some top spotting, these are the kind of holiday photos we do want you sharing. Better still if your away slightly off the beaten track, then if you do come across anything you want to share then please email me with a few pics and some details of where you are and what you’ve found, just incase we can’t work it out. Thanks to Peter for this episode of Holiday Haulage.

My email address is: ben@truckblog.co.uk

Fun in The Spanish Sun

What do you do with yourself when you’ve run one of the UK’s most well known international family firms? What do you do when you really are a proper truck spotter? What do you do to satisfy your romance with the open road?……. Got it! Early retirement, but a pad in southern Spain and insist on driving out. Yes the life we’d all like to live but most of us aren’t quite there yet!

The thought of driving out to my holiday home in Spain would be a pleasure especially when it would mean a drive from north to south and being free enough to stop off as and when you want too. This particular trip is the regular route of a certain GW who has well and truly earned his little Oasis in the Spanish sun. None of this Dover Calais lark this time round, the much preferred and slightly more enjoyable boat from Portsmouth to Bilbao with Brittany Ferries is a great way to start. The first bit of truck spotting starts as you pull in the dock at Portsmouth and you’re greeted by a very clean and tidy Jan De Rijk, with a very well sheeted load. A nice race transporter being pulled by the ever posthumously popular Renault Magnum. A truck that seems to be gaining popularity now that we don’t see many about. Onto the boat and a beautiful sunset to finish the day off.

Arrival in Bilbao sees a dock filled with LKW Walter trailers and a quick fill up sees a tidy 6×4 Globetrotter with a double stack of 4 axle trailers. Right up GW’s straße! The route from the UK and Bilbao is loosely; Portsmouth, Bilbao, Burgos, Madrid, Albacete, Murcia and finally onto Mi Casa. Day 2 ended south east of Madrid. Plenty of abnormal loads on the move, with a lot of LASO transport moving various wind turbine parts.

Along the way nearing the end of the journey, there was a quick stop made at a Salón del camión Español at Torre-Pacheco near Cartagena. A gathering like this is a gem of a find and looks like a decent show. From the pictures I think it is fairly obvious that the Spanish have quite a thing for Volvo’s and with more than a couple of decent examples on show, a classic Volvo in concours condition is not uncommon.

The romance of the open road. If you’ve had a lifetime (how ever long that’s been so far!) in transport, no matter what anyone says, it never seems to leave us. GW you are more than welcome to update us on the homeward bound leg whenever that may be.

H.E.T. Ltd

Always a pleasure to here from you the readers, yes the blog still has a few. I do wish I had more time to write and could get back to regular blogging. Lots of stories to tell and lots of photos but not always the time to get it written down and blogged with you lot. So when I get emails from readers it’s always a pleasure to get them up for all to enjoy. After many years the most enjoyable and most read blogs are those which have a few photos in. To be sent a load of photos from a smaller firm is always good as it gives them some exposure but also gives us something new to look at. Thanks to Natalie Hope from H.E.T. who sent these photos over of two very smart trucks on their way to Hellas.

“We are a small family run transport company based at LHR. These photos are a trip from LHR to Athens,Greece. The photos were taken along the route, mainly during a tacho break in Italy.”

Classic & Vintage Commercial Show

So it’s been a few years since I’ve last been to a truck show. A free Sunday just landed right for a chance to go to the classic and vintage commercial show me and the wife put the dog in the car and headed south. I’ve been to and competed in quite a few truck shows over the years in the UK and Europe and even won trophies, but I have to say this is one of my favourite shows in England.

Being in my mid 40’s I grew up on 1970’s and 80’s trucks and this was a perfect chance to see some of my childhood favorites and wants. The show is full of like minded people no lairyness, no shouting, pumping music or fighting that now seems to be the norm at UK truck shows. A nice relaxed walk down memory lane of being with my dad.

The set up and staff made the day feel great and soon brought out my inner truck nerd to get the phone camera going. There’s also a model show inside for those that like miniatures and of course the museum which I spent a while walking round few years ago. It is full of interesting old British cars and vans, both preproduction and design specials.

Overall this years show was brilliant, of course helped by a helping of sunshine. If you like your older trucks then I’d definitely recommend visiting next year.

Written by Gavin Pearson.

The Duck is Back

What a legend of a truck and what a great looking model! This is a release from IXO Models in 1:43 scale. I’m sure you all know the film, but the truck is of course the one and only Rubber Duck Mack R Series. What an iconic truck, so I jumped at the chance to get my hands on one.

Now if like me you’d like one, the IXO contact in the UK is a very helpful man by the name of Andy Mills and can be found in various model groups and of course on the Convoy film group. You better be quick, for £42 delivered to a UK address, Andy will post worldwide, they are selling fast as you would imagine! I’ll post a couple of photos of the actual model when it arrives.

While we are at it, feel free to post your favourite Convoy film quotes!!