Mystery DAF in the Dock

So my good pal who many of you will know by various names, Mat Ireland, needs a little help with a mystery DAF 3300. Spotted many moons ago in Felixstowe dock, this DAF was never seen again, by May anyway. Clearly an owner driver or small haulier, with a cab covered in murals of well clothed ladies, some extra lights and generally a great looking truck. Not to mention seen here pulling a trailer from one of the best trailer companies there is (I may be a little biased!), Continental Cargo Carriers.

As you can see there is just a chance that it’s still sat somewhere in the UK, since January 1998, as no export market given, but that isn’t always correct. Was still listed as blue, was on the road for 13 years and judging by the date the tax expired it had been taxed for 12 months every year. That’s about all that my Columbo skills can tell me. I am sure that someone somewhere will know the truck straight away and be able to give a name, to help Mat get some sleep at night. Has anyway got any other photos? Did you own it at some point? Any info greatly received, so please leave comments or contact me.

Weekly Italian Job

SUNDAY 16/01/22
Pick up trailer in our yard in normanton loaded for Italy at half 11.30am. Run south via North Weald customs picking up my T form. Cross via Eurotunnel and pinch an hour or so from the French driving ban park at St Dizier at 23.30.
– 12 hour day 805km covered.

MONDAY 17/01/22
Todays a very easy just driving day. After 9 hours off leave at 08.30am run the national down to Chaumont rejoin the motorway. Fuel at IDS at Le Chatelard. Run through the Mont Blanc tunnel in beautiful sunshine. Run to my normal Monday parking at pizza Piccadilly Santhia. Shower and food on my own tonight only English man. Park at 18.00.
– 9.5 hour day 671km covered.

Tuesday 18/01/22
Run to our depot in Como. We used to transit Swiss for this but since brexit we’ve had so much hassle at Chiasso as certain goods need certificates and inspections. Such as metals and food products. The time queuing at border too has made it not worth doing. I tip groupage and clear my next delivery in depot. Next drop is down near Piacenza tip this straight after they’ve had the usual 2 hour lunch. My first collection is at Novate Milanese , just above Milan. I’ve been before so straight in and on. Next collection is out in sticks a bit heading for Lecco at a small village called Missaglia I just get this on before they close and run back to Como docks to the Newly refurbed Restaurant for shower and food.
– 12.5 hour day 425km covered.

Wednesday 19/01/22
Back into depot to fill out with groupage and do all customs paperwork. Our depot here is brilliant and I’m loaded and on my way in 2 hours. I run back through Blanc in stunning blue skies and scenery that never gets old. I run up through France to safe parking at Langres. Again in for shower and food. Just as I’m getting back in truck 2 English lads I know turn up so it’s back in for a quick beer and chat.
– 11.5 hour day 535km covered.

Thursday 20/01/22
Run from langres back up the national top up diesel at IDS St Dizier. Book my parking at Ashford via app. Then go queue at eurotunnel. Takes about 3 hours today about average. Into Ashford for shower, food and a Cider.
– 11hour day 535km covered.

Friday 21/01/22
Run back up the A1 breakfast at Colsterworth. Tip one of my jobs at Cross Green in Leeds, then back to Normanton to drop my trailer and park up for weekend.
– 9 hour day 455km covered

All in all a nice steady week nothing went wrong and weather was a stunning 14 deg in Italy ☀️

By Gavin Pearson.

Trucks of The Year 2021

It’s been another funny old year and I haven’t actually done many shows sadly. There have been plenty of new trucks about despite the various cancellations and seemingly endless restrictions, and a lot of shows were still able to go ahead as they were outside. My annual trip to a foreign show was once again put on hold, but hopefully next year I can take my own truck abroad for the first time since UJN 509V back in 2009! Anyway I digress. Trucks of Year really comes following the week in trucks idea, which despite contrary belief first came about on TB and not elsewhere. I wanted to point out a few stand out trucks for me this year in the hope you will all share photos of some of your favourites too in the comments below.

I’ll start with Coles & Sons New Old Skool. Coles never disappoint and they really are no show ponies, they spend a lot of time abroad and do a lot of high profile work. For me I found this truck to take Coles back to their roots and back to the family business colours, but at the same time wowing us all as always. Just for info the Coles & Sons page released the first photos and videos of the truck back in January this year and have since had over half a million views, most of which came in the first week.

Next one worth a mention is this Volvo FH V1 restoration my Bert De Mooij and Bert De Mooij. I love the Retro Truck Show in September and for me this truck is 100% what it’s all about. The retro trucking scene is for trucks that have been restored and put into the glory of years gone by, perhaps with a modern twist. If we cast ourselves back to 1993 when Volvo launched the version 1 FH, this truck would have been spot on for a Dutch flower truck. Not over the top by any means, just clever use of paint (of course it’s Dutch!) and a few accessories that are easily accepted as being period. It looks spot on for me, love it.

©️Tim Andrew

Next a couple of personal favourites. The above Actros Edition 2 special Edition with all the boxes ticked is an amazing truck. Once again MB Trucks are pioneering the way with technology, which whether you like it or not is coming now the majority of manufacturers are now copying and offering similar. This Actros is my favourite new truck delivery of the year. Everyone loves new truck day, but perhaps because of how passionate Wilkin & Sons are about Mercs or perhaps because it was the first Edition 2 on the road in the UK, for me my favourite work related truck.

Next up…. The Gr814. My own truck, bought and imported from Germany in February. I love little sleeper cabs, I love mini tractor units and when I bought my first truck in 1997 I couldn’t afford an 814! This has had two owners since 1989 and has done a genuine 260,000km from new. It has nearly all the available factory options from the time, which really just leaves me only to do a little titivating and then hopefully get it painted before 2022’s show season.

Next a proper big hitter and a worthy truck of the year mention. This DAF by Paul Cecil is simply awesome. Even if you’re not a DAF fan, or a fan or green trucks you have to appreciate this Gloucestershire beauty. I don’t know Paul too well but we have the odd chat and I remember a few years back at Assen, Paul saying the truck was in build and was having a few paint issues, but those have all been overcome and the result I’m sure is exactly what Paul and family were after. One thing to remember is that building a show winner takes time and patience people. That said it is a hard working truck, it covers all of Europe on a regular basis and is cleaner than nearly any other truck you’ll see. It is also clearly appreciated by the European show circuit too, picking up trophies at both the Nordic Trophy and the Powertruck Show in its first year. Well done Paul.

Attention to detail.

For me I think this is my truck of the year 2021. A boy hood dream and poster truck for lots of us. I have been doing the Centurion list with Richard Payne and hopeful of getting a publisher for ‘22, but finding out this truck was being restored back to its original glory and then seeing her in September will take some beating. I have spoken to Michael Taylor during the restoration and was also privy to seeing the artwork being done by Matt during the painting process. I have even spoken to John Philips and he is over the moon with it too. The truck is as good as I’d hoped, the attention to detail is everywhere. Note the Keltruck mudflap’s have the 1991 phone number not the current one. I also love the artwork, we all know Matt is a true artist and should be recognised in the art world for his masterpieces. I also like that the artwork is a modern take on the original, as in the images aren’t quite as they were in 1991 but are Matts take on them. A real dream truck for me and once again well done to Michael and all involved, I really look forward to seeing again in 2022. They say you shouldn’t meet your hero’s…… certainly not trucking true in this case.

My son took my picture next to the truck I had on my wall as a boy.

New DAF……or not!

Spotted today in deepest Suffolk, it could be the new DAF. Looks like a new DAF, has DAF on the fuel tank but according to a friend of mine who recently asked for a quote on a new DAF their isn’t one. Anyway what ever it is, I think, has potential. The driver was under strict instruction for no photos of the interior but it looks all new, although this one seemed to have the “normal” sized engine tunnel we all know the current DAF has. I wonder if the there will be flat floor version? This had a fairly large side air deflector on the cab but I can’t help thinking or feeling that the cab seems deeper than the current range. I think we’d agree that this would be the equivalent to the current Space Cab XF and there is likely to be a taller cab offering. Note the nifty blind spot camera on the corner deflector and also note the new gaffer tape on the windscreen! Really interested to see and know more about this, if indeed it is a new DAF. If like me you want to know more, you can sign up to the launch of the new DAF by clicking HERE: Start The Future. Hopefully we will see more of this new Dutch Delight over the next few months, I have to say I think these will be rather nice, then again if it ain’t Dutch, it ain’t much, right?

Wilson Wednesday

It’s been a while since we did a Wilson Wednesday but like the last time we did one, I’ll say it again, I’d like to make these more regular……. Come on HCW drivers let’s make it happen this year. Starting above we have one of the longest serving drivers on the fleet, John Stocks in WIL2580. Loaded from Belgium with some agricultural machinery heading back to the UK.

Sneaked in from Friday last week as it makes an interesting photo. Taken by Neil Jarrold this was a local job by every bodies standards. Kent back to Suffolk with a big old DAF.

Nice photo that one. Taken from N5HCW’s offside camera looking at the 8×4 Volvo that is L100HCW, with top Wilson subbie Mike Tasker lingering in the background. The two Wilson trucks are loading in Holland tomorrow with 36 ton drums. Tasker is off to Belgium.

Holiday haulage with Geoff Tarbun in WIL2219. Geoff is the elder statesmen of the fleet therefore isn’t worked that hard. Pictured here heading for Italy to load an in gauge load back to the UK. Must been a long day as he hasn’t even had time to wash those wheels!

Finally this week we have Ady in his few week old 650S, R80HCW. Loaded from Germany back to Yorkshire. The Krone forage trailer is a big piece of kit, even on a wafer deck trailer it sits about 4.30m high. Permits all the way back to P&O at Europoort with this one!

A nice little catch up with the pro’s at HC Wilson. Right trucks, right trailers, doing the job as it should be done. Looking forward to the next WW already. Thanks chaps!!

Watching Paint Dry

Hopefully I’m going to pass you all a little one of Jaimes Golden Nuggets that has taken me 23 years in the industry to come across and quite frankly I think it is spot on! You know how it is, we all have a good knowledge of our day to day jobs and we all have own thoughts on what current fashions and styles suit our favourite trucks. Some trucks suit a tag axle, some suit 4x air horns, some suit a bull bar and more and more need to be painted over and above factory paint to hide the increased of plastics that help with air flow and fuel returns. So if we dwell a little on that last point, this is where the Golden Nugget comes in and I’m hoping some of you will go “oh yea, I never thought about that” or perhaps “I knew that already you bell….”.

This week I was chatting to Nipper MacClean from MTS Restorations and he be the font of this little gem of info. Well he is having spoken to wise Dutchman a few years ago and we all know the Dutch know how to style a good looking truck. Over to Nipper;

“As the wise Dutch man who I spoke to in Holland a few times said, something we all perhaps look at but never notice, is that a truck really works well with 3 paint colours. Anymore usually looks cluttered, but he did say that on an odd occasion 4 works, but when it does black will usually be one of the 4 colours.”

The more I think about it, the more it seems to be bang on. 1 or 2 paint colours would be classed as less is more these days which is still mega smart, but when you look at the 4 trucks above they are all sticking to the 3 colour rule and look just plain awesome! All that said I can also see the 4 colour rule as long as it includes black as one of the 4. A few example below easily back it up, 3 bright colours and black works pretty well don’t you agree?!

The Danish Globetrotter is worthy of another photo as I thought it was one of the best looking trucks at Truckstar 2019 and it is clearly the rule of black 4. Red, white and blue with a hefty amount of black but I think it looks fine and I’m not the biggest Volvo fan.

Who feels like they might just have learnt a little something that will probably be of any use??? You? You? And you? Yep I’ve got my hand up as well. I’ll leave you with a photo of Nipper’s own 4 series. This was painted specifically to test the rule of 3 and once again you can see that it works and works very well indeed!

Liquid Sunsets

I often put out requests, queries and questions for you all, as I have come to learn that if I have something I need an answer too, then one of you will know the answer. When I was driving, a good few years ago now, I often used to see the above tanker and it’s great mural on the back end. As you can imagine following this for a while leaves a memory that you remember the next time you see it, so when I found a photo I took I instantly recognised it. I don’t remember ever seeing the truck parked up anywhere or at a show, although it would never have had the trailer with it at truck shows back in the late 90’s. I put a request out on Instagram and the Facebook and low and behold timothycook702 on Instagram came up with the info.

A great looking truck, clearly an owner driver, extra lights, air horns, deep green metallic paint, euro stickers and a hazardous stainless steel tank behind. So do you recognise it?? Want to know a little more??……..well I do, so here you go;

“He traded as AMH Haulage, his name was Ian Green from Carnforth. The green DAF was his first outfit and red DAF replaced it, he’s a good friend of mine”

Now we know who’s it was and where they can from. We also now know that he moved on from one smart DAF to another smart DAF but a change of colour. Also the theme of a painted rear end continued but this time it looks to be airbrushed and a little more artistic. I think I preferred the first paint job. Also I noticed a Spanish web address on the back end which may explain the euro badges. Amazing what you can find out by asking the blog readers.

Thanks timothycook702 and thanks Ian Green!

Belgian Belle’s

So there I was, digging a hole, hole in the ground, big and sort of round, it’s was flat at the bottom and the sides were steep……..but I digress (if you get that you’re as sad as me!). While out in the garden I checked my phone for some much needed garden advice from a pal, when I noticed I had a message on Instagram. Truckblog Instagram gets looked at a lot and plenty of views but very, very few comments by comparison. Intrigued by who it was, I opened the message only to find it was from very well known Belgian transport company, Sitra Group – yes that’s right the massive orange operator from Belgium messaged me, I’m honoured!

Sitra have obviously been bored during Lock Down and found my Instagram and taken a liking to it. Who ever does Sitra’s social media, likes my insta page and decided to message me. How very nice of them and if any other large European companies want to follow or get in touch, my Instagram account can be found by clicking this link TruckblogUK and Sitra’s by clicking this link; sitragroup.

For those who don’t know them or don’t know the name, Sitra are a family owned firm from Belgium and have been operating since the 1960’s. They have operated all types of vehicles from fridges to tankers. Sitra sent me these two awesome photos of days gone by, who knew the Belgians were big Mack fans?! Sitra also have a history section on their website so if you want to read more then please click HERE.

As for these two trucks, obviously both frigo’, so I asked Sitra what they did and where they got too and as with any proper, successful European haulier, anything anywhere springs to mind! Here’s what they told me;

These trucks mainly drove fridge trailers, with frozen and fresh cargo, across entire Europe: UK, Italy, Sicilia, France, Poland, Romania, Benelux, Germany, Greece, Spain,.. But also countries as Russia, Turkye, Kazachstan…
We transport goods like: meat, vegetables, fruit, dairy, chocolate…”

A lorry load of Belgian chocolate to anywhere you like, sounds like good work to me! Hopefully we may here a little more from my new friends at Sitra, but for now I hope you like these two photos.

Metallic DAF

Hey Ben how are you doing? I thought since I not been able to get many truck photos at the moment I would send you a little trip I did a few years ago.

The office called me up asking me if I wanted a few weeks work as things were a little quiet. They focused on two jobs one involved been in my own truck for Trans Am and the other would then be jumping into an EST truck for another two weeks with a different artist. I’ll focus on the Trans Am one as I have more photos of that job.

The job involved taking one of our little trailers to Heathrow where I would load Backline for Metallica that was coming in by airfreight. I then had to take a leisurely drive over to Berlin to a Tv studios. Since I was in no big rush it was the day boat from Harwich to The hoek and then across to Hengelo and into Germany via Bad Bentheim. This would see me go past Osnabruck- Hanover- Magdeburg and then up into Berlin. Working out my timings I realised I could do this during the day as we usually work night times which then ment I could go to Marienborn services just on the A2 there and look around the museum.

This was the old customs checkpoint from east to west Germany and it looks like they just closed the doors one day and walked out. Now you can park in the services and wander around the old huts. It’s all very interesting and worth stopping. After been educated it was time to crack on to Berlin where I then realised the Christmas markets were on. I parked for the night in the Avus autohof and didn’t venture to far. The next day saw me Drive to the the Tv studios which just happened to be beside Berlin Templehof airport which was famous for the Berlin airdrop we tipped the truck in good time and I took myself off to meet a friend and a walk around the airfield before visiting a Christmas market then back the venue and discuss plans then it was time for bed as I had a double drive to Paris for another tv show the next night. We wrapped up the Berlin show and the People in Paris got into contact with me with regards to parking they needed to have me park off site as the place was only small which in itself wasn’t an issue but sounded a bit of a ballache to find.

Part 2. Berlin to Paris. 
Once on the road to Paris we retraced our steps to a certain point. This time it was Hanover-köln-Aachen into Belgium liege to Mons then down to Paris. On arrival to Paris the bus caught up with us and we went together into the Tv studios. The representative of the studio came out to show us where to unload ETC looked at the truck and asked me where the rest of it was. Turns out they didn’t realise we had a small trailer on and the bus and truck could fit in the garage where we unloaded and happily stayed all day. Once we tipped it was straight to bed and exactly 9hrs on the button the band had finished and it was time to pack up as quick as we could and head to London For a radio show. My little holiday at the start of the trip was well and truely over…  (No photos of this section as it was all go go go)

Part 3 Paris to London.
Leaving Paris behind it was time to head to calais. In the middle of the night in 2015 calais at night time wasn’t the best craic but since I was in a rush it was straight into the train and ship across. Next destinationThe iconic Maida Vale studios in London for the bbc rock show. Iv been here a few times before and the lads are decent enough at security and it’s literally a case of abandon the truck on the street and leave it there so that was that. Once I was tipped it was time to to fire off a few emails as the next gig was a secret show we were doing at House of vans . This is a skatepark under Waterloo train station which doubles up as a small concert venue so had to get various different permissions to park there. Once the Maida Vale sessions were over it was quite late which ment a nice easy drive around to Waterloo and park up. On arrival my heart dropped when I saw graffiti absolutely everywhere and thought the truck was gonna get done over. I went out and spoke to the lads doing it and they assured me the truck would be ok as it’s one of the only legal graffiti places in London and they don’t dare do anything stupid to ruin that. A bit of a sleepless night and I woke up to our sister company EST truck beside me who brought in extra Audio etc for the show. We tipped everything out and I went off to swap trucks and then reload for the same kind of agenda. All in all was a great little trip. Hope you enjoyed it and here’s photos of London.

By Joey McCarthy @katterjok