Make Christmas Day, Poppy Day

This years must have Christmas gift for all of you, must also be the first stage of becoming a European mega trucker. The one and only Grace mate Poppy, best known as just a Poppy Air Freshener. If you go to a European truck show then these little beauty’s are in all the show trucks and for good reason. They are long lasting and smell good. Depending on your favourite, there are a load of flavours to choose from, my favourite is the very subtle Vanilla.

I’d never been able to find them for sale anywhere apart from Holland, but now you’ll be very pleased to know that they have been in stock in one of the UK’s leading truck accessories companies, KUDA Automotive, for the last 4 or 5 years. KUDA may not be the official importer but they have been selling Poppy’s the longest. Yep here in the UK you can buy your own Poppy and not have to order and wait for it arrive from Europe – awesome. Not only can you buy the normal glass jar version but KUDA also stock a good selection of the card versions. If you want a decent gift or want to give your loved ones a decent idea for a gift this year, then click the following link to go straight KUDA’s Poppy page, where you can order online.

Go on, click HERE FOR POPPY’s.

One Last Hurrah

My Actros Claudia in Meer, Belgium.

My driving career was short lived by some standards, 10 years just about, from the age of 18. I worked hard, did the miles and certainly did the hours. 7.5 tonner then onto a 40t tractor unit, England, Wales, Scotland, northern France, Belgium, Holland and just into West Germany that was my lot. That said as a boy that’s all I wanted to do, so here I am 14 years off the road and I still miss it when I get the chance to reminisce. To be fair the reason for the blog was to fill the void life on the road left, hence using you lot and your quips to get my daily fix. Good days and bad days, long days everyday, punctures, cancelled jobs, debtors and traffic delays, all the downsides that are enough, on a bad day, to make you want to give up being an owner driver or small haulier. The next day you get up, clean pants, brush your teeth, start a fresh and try again. The day goes well, some money made and no broken light lenses. Rose tinted glasses are not something I relate too, but being on the road is a lifestyle not a job. A lifestyle I lived and loved but totally appreciate the hardship that adding in a wife and kids would bring to the party.

Matthew Johnson’s first new truck holds some special memories as “firsts” often do.
Another Actros friend, Dominic Newby, would be heading for Hellas as his memory lane.

For those who are still on the road perhaps plenty more years service than I have, maybe it brings some form of closure and perhaps you do feel like you’ve had enough and want a change of lifestyle. I can fully understand your train of thought, but take one piece of advice, coming off the road is not easy and for some staying on the road must be easier. Much like a member of the armed forces coming back to civvy street, it doesn’t matter if you’ve served a minimum 3 years or 25, you still get help returning to “normal” life, this could be something I can relate too. There is much to be said about being your own boss and being able to do your own thing to a degree. As an employed office worker you are in the same place at the same time pretty well everyday of your working career and that for me is hard to comprehend. Luckily these days I do get to move around East Anglia daily and pretty much at my own discretion. I do still get further afield as well and that is always welcome and if I’m really lucky a night or 2 in a hotel. It’s still not the same as being out and about all week (or two) in the lorry and I Mrs Truckblog will agree, I still very much miss it. Life off the road is no easy journey, trust me.

Tom Bloore would very much like one last trip to Espania in his old MP1 Actros.
Kermit can’t decide, but I’d suggest which ever stops still long enough for you to get onboard!

All that said, it got me thinking about the rose tinted days and how much I’d like one more trip out in my old Actros. Perhaps a trailer out to Meer (B), reload for Frechen (D), reload for Oostende (B) and then another trailer back to B, NL or D and another reload back to the UK. If I could, I’d happily take Claudia (the Actros!) and I know I’d thoroughly enjoy it. Who doesn’t like getting back inside onboard an old flame for one last hurrah!?!

Luke at Tudor Services would like another go in his first truck, this gorgeous MAN.
Paul Creggan opted for his beastly F16 as it made him smile everyday he drove it.

If you could have one more trip in one of your favourite trucks, which one would it be and where would you go?? A few good old boys (need some girls if there are any reading) have sent a few photos already and I have to say they are spot on in matching the thinking behind this blog. Please comment below and post a picture, we all love the romance of the road at some point in our careers otherwise we would never have got out the yard for the 2nd time. Whether it was a form of escapism, for the adventure, the money or even just that you loved cracking on to Macon, even you will have a favourite steed that reliably (or not!) took you up the road. Now get posting and let’s enjoy the trip down Remembrance Avenue as we reach for the flowery sunglasses, we are allowed to enjoy the good times you know, not just dwell on the bad ones.

Stuart Bell would take his DAF. They covered most of Europe and spent weeks away together. Happy days.

Claudia is Back!

1

Briefly! I managed to log back in to a very old email account, that to be honest I thought was somewhat obsolete. I found an old folder full of old picture messages I had emailed myself, while out and about in my truck around the UK and Northern Europe. Long before the days of doing everything on our phones we had to keep things simple and send photos via email rather than download, upload, ping, Tweet, Facebook, MySpace or what ever else you can do these days.

2

I think I have seen them before and perhaps I should have been bothered to look through my Flickr photos to see if I have them already as they do look familiar. Not to worry though as these were very happy days and we all love a blast from the past. Even though these were 2004-2007 I can remember where they were all taken as I’m sure we all can, funny how I can remember everywhere I’ve loaded but struggle to remember the neighbours names!

3

So starting from the top, photos as follows;

1) Boughey Distribution in Deeside. A full load of detergents. Bloomin heavy but a good tip and would happily tip you early if they could. Shower available.

2) Although I can’t remember the name, this was the big roll place on Trafford park. Loading 5x 1 ton toilet rolls. A great load once it was on although usually had to wait a fair while to get loaded. What’s the name of the place people?!

3) Unloading a full load of scaffold boards at Beaver 84 near Small Heath, Birmingham. I remember loading this myself out at Wurselen, Germany. The Germans weren’t impressed that I wouldn’t load dripping wet timber to the roof at the front of the trailer as it meant leaving 2 packs off.

4) Parked up solo outside my sisters old house, no idea why or what the occasion was though, Claudia had a shine on though.

4

Online Auction – J A Transport

I have no money and certainly can’t afford another truck, so unless by the phrase “auction” they actually mean swap meet, I’m sadly out of this one. I was sent a link to this auction on Friday and I have been dreaming ever since! Some really nice motors here for auction and I’m sure some will go for big money. Plenty of Volvo and Scania but also a couple of nice English trucks and some lucky dip cupboards from the workshop that you can bid to win all the contents. The auction will be held onsite in Burnley, Lancashire and bidding is open until 11am on the 23rd September. It’s all online and you can visit the website by clicking the link – HERE.

Keltruck Turns 40 in 2023

Its not very often i get an email that makes me go “Is that the actual…..” – in this case the actual Chris Kelly, current Chairman of the largest independently owned Scania Distributor in Europe. Now, we do have a mutual interest and Mr Kelly actually came to me in regards to the Centurion List, but if i scratch his back, he will try and scratch mine. Next year, 2023, Keltruck will be turning 40 and there are plans a foot to celebrate this with lots of media coverage and retro trucking references, etc. Really a celebration of the last 40 years and how they got to where they are today.

Mr Kelly has asked the following: “Could you post on your blog that Keltruck Scania is approaching our 40th anniversary in 2023 and we’re collating as much archive material as possible for potential inclusion in our anniversary celebrations? We’d be particularly delighted with any photos of Scania vehicles in Westmid livery. Westmid was a transport & truck rental company founded by my father, Chris Kelly, prior to founding Keltruck Scania in 1983. Westmid was a Scania operator and purchased many new Scania vehicles during its existence which is what led to the relationship between my father and Scania (Great Britain) Limited and Scania AB (Sweden), ultimately leading to the award of the Scania franchise and therefore a significant part of our company history. We’d therefore be delighted to receive any Westmid Scania photos and any Keltruck Scania company history photos as well.”

The above is followed by the offical bit, you may well see this in other other media channels or online over the next few months as we head towards 2023;

Keltruck Scania will turn 40 in 2023 and as we prepare to mark another major milestone we’d be delighted to receive any Keltruck Scania history photos. In particular we’re interested in receiving any photos of Scania vehicles in the Westmid of Wolverhampton (‘WESTMID’) livery (Westmid was Chris Kelly’s company prior to founding Keltruck in 1983). Below is a recently restored 142, back in the Westmid livery.

Please post any photos/negatives, along with your details, to:

Ria Kelly, Keltruck Limited, Kenrick Way, West Bromwich, West Midlands, B71 4JW.

Please e-mail any scanned photos, etc to info@keltruck.com using subject ‘Keltruck Scania company history’. We’ve been sent this (below) screenshot of a Westmid Scania but can’t find the photo online anywhere in order to download it. We’d be really grateful if someone reading this website is able to point us to it:

Always happy to help anyone find photos or info on old trucks of any marque. I am sure that everyone who has ever had any dealings with Scania in the UK will at some point have come across the Keltruck name. Myself, i seem to remember my dads Business Post trucks coming from Keltruck…. Anyway i await my Keltruck’s goody bag or even better Centurion number confirmations!

Centurion List – The Final 4

J727 TRO – 113M 360
J606 UOE – 113M 360
J5 LOS – 143M 500
J949 EDS – 113M 400

So what will come first 100 trucks on the list or a publisher??!

In the mean time we are now down to 4 confirmed Centurions we don’t have numbers for and amazing we have 4 empty spaces on the Centurion list. Is it a coincidence or have RP and myself (and all our informants) just about got 96 other trucks right?! Well there is a good chance as all the others are based on plenty of evidence, each number backed by at least 2-3 facts on the truck.

The above 4 trucks are all genuine Centurions, we know that for sure. Amazing we can’t get anyone with any concrete evidence on what number they were. I have even been having contact from Chris Kelly at Keltruck and even he can’t find any evidence of what number J606 UOE was and he drove it out to eastern Europa on an aid mission!

J727 TRO in Cambrian Pet food livery, but it does look a little tired in that photo.

J606 UOE. Well photographed and was a demo, but what happened to it after? Did it end up with a repaint and on the SEAS fleet after they parted company with #100? Just a thought.

J5 LOS. Perfect looking 143, we know a lot about it and have original photos from the owner before and after sig writing but no number!

J949 EDS. Had quite a few owners including Thomas Douglas Haulage from Glasgow. Still no one knows the number.

The remaining 4 numbers in the Centurion list we can’t allocate to a truck or a reg number are: #037 / #043 / #054 / #068.

No need to go over old ground but if you know anything on these 4 trucks or a Centurion number rings a bell as you’ve seen a certificate from Scania in a transport office, please, please let us know. Comment below or email me; ben@truckblog.co.uk

…..now where the yellow pages…. P for publisher….

Peterbilt Ultraloft 567

Sadly I found this release in my junk mail box from way back on the 1st of June so it’s not really new news, but I do like a bit of American news. As I read it the 567 is the fleet motor of the Peterbilt range, now available with the huge (by European standards) Ultraloft sleeper.

The workhorse of the Peterbilt product lineup, the Model 567 can be spec’d for virtually any application, from vocational to on-highway and regional haul configurations. With the addition of the UltraLoft sleeper, the Model 567 now offers a more spacious, integral sleeper option for customers that enjoy its traditional signature pod-mounted headlamps, durable Metton® hood and stainless steel grille.

​By optimizing the space available, the UltraLoft sleeper includes industry-leading storage and comfort, including 8 feet of headroom and 70 cubic feet of overall storage. The UltraLoft also gives drivers the largest upper and lower bunk mattresses, best-in-class headroom in both bunks and creature comforts of home with space to accommodate the industry’s largest microwave and enough room to fit a 32-inch flat screen TV.

Interior updates to the Model 567 are highlighted by the class leading 15” Digital Display with a fully customizable user interface (UI) that delivers easy-to read information and full PTO integration so operators can fine-tune the Digital Display information to suit their individual preferences, additional new driver comforts found inside including more cabin storage, two permanent cup holders and options for 12V or USB charging ports.

The Model 567 is available with the latest advanced driver assistance systems fully integrated into the Digital Display, including lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control with auto resume, speed sign recognition, side objection detection, safety direct integration, multi-lane emergency braking and highway departure detection.

“The launch of the Model 567 UltraLoft is another example of Peterbilt’s drive to continually innovate our product line to deliver industry leading comfort and performance for our customers and truck drivers alike,” said Jason Skoog Peterbilt, Peterbilt general manager and PACCAR vice president. “There is no question that 2021 has been the most exciting year for Peterbilt and our customers, with more new product hitting the road than ever before.”

Dual Fuel Heavy Truck

HC Wilson Transport are no strangers to high profile jobs and I’d consider the launch of one of first main stream duel fuel Hydrogen trucks to be just one of those. This truck has been developed by a company in Brentwood, Essex by the name of CMB Tech, using a Ford F-Max tractor unit. As we all know and read, the search for a suitable and practical alternative to diesel is on and as yet there has been nothing that will allow heavy trucks to do the range that you can currently get from a diesel. Electric trucks work but seemingly only on regional work where you can charge up and get round your day and home again on a single charge. Yes fast charge points are the answer so you can top on as you go about your days work, but honestly, does anyone know where you can stop and plug in anything bigger than a car or van? Electric will work for some but with the serious lack of parking facilities in the UK where do the government suggest we charge up. I didn’t use a question mark there as it’s not a question due to there being no sensible answer.

CMB Tech seem to be leading the independent charge on converting and applying Hydrogen technology to a multitude of vehicles and that has to be a good thing. Hydrogen vehicles are being looked at by the truck manufacturers and Mercedes-Benz have a prototype up and running but this isn’t likely to be mainstream until at least 2027, so perhaps a dual fuel conversion may be an option for those who want a quicker solution. According to the CMB Tech website their Hydrogen Truck 2.0 is being tested and can offer a saving of 80% on CO2 emissions over a conventional diesel. You can read more about the vehicles CMB have developed by clicking HERE.

Wilson’s driver Ady Willis was tasked with both delivery and collection of the truck from CMB’s Essex workshops and taking the truck to Belgium for its official launch. I need to point out that Ady cleared all this with CMB so that’s why I can publish it on the blog. The truck may be based on a Ford but currently the hydrogen option isn’t offered by Ford themselves from what I can see. As well as some cracking photos, driver Ady offered a few words about the job;

“In the last week of May 2021, I collected the truck from Hutton, Brentwood (CMB Tech) and took it out to Antwerp Belgium for the launch. This included the truck being presented to the Belgium prime minister. Then in the last week of June I returned to pick it up again and return it back to its UK base. It is a duel fuel truck. The vehicle uses Ford’s 6 cylinder 12.7 litre engine with 500bhp. The 4×2 chassis sits on Fords 3600mm wheelbase, all in all it made for a nice different kind of trip”

Personally, even though I work in the industry I can alternative fuels coming for sure and all heavy truck manufacturers are working on solutions which is great. The problem and delay in all of this will be suitable infrastructure for everything to run on. For me the government are no where near having a working electrical charge network for trucks in the UK and goodness knows how that will work if you were to go international in an electric truck, just another toll box? Charging network at manufacturers service centres? Who knows. As for gas, that’s a non starter for me, but hydrogen, well it seems like it could just be the answer that will work for everyone involved. We will just have to wait and see, we’ll done to CMB Tech for producing such a good option, let’s hope we hear more about it in the mainstream press.

The Gr814 – D to GB

How do you solve a problem like Maria getting a truck from Germany to England on a very tight budget?? Call in a load of favours and ask those close colleagues from 25 years in the transport industry what they can do to help. So I have a best mate who was shipping more JCB’s out the country than anyone else for a few years. Said BM was able to negotiate a very decent package for shipping the truck from Bremerhaven back to Harwich, but at the shippers discretion. Meaning when the boat was empty and wasn’t pushed for space. This also meant that it would be down to the shipper to tell me when he wanted it. Not to bad at all other than the truck was still 102 miles away from Bremerhaven.

Time to bite the bullet. As I had half a plan I went back to Tobi (the seller) and put the current plan to him, thinking he might be able to make a suggestion or suggest a company close to him who may be able to move the truck for me. Tobi came back to me straight away and offered to drive the truck himself to Bremerhaven as it would be a nice little “good bye” drive to a truck that had served him very well. Once again a great help from Tobi. The only downside was it meant having to buy some export plates so the truck could driven after Tobi had de-registered it from his name which we had to do so I could arrange customs, don’t forget this was a month after Brexit as well as the Covid effect. You see it really wasn’t the best easiest time to be buying a new toy! About a week after the plan was hatched, the call from the shipper came and they wanted it on the sailing out of Bremerhaven on the 16th February. This gave us a little time for Tobi to do the necessary at his local tax office (such a great and seemingly easy way to do everything vehicle related in a local office rather than dealing with a single national association based in Wales!!) and we opted for 2 week Transit plates just in case. Tobi planned to take the truck up to Bremerhaven on the 15th February so it was there ready and waiting for the boat to arrive the day after.

As you can see from the photos this would have been as easy 102 mile ride apart from the snow came down in Germany and made for some very tricky driving conditions. Being an expert racing driver Tobi had no real issues apart from needing a little help from the Polizei to get over the brow of a hill! Having made it to Bremerhaven Tobi checked in and was asked to drop the truck on the quay for the night so it was ready to load in the morning.

The following day, the 16th February, I heard nothing so I’ve always been a “no news is good news” type of chap and I assumed the truck had made it onto the boat and left Germany for the UK. I was correct and the next call I got was to say the truck was sat on the quay at Navyard in Harwich, 30 minutes from my house. Customs was done and paid for while the truck was enroute and I was therefore free to collect the truck on the Saturday morning and take it home.

Once in Harwich I was greeted with the above. I cannot tell you how nervous I was, from the point of view we hear so many horror stories of vehicle sales where people don’t view the motor first, but I was more than surprised and more than happy. Tobi Marggraf from Racing Team Marggraf had been true to his word and the truck was in great condition. All the paperwork and German registration documents were in the glove box including some original owners paperwork, more than I needed but again proved how honest Tobi had been. I needed all the original copies of the German paperwork to make the UK registration as easy as possible. This just left me to start her up and take a very very enjoyable trip back up the A120 and A12 home. Thanks Tobi you know I will look after her!! One truck purchased and shipped back to the UK for a touch less than what the truck had originally be advertised for. Happy blogger.