My Best Truck of 2014

IMG_0915.JPG
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.

IMG_0910.JPG

IMG_0911.JPG
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.

IMG_0914.JPG

IMG_0912.JPG
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!

IMG_0913.JPG

Advertisements

Hold The Front Page

20140707-225610-82570162.jpg

Who else’s diary has a front page line up like that?! Uncle Dick Snows that’s who’s. It’s kept a rulers length from my head every night and I have to say hardly a week (or a day, Mrs Blog would argue) goes by without me flicking through the pages of the 1969 diary Uncle Dick kept. I never met him as he was always away but I knew why he wasn’t there and I think he’s partly to blame for my crazy obsession with bloody old trucks! If you want to read one of the trips in the diary then all you’ve got to do is buy a copy of Ashley Coghill’s book; The Long Haul Pioneers, all about the history of legendary Middle East trucking company Astran nee Asian Transport.

V8 to The Rescue

20140326-211924.jpg

Back in May last year a small group of trucks left Ireland on their way to Belarus. Not just another European outing for our Irish friends but a humanitarian aid trip to help the Chernobyl Orphans Fund, by delivering aid of all types to the helpless children in the orphanages. The run from Ireland is an annual event and has been since 1999 but last year, 2013, was the first time the ex Astran Scania 143 (now owned by Eoin McGinnity) took part in the run. This year sees the 2nd trip for the “King of the Desert” out to Belarus.

20140326-215415.jpg

This year Eoin McGinnity is hoping to get more interest in the aid run than last year, not just so we can all enjoy the photos of the trucks journey, but also to try and increase the amount of aid that is donated. There is now a Astran to Belarus Facebook Page about the run that will follow the run as it trucks eastwards. Last year we heard about the run a little too late but this year there is a bit of notice so we can all donate to the cause. Eoin McGinnity himself has purchased and donated 3 x Pallets of baby nappies. There is a PayPal account set up, so if you want to make a donation please do, the PayPal name is; astranbelarus2014@gmail.com so you can donate and the money will go straight to the cause. It seems it’s not just in the UK that the ex Astran Scania 143 raises eyebrows, a Polish journalist will be meeting the convoy as it crosses Poland so he can write about the truck and it’s aid run.

20140326-220651.jpg

If you want to help while your waiting for the convoy to depart and the photos to start coming, then here are the official website links;

The main fund behind the convoy – www.chernobylorphansfund.ie
Astran to Belarus Facebook page – click HERE
PayPal Account for Monetary donations – astranbelarus2014@gmail.com

20140326-221623.jpg

I for one will be keeping a close eye on this years run. I’m always keen on aid runs, especially to help children who have no control over their own circumstances (ooh get me!), but also it will be good to see the big Scania once again crossing borders on a long haul run East. The truck has spent it’s working life carrying goods that will make a difference in one way or another, so why change the habit if a lifetime now the truck is retired. The trip was supposed to set off in the middle of April, but due to paperwork problems the departure date has been put back by a week or two. I’ll keep you updated don’t worry.

Astran Tekno Model Update

20140204-201440.jpg

You may or may not be a model truck collector but if you are then you probably know that Middle East Trucking legends Astran Cargo have slowly been releasing very limited edition 1/50 scale Tekno models of some of their more iconic trucks. So far the releases have been a Scania 111 and a Scania 143 Streamline, both artics pulling tilt trailers. The next to be released in the series is a Scania 110 drawbar again being manufactured by Tekno the Dutch model experts. This latest 500 piece special edition was due for release at the end of last year, then again it was due in January, but as yet nothing. Well that was until today, if you have been lucky enough to be one of the 500 names on the list then you have probably already received the following information on email. This was the update from Astran today;

To all supporters and collectors of Astran/Tekno 1:50 scale models.

“We have just received information from Tekno in Holland that upon final examination of the Scania 140 Drawbar, they have rejected the entire batch fresh in from China on the grounds that the quality is not acceptable.

We at Astran share your frustration, having waited such a long time for this new model. It is to Tekno’s credit that their standards are so high that they have taken this dramatic move. Most companies would have taken the easy option. I also have to add that I agree with their decision, having seen the first model off the line.

We will continue to keep the waiting list on file and will advise you when we have further information from Tekno. We understand this re-manufacturing process could take a long time, and at present Tekno are not prepared to say just how long it will be.

Thank you for your patience and support.”

20140204-202456.jpg

I’m sure we are all happy to be patient for such a wanted model and I’m sure Tekno must feel incredibly embarrassed about the situation. As far as I’m concerned, as long as it is still going to be produced then waiting is not a problem as long as the final standard is as good as we’ve all come to expect from Tekno.

Astran have told me that the current list of 500 models is full and even the waiting list is growing (over 50 names so far!). If you still want to add yourself to the waiting list please contact Astran directly. You can email sammy@astran-cargo.com. If your on the waiting list you will be pretty lucky to get a model. If your already one of the 500 lucky people but can no longer be one of the lucky, please contact Astran to let them you are no longer able to purchase one of the models then at least some one on the waiting list might get one.

So that’s the update, please be patient it will be worth the wait!! You can contact Astran direct or myself and I will pass your message on.

20140204-204836.jpg

Uncle Dicks Diary 21st April 1969

20130421-091807.jpg

As I am the lucky keeper of Uncle Dicks 1969 diary, here’s today’s entry from back then – Yes Dick Snow of Astran / Middle East run fame!

“Left Lebring (Austria) and arrived at Spiefeld at 1030. Crossed border into Jugoslavia and parked up waiting for Belgian drivers. Hope they are going to arrive by Wednesday (23rd April) latest. Had shorts on today.”

You can also find Uncle Dicks diary in Ashley Coghills awesome Astran book, The Long Haul Pioneers. Click HERE to order your copy now!

SCOOP!! Astran / Tekno New Model Release

Astran Model release

I’m spoiling you, 2 blogs in a matter of days! But this is big news and it can’t wait for me to get my A*se in gear. I had an email today from Kevin Letham, yes him in charge of the most famous intercontinental trucking company ever, Astran. Kevin asked if I wanted to be on the list for the next and possibly the best Astran model yet. So of course I said yes please put me on the list, to which he replied, i’ve already put your name down but I thought I better just let you know! Anyway for those of you who don’t know, there have been 2 Tekno 1/50 scale models produced already and both sold out in days. Now you have to pay twice the original price to get one off the electronic auction websites. So how about this time around, want to see if you can get your name down on the original list??

Astran Model release

As you can see this time the model is based on a Scania 140 drawbar, reg no JLL 686K. Kevin said in his email; “We currently have, in production, what has already been called the “Best Model so far!!”. It was decided to make a 140 Draw bar as accurate as possible to the original. I have attached the design drawings and think that it will make a perfect addition to the previous models. Price has not been fixed yet, but it is thought to be slightly more than the previous models at £175.00 due to the extras that Tekno have had to make for it.”

It sounds to me like this will be a great model once again. I think it is fair to say that Dutch model builders Tekno, do know what they are doing when it comes to creating a real collectors item. This time around i’m sure that the Certificated Limited Edition Astran model will be hugely popular, so please get emailing Kevin now to try and secure you place on the list. To contact Kevin please email: kevin@astran-cargo.com or you can tweet him: @astran_kevin or i’m sure it’d be ok to call Astran direct if your not really an email person. How ever you do it, do it now because you really don’t to miss out on this one…..DO IT NOW!

Astran Model release

New Truckblog Stickers On The Move!!

Truck blog V2 Final.jpg

As some of you may well be aware, a few months back I asked you all who was interested in having a new Truckblog sticker and surprise surprise some of you were keen on a freebie…..tough time’s I know! Anyway, some how or another I have just 3 of the original 50 left and I have no idea where they have all gone, really I haven’t! What better way to show them off in all their glory (the stickers that is) than put a few, that I do know the where abouts of, up here on the blog as Truckblog on the move. I even have had a few photos sent through of the new sticker but I can’t find them, what a bummer!! Anyway lets get started and who best to get the ball rolling than top blog contributor Steve Marsh Express. This is the sticker in place on the little euro busting MAN TGL, along with the older long version blog sticker, if you look carefully that is!;

GB05 STE - New Sticker!!

TB on the move in Norrkoping Docks, Sweden.
Truckblog on the Move......

TB on the move in Innsbruck, Austria.
Truckblog on the move......

TB on the move in Maiori Salerno, Italy (a bit fuzzy driver!).
Truckblog on the move....

Next up we have Andy Blunsden. An owner driver from Bristol, known to many of you as Carrot (I think!). Andy has stuck one on the back of his trailer that he hauls all over Europe and also to the Middle East, although I don’t think the sticker has made it to the desert yet! Hopefully Andy will get some inspiration from Marshy’s efforts and send a pic or 2 of the sticker on the move, perhaps even in the dustier parts of the world!
Truckblog on The Move....

This is Andy’s DAF and trailer.
Andy Blunsden's DAF

Last up on this sticker update is Ceva Logistics Autralia’s top car transporting subbie, Julian Baker. This is probably the furthest away sticker that I know of. Julian is based near Melbourne in Oz and he and his little UD mini artic travel all over Oz carrying cars. Great pics;
Sticker evidence!! - Truckblog on the move in Oz!

Another terrrible sunset in Oz!….really makes the colours in the sticker stand out, very artistic!
Tintinara in the evening - Truckblog on the move in Oz!

In the next month or so I will be ordering some more stickers, so if you want to join the club, I will let you know when they are here and you can buy one for yourself, on the premise that you send a photo of the sticker some where on the move! Email me; ben@truckblog.co.uk If your sticker pics haven’t made it to this update, they may well make the next…..