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. 

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WSi ACH Model 

One of the best retro companies in the UK for me, Aston Clinton Haulage or ACH are sadly consigned to the great truckstop in the sky. I have a close affiliation to ACH and because of that I started and still run the ACH Facebook page, seemingly with the blessing and backing of ex drivers and also owners. The idea of an ACH model truck isn’t a new one but it is one that is getting a lot closer to reality. With the expertise and persistence of Steve Bowden, the owner of Anglo Dutch Model Trucks Ltd, Steve now has permission from the Fowler family and is ready to start finalising the model. This is crunch time. The most likely model will be a 1/50 scale WSI and the most likely combination is a Volvo F12 Globetrotter with a rear bogie lift, hooked up to a blue tilt trailer, much the same as the photo above.  The main problem for Steve Bowden is knowing how many to make and also how much to sell for. They will be produced in a limited one off production run and will end up (hopefully) around the £130 mark. Steve is looking for guidance from you all to see if it’s all plausible. The truck is very likely to be a Volvo as I said, so please comment and say “yes please” if your keen and would like to get your hands on one. All feedback is likely to end up in the production of this model, so please have your say and make this model happen! 

History Won’t be Repeating!

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Often we get told that not to meet your hero’s as they can turn out not to be the people you hope they are. Recently I got to meet a man who I consider to be one of my trucking hero’s if you like. As I regularly do on the blog I harp back to the golden days of transport which I’m sure most of you will agree was the 20 years spanning the 1970’s through to the 1990’s, but unfortunately for me and many of you this was when I was growing up and not old enough to get behind the wheel (legally!). Reading magazines and spotting when on family journeys across the UK was all I had to survive on. When I think back there were really to many fleets to name that I would look out for but at the top of my list were ACH and the black trucks of Ralph Davies. The men behind both of these iconic fleets are what I consider to be my trucking hero’s, luckily for me I recently met up with one David Fowler. Mr Davies is still on the list!

I run the ACH page on Facebook as back in the 1970’s actually before I was born, my own father worked at ACH for a few years.I blame the County Cream trucks in part for what has become some what of an obsession over the last 37 years, but i have to say a very enjoyable one. I look back and talk about the golden years of UK international transport as I firmly feel that those days are gone and sadly won’t be back. What better place to discuss and relish in what was, than on the www with you lot. Luckily the ACH page on Facebook has grown and grown and I am very happy to say that is followed very much by plenty of fans, ex drivers, employees and also Mr Fowler. Due to the wonders of technology it meant we could make contact and have a few email conversations and finally a meeting. David said he had a huge photo collection which of course I wanted to see, so far i have been allowed to borrow the first box of photos for scanning which I can tell you is awesome! At some point I hope to share more with you but that is dependant on David and of course how things pan out as i have a few ideas.

I think it is vital that photos and documents from the golden days are now scanned and kept in digital form. So often at the moment I hear of people throwing away photo collections and the like and it saddens me to think about it. Photos are an integral part of the UK transport history that we younger ones should be taking on from those who are older and even passed on to the big truck stop in the sky. At my place of work, a whole cupboard of photos from the 80’s through to the 2000’s were skipped as they needed the space for filing and all that remains is one 3 album photo box. I’m gutted to say that this was long before I joined the company, so there was never a chance of me giving the collection a safe home. This makes me wonder what is happening to all the other collections there must be. I have heard of a few up for sale, a few which are constantly being sold off on eBay and I also hear of many, many that get binned. These photos are priceless and tell the stories that the sadly ageing driver pool from the golden years won’t be able to tell and pass on for much longer. If you know of any trucking elders, I urge you to talk to them and ask if they have a collection anywhere that they want to pass on to you. If you don’t ask you don’t get and all that old jazz. I asked Mr Fowler if he would lend his photos to me so I can scan them into the computer, luckily for me he agreed, so for now at least part of the history of the well-know County Cream, red and black trucks that ran far and wide across the UK, Europe and beyond (yes….beyond!) has been saved for hopefully all to enjoy eventually.

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The photo at the top is Copyright to Mr Fowler and just sums ACH up for me. The photo above was in a small batch my Dad had from his days at ACH in the early 70’s although I have found similar in David’s box. Now the second part of my transport historian quest is the paperwork and items that were used on a day-to-day basis. I have never seen a telex machine in person and never seen a telex note. I found a couple in David’s box of treats, so they too have been scanned as momento of a forgotten era! Along with the telex I found a copy of a GV60 application. For those of you that know what a GV60 is, you probably have seen a hundred of them but for me it was a first. The GV60 was/is the form you had to submit to the Department of Transport to enable your trailer to be given authorisation that you could carry goods under Customs Seal. A couple of photo’s of the brand new trailer along with a description of the build, security measure and of course registered keepers details had to be completed. If the DoT was happy then the trailer could then be used as it was intended. These days I wonder how many trailers are GV60 approved? Probably not many due to the low numbers of you still doing international haulage.

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There will be plenty more to come from ACH I hope, some of the photos are just awesome but there is plenty of scanning to be done first. Please, everyone who is a trucking romantic like me and I know some of you are otherwise you wouldn’t have got this far through the blog, talk to the old drivers of these heady days, ask them the questions and ask about the evidence. Lots of drivers were too busy driving all day to take photos but those that did have captured a time and a place I can only day-dream about. Yes it was hard work, but who minds that if you’re enjoying it, what I would do to go back to a brand new F series Volvo and have to tip and load Rome and back with nothing but running money, paper tachographs and strong flask of coffee! Oh the romance of the road…….

My Best Truck of 2014

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For me this is the best truck I have seen in 2014. It might not be the newest, it might not be most practical for most of Europe and it certainly won’t be everyones taste but for me, spot on.

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If you live in the UK and haven’t been to one I strongly advise that you make 2015 your first trip to a European truck show, the standard of trucks is amazing. I can’t deny that the trucks here in the UK are getting better and better but the Europeans just seem to have it right, they all look good. To me the best trucks have always been out of reach of what I could afford or achieve and the T560 is no different. We all joke about winning the lottery but a Tcab would be very close to the top of my list. It’s blue, it’s got two sets of pipes, it’s got a subtle custom interior and enough lights to make it look good but not over the top. As with anything I would make a few subtle changes as I’d want to put my mark on it.

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2014 has seen a big rise in the blogs popularity through all mediums, the Facebook page, twitter and the good old fashioned http://www.truckblog.co.uk website. I’m not going to link to any of those this time round as I’m sure you all could do with a break from the ruthless links and plugs for the blog. I have no idea where the blog will be in another 12 months, hopefully you’ll all still send me stuff, photos, info and the odd piece of trucking memorabilia to decorate TBHQ and I’ll keep bugging the TV companies in the vague hope they’ll see that we need Truckblog TV!

Hopefully I’ll be visiting, Truckfest Peterborough, Crowfield Truck Rally, Gathering of the Griffin, Retro Truck Show at Gaydon, more than likely (and hopefully) Truckstar Festival at Assen as my foreign trip, although I have heard on the grapevine that there is quite a convoy of English motors heading to the International Trucker & Country Show held at Interlaken, CH. I have always wanted to go James?? Finally if the offer is still there then I might just make it to Belfast too.

Anyway thank you for following and thank you for making the blog what it is, without your contributions I’m sure you’d all be bored silly of 143’s, MAN TGL LX’s and Mercedes-Benz photos! As we all do secretly say now and again Keep on Trucking!

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ACH – Photo Update

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For those who aren’t aware I have a big affection for old Buckinghamshire family firm Aston Clinton Haulage. Why? My dad worked there back in the early 1970’s before I was born and so far I have only found 13 photos of his in my 33 years on the planet, so with the age on the tinternet I am now cashing in and have even set up an ACH Facebook Page for like minded fans. I think because I have so little of ACH from my old man that I want more and more. It turns out there are a few ex drivers following the FB Page and one man in particular, Dave Mortimer has kindly sent me 80 odd photos from his 30 year driving career with the Beige and Black from Aylesbury. I have to say some of Dave’s photos are just brilliant. Now I think I love ACH that little bit more! I have scanned all the photos and put them on the flickr page, so click HERE to see the set.

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Along with the photos Mr Mortimer enlightened me with the following information;

“ACH was started in the 1960’s by Mr Les Fowler. The name came from an old Coal delivery company. It was bought for the A and B licenses. They never actually had a yard in Aston Clinton, the first yard was at Winslow, Buckinghamshire then they moved to a yard in Stone near Aylesbury about 1970. ACH ran a fleet of about 20 trucks. The fleet was increased when they bought out Howe European from Enfield. This was to gain extra European permits to do extra European work. Some of Howe’s trucks came with drivers such as Johnny Whitbread and Dave Coope. But most left again when Des Lacey (ex Howe European) started up Hercock London.”

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“ACH started doing European in 1973 and I (Dave Mortimer) started with ACH in January 1974. My first year was UK work, then my first trip abroad was to Fiat in Torino, July 1975. Reloaded washing machines back to High Wycombe. I didn’t start doing regular European trips until about 1977 and then the rest is history! Back then it was all the old roads as the motorways weren’t built. Such good routiers we used to eat at; Footballers, Bakehouse, Monkey House – I could go on for ever about the old times! I think the only firm still doing European from the old days is EM Rogers. All the rest have gone; ACH, Leggetts, Ferry Freighting, Roba, Dow European, Murfitts…the list just goes on.”

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What an insight into one man’s career. I just love em! If you know any thing, any one, have any photos of ACH then please get in touch. You can email me at ben@truckblog.co.uk and I will look forward to hearing from you. Just think if ACH had kept going and my parents had stayed in my home town of Aylesbury, ACH would have been my closest haulage firm. Thanks to Dave Mortimer for the photos, he has said there could be more to come, we’ll see….

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WANTED: Aston Clinton Haulage

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Are you an ex ACH / Aston Clinton Haulage employee?? Do you have a collection of ACH photos?? If the answer is yes to either of these questions, then please email me at; ben@truckblog.co.uk or if your a Facebook addict, go to the ACH FB page, click HERE.

I’m trying to get together as many ACH photos as I can, so if you have any at all they are highly likely to make it to the blog. I’m chasing a certain Mr Fowler but he is quite elusive!! See what you can dig out, Hopefull Neil Jarrold of www.euro-wheels won’t be the only contributor!

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Dads ACH Photos (7)

Where in the World is This ACH Truck Parked??

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Once again Neil Jarrold of www.euro-wheels.com has come up with a photo that is just brilliant! Just look at it……… What more can you say. Although it does raise a load of questions;

  • 1) Where was it taken?
  • 2) Is the Fiat behind the ACH Volvo truck RHD or LHD
  • 3) What is the significanace of the double white stripes on Italian bumpers?
  • 4) What happened to ACH Volvo WJO 677R?
  • 5) Have you got any ACH photos you want to share?

If you have any answers to these questions please leave a comment or email me; ben@truckblog.co.uk I have a thing for ACH so any photos will be well recieved.