What’s in a Plate??

I have no idea how, why or what number plates reach good money. It seems there is no rhyme or reason as to what sells and what doesn’t except for the single letter and number plates such as A1 or F2. Sometimes plates are difficult to work out, those where you have to squint to try and work out the word aren’t worth a penny in my mind. Some can be clever and use the legal letter and numbers spot on to create something person to the owner. A chap I know just so happens to have a personalised plate that may or may not appeal to any of you dear readers. B16 HGV or Big HGV. It may be for sale for the right money although he hadn’t thought about selling it until we had a chat about private plates last week. Despite some reg number websites saying it is for sale, until now it has not been advertised or even mentioned for sale anywhere. Does anyone have any interest in it? In my book number plates are only worth what people are willing to pay! Please comment below with your thoughts or bids. 

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My pal Mat Ireland derserves a little mention this week I think. I’m sure he does realise this, but Mat has now become one of those drivers that I know he loves and enjoys talking to and meeting. Mat is a proper full on International truck driver. No country to far and no border to difficult, everything taken in his stride and what’s more he always remembers his old buddy and brings me things for TBHQ! Mat has had a busy year with Transam Trucking, no fewer than 24 countries have been graced with the black DAF’s presence in the last 11 months. Two weeks ago Mat arrived back from yet another long tour of Europe only to asked if he would to go straight back to Russia. We all know the sun never sets on a long distance lorry so off he went. One show in St Petersburg followed by one in Moscow and then home. Easy. Mat was treated to a Hoek Harwich ship on friday, so it gave me a chance to meet him on his way down to London Friday evening. Fresh as a daisy and clean as a whistle, were both driver and truck respectively. A little disappointed that the truck wasn’t  covered head to toe in Russian dirt but then I guess that’s a sign of the times, truck washes and easier journies. Any way there I stood chatting with Mat and the truck just sat there barely warmed up having only done 30 miles off the boat. I always find myself treating trucks like dogs, giving them a stroke (no jokes please!) and feeling the heat from the grille like the breath from it’s nose. There is still something about trucks that gets me, no idea what it is though. In years gone by when a truck returned from Russia, much like many of the Peterlee Trucking trucks I would see in Braintree when I was a boy, you would have known about it, the truck would have looked like it had been to Russia and back if you know what I mean. But Mats DAF was fresh out the box, even though it was last washed at the Nevada Centre in Polska on the way back. Is this a sign of the times? A sign of better trucks? Both? Or just the sign of a driver at the top of his game?! Mat has created another of his trucking great videos. The trip from the UK to Russia is one many of us will never undertake so it’s well worth spending just under 25 minutes of your time watching the Kilometres tick by. Please click HERE to go to the video. 

Lottery Win Needed to Restart Retro Fleet!!!

How many driver application forms will I need to send out?? For those not in the cool club, I run the ACH page on Facebook and recently the interest has gone through the roof. Loads of ex ACH employees on the page and also loads of photos which is what it’s all about. Those who were there and part of it can reminisce and for those of us who weren’t can enjoy what we missed out on. It’s a true fan page and I have to say it’s a pleasure to have started such an enjoyable page. 

Anyway that’s not the reason for tonight’s blog. I’ve been on a bit of a retro mission the last few months, enjoying lots of 80’s and 90’s that seem to be appearing from various companies and drivers. Now as a retro truck fan I’d love to put a retro livery truck on the road, my choices would be a Ralph Davies truck in the famous black and red or probably more uniquely the beige and black of ACH. If your going to do this wouldn’t it be awesome to find an ex ACH truck to restore and then put a trailer behind. Hard work and impossible you may think…..aha well running the company page means I get to hear about the lost and found department!


As it stands right now I know of two tractor units that are still taxed and on the show circuit and three box trailers that are still bearing the beige paint work. Admittedly two of the box trailers do need new chassis to sit on but it’s a start! The Volvo above is F81 HFC and is still taxed and on the road in Ireland. The picture above in white was taken at a truck show in Ireland back in 2015 but I’m sure I’ve seen it in some show photos this year. I have to say that it is still in very good conditio and looks like it would just need a coat of paint. I know some of you won’t agree but just imagine rubbing it down and fining the original paint underneath. As we all know the main stay of the ACH fleet was Volvo and Scania so I was very pleased to see a reader post on the page today, showing one of the 143’s at the Shropshire truck show last month. Apparently she now resides in Mid Wales, does anyone know the owner?? This really got my brain working overtime as both myself and my truck show buddy, JC have talked over a late night beer about rolling up to the Oldtimers section of the Truckstar Festival in Asset in a pair of ACH trucks……perhaps that dream isn’t a million miles away, if only the lottery numbers would come in!


Why does it all come down to money?! All I want is show truck, Richard Branson can you lend me some cash please? As I say the trucks are both still on the road and being kept running but sadly the dream comes to very rusty and slightly wheeless hurdle when we talk about the trailers. I know where (lots of you know where) Euro 94 is sat, a tri-axle box that has been sat for a good number of years, but at least it still has wheels and a chassis. I say this as the other two trailers haven’t faired quite so well, they are now used for storage but have been lifted off their wheels and put on the floor. Hey ho, I’m sure one of you has the skill set to get the majority of the wriggly tin back on something towable. 

There can’t be many firms that are no longer around that still have a number of vehicles still around. I know all the ACH trailers got taken to France after the Norbert Dentressangle buy out as there are photos on the Facebook page. In fact a friend of mine bought a couple of the tilts, fetched them back to the UK where he cut them down to flat beds and sold them to Russia. The very same friend claims he still has the tilt cover some where, but as yet I’ve not seen it. You know who you are! 

If only the dream could come true and these five could get back together. The truck show trips would be unbelievable but it did get me wondering how many drivers I could recruit if I put them both back to work?? Who’s in? It’s 2017, who wants to join up to drive an F12 Globtrotter and a flat top 143 to Europe and back for me?

Do you know of any other ACH vehicles that are still about? Please comment below. 

Truck Provenance 

Is there such a thing? – Discuss. 

According to the Oxford dictionary the meaning of the word Provenance is as follows; “a record of ownership of a work of art or an antique, used as a guide to authenticity or quality.”

Firstly to get this out the way, I’m sorry to use a Scania in this blog but it is the perfect truck to discuss my point. Having been to the almighty Retro Truck Show and speaking with various people about various ageing trucks I find myself more and more interested in the trucks history. Working trucks are exactly that, even when they are retired and restored they still have a past much like all of us. For me as you’ll know I love long distance stuff so those trucks that have been further than some are what interest me. Much to my delight my good friend Mr Nick Garlick is the very proud owner of L500 RDF, an ex Ralph Davies International Scania 143 500. As anyone with a trucking brain knows Ralph Davies have been there and done pretty well all of it. I also know from talking to Nick and others that L500 is a well deserving retiree. There is plenty of photo evidence of L500 out on her travels and this is where my interest comes. With all the lovely trucks at these shows, no matter how much has been spent or no matter what they look like now, I can’t help thinking about where they’ve been. The provenance that L500 has is huge and while sitting in her while ticking over in the dark got my mind wondering some what. Yes I’d had a few but, the truck looked black in the mirrors and the dash lights were on she was purring. I was sitting in a drivers seat where a number of proper drivers have sat before me. Famous fridge trailer attached heading for Moscow, Novabirsk, Lisbon or Athens this truck has done it. To me having a truck with such a rich past or provenance is worth more than money can buy. Yes you can pay for anything to help restore a truck or make it look better but you can’t buy it a new past. I’d rather have a truck with this than anything else. Speaking with Karl Skilton of Astran subbie fame, he pointed out a number of things on his Astran Volvo that only a true Middle East driver would know about and most replica Middle East trucks will never have. Why? That Volvo has a true provenance, a past, it’s actually got the Tshirt. That to me also gives it the allowance to look a little more worn round the edges (no offence intended Mr Skilton!). So back to “provenance”, I’ve used the word enough I think but what does it really mean? To me it’s the proof of a working truck. It’s the value that truck has earn’t during its life, I honestly think I’d pay more to own L500 (no matter what state it was in)  compared to an identical truck that has only ever been a UK truck. Does that make any sense? Preserving a truck that has been a part of the UKs golden age of long haul intercontinental trucking, to me is worth doing and I wouldn’t mind paying a premium for it. I wouldn’t tell Mr Garlick any of this but to me, in the case of classic trucks provenance is everything. No matter what it is or where it’s been it’s worth saving, afterall we all like different makes of truck and even different sectors of the transport industry. I pity Mrs Blog as and when we win our mega lottery win as I will be “saving” trucks left right and centre! The meaning of Provenance is as follows; “a record of ownership of a work of art or an antique, used as a guide to authenticity or quality.”

Just for the Antiques Road Show or the great works of art by Monet or Van Gogh and friends?? No not at all, a record of ownership can be interpreted as the history of the truck, the life it’s led, owned by one of the greatest, most well known names in road haulage. To me this can 100% be used to prove its authenticity or even the quality. 


Swedefest 2017

What a show it was this year!!! On site were 240 Scania and Volvo trucks from all over the UK. That’s an amazing turnout, well done to all who organised and also those who took part. Having been involved in the show a little bit for a number of years it amazes me how the show has evolved and Michelle and Rob (and team!) deserve all the credit for getting the show to where it is. The thought that people would be coming from far and wide across the UK in Swedish trucks of all ages, to take part in a fairly exclusive small truck show is just awesome. Every model line from both manufacturers were on show, all bar a 0 series Scania I think. 240 trucks is far more than last year and walking round the show there were still some gaps so still room for more next year?! The thrill of the show for me is organiser Robs biggest head ache I’m sure. The parking. Walking along past the various model sections is just genius. I love walking past all the new V4 Volvo’s or even all the 2 Series Scania’s. I don’t know why but for me it just works, perhaps it’s my inner OCD coming out! It also helps in judging. A difficult job trust me,by no means is this show a Truckfest event or not do we ever want it to be but still, judging this year was the hardest it’s ever been and please don’t think I mean this in any other sense. It was a tough, tough choice this year and I was totally and utterly split down the middle with my category. So much so I’m going to share my judging sheet with you. I sponsor and judge the Best 3 Series Scania in the show. As a judge at Swedefest we have always been asked to judge our category based on our judgement of the best for the category title. This doesn’t have to mean the newest, the oldest, the most expensive, the cleanest or even the one with the least amount of rust or the most amount of accessories on, just the best in our opinion to suit the category. The show has never been pretentious enough to always go with the cleanest and most money spent on and testament to this was best in show a few years ago. The one and only Coopers Scania 112. It is a truck that everyone just loves for one reason and another. For me because it used to fly past my primary school and it was the stuff boys dreams were made of. The rust just added to the been there done it (at speed) feel of the truck with its similarly aged bull bar and stone guard. Hopefully when you judge in this way it breeds an air of friendliness into everything. Yes we look at those that are spotless and those that are brand new but if your fussed by a little road dirt still on a truck then perhaps a larger national brand of truck shows is more your cup of tea. Swedefest is the same as the Retroshow. It’s a unique, niche show that is for truck enthusiasts and to some extent the trophy winning is a little added bonus. It has been discussed many times about abolishing trophies altogether, again like the Retro Show. But for me I think a little trophy is a sign of appreciation for a well deserved winner. As you will see on my judging sheet, I narrowed the entries down to seven trucks that all have a star on the right. This was after an initial walk around looking at each entry and also photographing each entry. Then I usually narrow the short list down again to the final few, which I’ve put  four squares next to. Then I walk around again and just stand back and look at each of the final four trucks. What am I looking for? Exactly as asked, the best 3 series in my opinion. For me this year it was a nightmare. I love a 143 and am saving for my own. Those who know me know I love a custom truck as I used to own an airbrushed 10 tonner with metallic paint, alloy wheels and lots of lights. Then again I love and can totally appreciate a truck that is as original as it came out of the factory. This is what the decision came down too and I was torn. 100% original or 100% custom. As soon as I walked passed it, the CS Ellis 113 360 Streamline caught my eye as it took me straight back to 1995. Its as I remember seeing Streamlines when I was a teenager and this is when I fell in love with 3 series Streamlines. Also as a worthless piece of info a 113 360 Topline Streamline was the first truck I ever had a night out in at the age of 15. The other truck is The Ken Thomas 143 500 owned by John Thomas. I don’t need to say much, it’s stunning and totally a custom truck. The paint is amazing, the interiour is incredible and the metalwork is like a work art. So there’s the choice. What do you pick? For me this year 100% original won. It was clean, original and best of all is a straight out the box 3 series. This said I can honestly say I was so torn I have suggested next year I give a winner and a runner up but I know this idea won’t float with the organisers. Perhaps not a bad thing as then I’d have to award two trophies and not just one! As I’m sure you’ll agree, all in all a difficult decision to make and I’m sure it will split you all, in fact I know it will split you all. So my winner was CS Ellis and Ken Thomas 2nd but by a knats knacker, a cats whisker it’s even a fleas foot. I sincerely hope next years choice is slightly easier but please don’t go thinking original is my preference over custom. It isn’t. For me it’s the truck that fits the bill. As for the rest of the show, it was great. I am really beginning to like the “new” V4 Volvo’s and I think I have finally accepted the new Next Gen Scania if it’s painted correctly. I just hope next years show has as many or more trucks and I also hope we are still giving trophies to appreciative participants. Remember folks this is Swedefest not Truckfest. Well done Michelle and Rob, please put me down to sponsor Best 3 Series again if that’s ok. Bring on 2018!

New Anglo Dutch DAF

Anglo Dutch Model Trucks are fast becoming the go to guys for top quality small run UK and European model trucks. Boss man Steve is passionate about truck models and what I like is that he is passionate about the small details that set his models off from the rest, bumper and GB stickers and the like. The latest model ready to pre-order is an ARGS DAF drawbar. It looks a real belter and looks so 1980’s it’s amazing. Get ordering as with all ADMT models it’s a small run of top quality trucks. Details as follows; 

Make: WSI Models Holland

UK Classics 200 series 

Country: UK London
Scale: 1/50
Quantity: Certificated 200 Pcs
Model Details: Diecast metal model of a Daf Spacecab Drawbar outfit in the livery of ARGS london England.
Estimated Release Price : £165