A Nearly New-by LP

The blog gains a few fans every week and more and more are asking if they can write a blog or I ask them if they want too. Either way it means we all get to enjoy a wider variety of trucking stories. This time around I asked my friend, Dominic Newby, of MB Roadstars fame, if he would write a few words about this “as-new” Mercedes-Benz LP 1626. Luckily for us Dom is happy to share his photos and a few words about this Danish beauty. I think it needs a retro frigo trailer behind it though, who agrees??

The LP 1626’s cubic cab is the very model of minimalist design; debuting in September 1963 at the IAA in the heavy duty category it’s huge windscreen, surfaces and right angled lines, the vehicle’s exterior is modern, even by today’s standards. The design allowed the driver to experience a new world: a comfortable entry, space behind the wheel, a magnificent panoramic view and a minimal sized engine tunnel. The LP’s tilting cab was immediately recognisable by doors drawn to the height of the bumper and the slightly raised roof was integrated in 1969.

“I was lucky enough to experience one of these beauties at the recent Stuttgart Retro-Classic. This LP is a dump truckconverted to a fire truck and is now in its third lease of life as a semi-trailer tractor unit, despite these different ‘lives’ it has hardly been used. The gears feel just as they did on day one, the V8 growls at the first rev and the frame and chassis are a million miles away from rust and bearing damage. It could have just rolled off the production line.

“After a lengthy restoration converting the old fire truck the finished article is simply stunning. The theme of the LP is Denmark; there is red and black patterned material on the rear wall and on the mattress, the engine tunnel is upholstered in red man-made leather and there is fur on the seats. The rear wall also contains a lampshade bought from a flea market, all of which lends character to the cab. On the exterior, fire engine red is combined with green along with a ‘Danmark’ illuminated sign on the roof. This LP is truly one of a kind and is exactly the type of lorry I would love to add to my collection – long live the true ‘retro classics’!

1 thought on “A Nearly New-by LP

  1. Wow Ben. What a superb restoration! I can remember H G Taylor of Mendlesham running these, 1418s I think. Often loaded with reels of news print and then roped and sheeted. I think also G E Thorpe and James Downie also had one or two. I suppose since all 3 firms were located close to Stowmarket and Barnards of Stowmarket were the main dealer, so it seemed logical to use them. This was pre Truck Services/ Orwell Trucks becoming the MB main dealers.
    Another local company to have one, albeit a rigid wagon and drag, was Capel Express.
    It was a LHD 1319 with a tilt body and trailer RDX132R I think. It was their first > 7.5t unit I think. Like most German drawbar units at that time, it had a trailer coupling also fitted to the front bumper to make parking the trailer easier. My late neighbour drove for Capel for many years and he took a load to Vienna in Austria, and after tipping, he got lost trying to find his return load address. A local told him to follow him but breaked hard to avoid jumping a red traffic light.
    As you know, a car has a shorter stopping length so you can imagine the damage the coupling on the front bumper did to the rear of the car! No accident free bonus that quarter!
    Keep up the good work!


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