MAN Hunt

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Seeing as you are all so good at this detective lark, here’s you next assignment. Many moons ago I had a delightful and bloody hardworking MAN 8.163 which you may have heard me talk about once or twice before. It was such a good truck I rely didn’t want to let her go but needs must and all that. So when we parted company I sold her to dealer, Paul Binns Commercials. From there she ended up being cut down to a flatbed and was then used by a subbie delivering wooden sheds and things for Waltons Garden Products.

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What I wanted to do was trace her life after her days on the sheds. I have checked the DVLA vehicle search and she hasn’t been taxed since 2008 and it says the truck has been exported. I’d love to track it down to where it was exported too, if its an island some where there’s a chance of finding it but if its Russia or something then there is no chance.

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First things first, I need to speak with the Walton Garden Buildings subbie. I am told his name was Simon Wainwright and came from Nottinghamshire some where. If you know anything about the truck or Simons whereabouts please can you email me or leave a comment, I’d love to find her, even better I’d love to see her now. I have one man on the search but he is man that’s in the category of ex Walton drivers so I’m quite hopeful. If you can add something positive then please do, surely one of you knows some thing. Truck reg was V413 KPU and was fitted with a Hatcher sky cab.

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MAN Hunt

20130627-212229.jpg

Seeing as you are all so good at this detective lark, here’s you next assignment. Many moons ago I had a delightful and bloody hardworking MAN 8.163 which you may have heard me talk about once or twice before. It was such a good truck I rely didn’t want to let her go but needs must and all that. So when we parted company I sold her to dealer, Paul Binns Commercials. From there she ended up being cut down to a flatbed and was then used by a subbie delivering wooden sheds and things for Walton Garden Products.

20130627-213053.jpg

What I wanted to do was trace her life after her days on the sheds. I have checked the DVLA vehicle search and she hasn’t been taxed since 2008 and it says the truck has been exported. I’d love to track it down to where it was exported too, if its an island some where there’s a chance of finding it but if its Russia or something then there is no chance.

20130627-213545.jpg

First things first, I need to speak with the Walton Garden Buildings subbie. I am told his name was Simon Wainwright and came from Nottinghamshire some where. If you know anything about the truck or Simons whereabouts please can you email me or leave a comment, I’d love to find her, even better I’d love to see her now. I have one man on the search but he is man that’s in the category of ex Walton drivers so I’m quite hopeful. If you can add something positive then please do, surely one of you knows some thing. Truck reg was V413 KPU and was fitted with a Hatcher sky cab.

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Barbers Shop MAN

V413 KPU - MAN 8163 (38)

As many of you will know, this was my 2nd truck in the BJS empire and if i’m honest I think it was also my favourite. Don’t get me wrong I loved the airbrushed Mercedes Atego I had, but with the little MAN 8.163 I did so much work and spent far more time away in it than the Atego (nights away), so I think that’s what made the bond stronger. The other thing I liked about the MAN was that I customised gently and very gradually. and really made her my own, whether you like the style or not, i’m not to fussed, it would appear that certain things didn’t go unnoticed by all.

V413 KPU - MAN 8163 (29)

V413 KPU - MAN 8163 (64)

After the a while hard working trucks tend to loose there new look and shine, especially bodywork built by a bunch of blind hedgehogs in a bag. So it got to a point that the rear bumper was fairly rusty as the very thin paint had be eaten by the road salt and weather. It so happened that the factory paint on the prop shaft had gone the same way, so one weekend me and my Dad thought enough was enough and I reached for the sander, primer and tape. The rear bumper was a no brainer I thought i’d try the chevron look, please see above. But what to do with the prop shaft?? Well I thought i’d do something a little different…a barbers pole if you will. So as I drove along it would spiral down to the back…….I cannot tell you how hard it was to get the masking tape to stay evenly apart as I wound it round the pole (oo er Vicar!). If I remember correctly it was even nearly all the way down apart from one little 6 inch stretch.

V413 KPU - MAN 8163 (31)

Back in the day I could list on both hands the number of people who commented and noticed on the barbers pole, so these days I just see it as a bit of fun and also what made the truck individually mine, but today I had a comment on the blog that made it all come flooding back and made it seem all worth while.

Comment Author: Matthew Morris
Company: www.morristransport.co.uk
Comment: “I was always a fan of your 7.5 tonners, especially the MAN L2000. I remember it having an interesting “stripey” prop shaft! We still own a P reg L2000 with the 224 hp engine. Still a pleasure to drive and sounds awesome with a straight through drag pipe!”

You see I did have a fan! If I’d started a BJS fan club, I think it’s fair to say Matt could probably have been member 001. How I wish I could have my own Tonka Toy again, but times change as does the haulage industry. Perhaps one day. Any way in the mean time i’ll leave you with a photo of the smart back end I ended up with. The chevroned rear bumper didn’t last as the paint soon rusted up again. About the same time the cheap nasty rear door handles had virtually fallen off. The truck was sent to the best body builder in the country, Colliers Truck Builders, and new rear doors, new ally shiny handles and poles and I also got Colliers to rub the bumper back to the metal and paint it back in chassis grey. Boring but smart. The barbers pole stayed.

V413 KPU - MAN 8163 (69)

V413 KPU - MAN 8163 (66)

My MAN

As I have no Internet at home this week thanks to the expert services of a well know British Telecommunications (bugger!) company, I thought I’d just share a quick few photo’s from my days gone album. Back in the day I had a few of my own tonka toys, which I loved and to this day I still prefer a little lorry to those big articulated thingy’s (well nearly). So just a random selection to fill a day and as I have 5 minutes spare in the office before departing. Here is V413 KPU….and if you’ve seen them before, then aren’t you lucky!

Another handball load.
V413 KPU - MAN 8163 (9)

The dock side of Canary Wharf, London.
V413 KPU - MAN 8163 (21)

I knew someone wouldn’t mind me parking on Mum and Dads lawn!
V413 KPU - MAN 8163 (31)

My good mate Howard and I both taking a quick breather on the A1 near Pontefract.
V413 KPU - MAN 8163 (36)

A sunny Sunday in Cornwall.
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Another small load for the little MAN.
V413 KPU - MAN 8163 (68)

Although I had the airbrushed Atego, I do think I preferred the MAN. We just had more of a bond and we did so much more together, you know how it is!! Want to comment? please do or email me; ben@truckblog.co.uk

The Making of an Airbrushed Atego

AV52 KGU - Mercedes Atego (1)

Have you ever wondered about having a bit of a customised truck? Something with a bit more than just a coat of white paint? Yea I did too once, but I wouldn’t do it again. Really I wouldn’t. I was doing well with my company and I doubled the fleet size to 2 trucks! I wanted to have the shiny wheeled slightly customised truck so it would stand out from the crowd. It started with the plain white Mercedes Atego that you see above. I spotted it on the A12 on my way back to Braintree one day. It was on it’s way from the dock to the bodybuilders, Colliers Truck Builders of Maldon (Essex) on the back of a Brit European truck. As it goes I went back and found the truck parked up for the night near Maldon, the driver let me even climb up and sit in it!

AV52 KGU - Mercedes Atego (10)

Here she is nearly finished, as you can see its all plain factory colours, so next it’s off to the paint shop. I had always wanted the truck to be metallic blue, but I still had no real idea of what artwork i’d have painted on. I found an airbrush artist in Colchester called Simon. Simon had painted artwork on a few trucks, some of you may remember a fleet of blue DAF’s that used to do container work I think, that had airbrushing on. I had a few meetings with Simon about what we could do. I had already wanted a few ladies painted on the truck – Why? Coz I was a young man! So I had to painstakingly find a few pictures of some attractive women, god that was a difficult job!! that was one side sorted. For the other side Simon had suggested some sort of sea/sky theme due to the blue. I had also wanted to only use white paint for the artwork as I’m not a fan of a million colours on a truck, although some trucks still look amazing (Coles & Sons that is!). Simon showed me some metallic fish artwork that I actually liked the look of. They were robot like fish that were originally done in silvers as they were supposed to be made of metal. The artist’s name was Soroyama.

AV52 KGU - Mercedes Atego (13)

Next it just left the 2 front corner panels of the truck which Simon suggested could again be anything, I only came up with a CD cover I had, the other side was left to Simon. All in all it took 2 weeks to complete the whole painting exercise. As you can see Simon worked round the whole cab of the Atego panel by panel. I stood and watched for a while and I was just totally transfixed, watching stroke by stroke as the artwork appeared before my eyes!

Airbrushing the Atego

AV52 KGU - Mercedes Atego (18)

AV52 KGU - Mercedes Atego (17)

The front panel with the big shark bursting through was obviously going to get plenty of chips, even with 3 coats of lacquer. To get over this for shows and what ever else, I had a second front panel made up and painted and I still have it now. The only bugger is, it’s bubble wrapped in the top of the garage! But at least I still have part of the truck. So how did it all turn out?…….

AV52 KGU - Mercedes Atego (45)

AV52 KGU - Mercedes Atego (51)

It’s quite a job to get the whole thing sorted. Finding a paintshop willing to spray the truck, and keep it in a dust free workshop while the artwork is applied, then add a few coats of laquer. Lucky for me Simon used his contacts and this was sorted. Trying to think up pictures for each panel was a total headache, but in the end the only bit I wasn’t that happy with was the front corner panel with the starfish. The rest was as I hoped for, including the planets and stars on the driver side. I loved it.

AV52 KGU - Mercedes Atego (76)

More importantly was it worth it? It’s a cost that is a gamble, will you ever earn back what it cost to have your truck painted? I think it cost me around £2,000 for the artwork including the laquer. Lucky for me at the time I could afford it, but I was even luckier to get some work that paid more than double what it cost me to have done. I was at a regular customer of mine and they had a visitor who loved the little airbrushed Atego and I ended up doing a lot of work over the next few weeks that easliy covered the cost of the artwork and I wouldn’t have got the job if it wasn’t for the artwork. Other than that having such a truck means lots and lots of people taking photo’s but better than that at some regular delivery points it meant the unloaders wanted to chat and talk to you about the truck. In turn this lead to being able to jump a certain amount of unloading queue’s, a direct result of having the artwork done. All in all I would reccomend doing it once, but after that? I don’t think so. Great truck though, it did earn it’s keep and more all due to it’s artwork.

AV52 KGU - Mercedes Atego (80)

AV52 KGU - Mercedes Atego (77)

If you’ve seen this truck recently or you have a photo of it any where i’d love to see it, so please email me a copy; ben@truckblog.co.uk