Brothers from Other Mothers

One of HC Wilson‘s legendary Scania 143’s with a rather large load on doing what this big V8 does best. One of my favourite HCW trucks of all time.

Above Registration H143 TAH.

Below Registration H144 TAH.

One Norfolk registration number apart, we have another well known haulier in the colours of Portbridge. A great fleet and fondly remembered. Both trucks being steel numbered, 143 450’s with Topline cabs. Nice.

#brothersfromothermothers – if you know of a good batch of registration numbers then do comment below or email me.

Europe…. Go Big or Go Home

Here we go people, a new blog contributor and what a belter of a blog cherry popper we have for you. Some of you may know this particular character, he’s one of those quiet, keeps himself to himself and gets on with the job in hand types, well he certainly gets on with the job that’s for sure. Away for over seven weeks working for one of the best international hauliers in the country. Essex International need no introduction what so ever, 100% an international haulier from the roots up, now part of the Grampian Continental group, they cover all four corners of Europa every week. To be fair this particular trip has pretty well covered three of the four corners. To start I’ll put up the map of the “outward” leg, but please ignore some of the route as bloomin Google maps wouldn’t take the boat routes that were actually used.

Starting point was head office in Aberdeen, down to Newcastle-upon-Tyne to load for Motrin in Southern Espania. An easy enough run down to Portsmouth to catch the ferry across to Bilbao, please ignore the map for the ferry part! The good old days were back, with a six truck convoy and much to our mans joy all six had CB radios so you can imagine the banter, just like 1986! Off the ferry boat in Bilbao and straight down through the glorious middle of Spain to Motril. A decent enough trip for most of us but this was of course only the first leg of this one.

Having tipped Motril, sadly the convoy dispersed in various directions and we are off to Bourg en Bresse, France for a trailer change, destined for the Greek / Turkish border. From the middle of Spain’s southern coast across to the Turkish border, very nice. Add another couple of weeks to the tally but off we go. Living the dream springs to mind, well for those who dream of weeks away behind the wheel, covering the whole of Europe. What the old school saying?? “You’ll never earn a living looking out of a window son!”…… balls to that, what a way to earn your living. Anyway trailer swapped and keep heading east up and over the Alps (always stop for a photo going over the top) to the Italian port of Ancona for the Minoan Lines ferry to Igoumenitsa, Hellas.

The motorways of Greece look awesome although surely not enough traffic for us Brits. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to take to a motorway network, like Spain and Greece that aren’t rammed packed with traffic, idiots and whatever else, so you can just get on and get your days Kilometres under you belt before a pleasant evening meal and a bottle of wine for €15……sorry I was close to getting all romantic there. Once into Greece it was head yet further east across the north of the country to the Turkish border town of Kipoi. Due to the nature of the load, it was virtually a single lift off at the delivery point and job done. Lovely jubberly.

Reload details are through and it’s time to head back across Greece to Igoumenitsa for the same ferry back to Italy (ignore the map for this bit again!) Once off the boat, it’s reload in Ancona itself and then northbound and down. A full load of pipes destined for………. Aberdeen. The whole way round Europe and reload back to your home town. Awesome. Perhaps a little easier as an awful lot of oil related work comes in and out of Aberdeen, but even so, that must have been nice to hear for our man Stan. I’m sure the big Scania S730 must know it’s way back to Scotland from most places in Europe by now, so back over the Alps, stopping for the obligatory photo of course, then back up through France to Calais. I have no doubt at all that after a few thousand KM’s of fairly trouble free trucking, with in an hour or so of getting off P&O’s pride and back into Blighty, the wheels would have ground to a halt for some reason or another, most of this reason being the M25.

If you’re lucky enough to have a job like this, you will get to see the whole of Europe. This of course does mean lots of time away from home and the loved ones. That said if you are going to do it, do it with a professional firm such as Essex International they will look after you and of course you’ll end up piloting a top of the range motor for your troubles. If your going to do proper old school European trucking, then do it like they do at Essex International, it’s the only way………

Mountain MAN

…..and he’s back! The MAN always in the mirror, the MAN of quite a few moments on the blog, the MAN about most European towns, the MAN that MAN should be rewarding with the amount of publicity this MAN gets them! Still the best truck on the MAN range and possibly the best 12 tonner on the market (it has a built in fridge unlike the rest).

So it’s been a been a fair while since top blogger Steve Marsh of Steve Marsh Express fame has felt he has done a job worthy of another blog. From what I can work out he’s been busy keeping the Irish Express routes alive and kicking. Plenty of work from the North West out to Ireland, well enough to keep Marshy busy most weeks. Imagine my surprise when I saw the SME availability email come round advertising that he would be empty all the way down in France 74. Now even with my basic knowledge of Europa I knew this is down in the mountains heading for Swiss.

I love Marshy’s emails and I love the fact he still loves his job and getting out and about. Please note even this trip started with a Shamrock Express! Here we go then…….

Bring on the blogs…. Blogtastic !!!!

Mon: Load a full load of shop fittings from Manchester to tip Ireland Tuesday ASAP.

Tue: Deliver to a card shop in Dublin centre. Tried to load a 96” screen from Facebook, Dublin for Telford but security wouldn’t let me as no one had told them I was coming. Had to leave empty handed and no back load. 😢

Wed: Load a full load of assorted building supplies from Lichfield, GB.

Thurs: French travel day!

 Fri: Deliver to what will be a very nice ski apartment renovation in Les Gets, France 74.

 Mon: Loading a sliding roof job in Bourges, France for Preston, GB.

 Like the old days for me too 😊!!

Quel agréable voyage mon bon homme. Nice to get out to mainland Europe I’m sure and not just quick one either. I’m sure a sunny trip to the alps is always near the top of a good trip to France. Hopefully we won’t have to wait to long for the Marsh MAN to appear back on our screens with voyage Europeén.

Retro Show – The Social Part

Another weekend and I’m back at Londra Camp or perhaps even the Hotel National in Belgrade. Loads of the best retro trucks in the UK and a growing number from Europa and all the kings of the road you could ever hope to meet and listen to stories from. The shows this year have become more and more social but combine this with trucks from my childhood and once again an awesome weekend was had by all. For me meeting these Kings of the road is what it’s all about, the stories they can tell, the places they have been and the trucks they have driven, my generation can only dream. To name a just a few people I stood and chatted/listened to this weekend;

  • Charles Russell
  • Roland Simey
  • Nick Bull
  • Karl Skilton
  • Andrew McDevitt
  • Kevin Mackin
  • Paul Rowlands
  • Baz (if you know you know!)
  • and of course one of my true hero’s still out and about on the road………
  • These men all need dictaphones and books written about them or by them, Mr Coghill you need to get on with it! As I said in my Truckstar blog, sadly I wasn’t able to enjoy the golden era but chatting to these knights of the road you can get a real idea of the adventure, hardship, bad times and of course good times they endured. For any young drivers of the current modern generation, can you imagine being told to go to Pakistan from London?? No? just to add to the adventure there was no sat-nav, no road maps or readable signposts once past Turkey, for that matter not many “roads” either. One of the best quotes of the weekend from a certain Charles Russell went something like this;
  • “When I was a young owner driver with just one truck, my pal Ralph had his own truck too. I met him on his way back from his first trip to the continent and do you know what he said?? That continental work isn’t for me.”
  • – The Ralph in question was of course a certain Mr Davies. Just brilliant but unless you take the time to talk to these men then you never get to hear such awesome tales.
  • The show itself was once again a triumph. Lee Herbert and his team put on what was the best retro show I’ve been too, that said next year is the 10th anniversary so I can’t wait for that already. Get the date in your diary, next years Retro Truck Show is from September 11th to 13th 2020. There seemed to be more restored/retro trucks than ever before. The quality of these trucks gets better and better and there is definitely more types of truck, not just Volvo and Scania. Renaults, ERF, Iveco eight wheels MAN’s and even a Fiat all being restored back to their former glory. As it goes there was only one Transcon that was at the start of its new life and very much need a good polish! I’m sure there are more Transcons about that could come along next year but after one of Roland Simeys stories I’m not so sure….
  • If you are a truck enthusiast then the retro show is for you. It’s run by truck people for truck people. Evident that the man who runs the show is a gas engineer but grew up with trucks and loves trucks. All who attend are truck mad and as there are no prizes to be won it just shows that all trucks are there as their owners are proud to show them and just do it for the trucks and love of diesel! Not a lot of feed back from those I spoke to other than more trucks the merrier. Perhaps the one thing I did hear from a few people was, there were a lot of new trucks there again. Don’t get me wrong I love seeing them and being able to compare the same make 30 or 49 years apart is a pretty cool concept. I am guessing there is an element of a few new trucks make up the numbers but then again what do you class as a retro truck?? I fine line for the organisers to think about but for me personally I don’t think it is far off perfect at all.
  • Big Boys & Their Big Toys

    Big boys have big toys we all know that, but when two company directors are as truck mad as the drivers they send all over Europe, then why shouldn’t they have a big toy to play with?? If I could afford a truck and trailer to play with then I’d do the same, at the end of the day with directorship comes big responsibility and big stress, so surely that allows big toys?!

    The two directors above are two of the biggest truck nerds you could meet, both nuts about their respective Swedes. The photo was taken en route to the Truckstar Festival in Holland back at the end of July and the two trucks were side by side for a fair distance from what I hear. What a treat for all the drivers coming the other way, 1980’s retro trucking at its best. The other this I hear is that the two of them were giggling like school boys with new BMX bikes oh and something else to do with no speed limiters but I don’t know what they are on about!!

    What a sight, even better with a little black and white. I’m not sure which one I’d rather be piloting, both great to look at, both big cans compared to the competition, both a drivers dream. For me restored trucks don’t get better than these two and I just wish everyone could afford to have a trailer with their tractor units, it just rings every bell on the old skool wall. For me I saw these two and as awesome as the scene is, it just reminds me in every way of two other famous trucks…….