As Old As The Greek Gods

It must be holiday season?! A week or two back a good customer of mine, had some time away in southern Greece, Kalamata to be exact. Kalamata is the kind of place that still seems a little bit more relaxed about modern life and a delightful place to go for some downtime and old school truck spotting. I am so very pleased that’s it’s not just me that spends holiday time looking for trucks native to where ever said holiday destination is.

What else do all of our better other halves enjoy more than spending time with us?? Yep you guessed it, truck spotting or if you’re in Greece, Malta or anywhere else not plagued by Euro emissions legislation, old school truck spotting. It would seem this particular busman’s holiday maker came across a parking area that can only be described as gold dust to us few Merc fans. The beauty of Greece is the serious lack of rust and rot on these ageing machines. Up here in Northern Europe the humidity and moisture takes hold of anything that is 20+ years old and you have to say goodbye to your old favourites. Judging by the condition of this group of transport OAP’s (old age pensioners / senior citizens), they have clearly been worked hard during their lives in the sun but there is not a lot of rust or ruin. Battle scars are of course acceptable and par for the course.

This little lot all seem to have similar bodywork, dropside types and or tippers. Even the mighty F16 looks like it may be pulling a tipper of some sort. Perhaps someone can tell us what Kalamata is known for? Olives? Watermelons? Other Fruit? Must be something like that, as is the way with Greece, supplying the rest of Europe with these delightful summer commodities for us to enjoy.

If you are off on your holidays or should a I say, treating the other half to some top spotting, these are the kind of holiday photos we do want you sharing. Better still if your away slightly off the beaten track, then if you do come across anything you want to share then please email me with a few pics and some details of where you are and what you’ve found, just incase we can’t work it out. Thanks to Peter for this episode of Holiday Haulage.

My email address is: ben@truckblog.co.uk

Fun in The Spanish Sun

What do you do with yourself when you’ve run one of the UK’s most well known international family firms? What do you do when you really are a proper truck spotter? What do you do to satisfy your romance with the open road?……. Got it! Early retirement, but a pad in southern Spain and insist on driving out. Yes the life we’d all like to live but most of us aren’t quite there yet!

The thought of driving out to my holiday home in Spain would be a pleasure especially when it would mean a drive from north to south and being free enough to stop off as and when you want too. This particular trip is the regular route of a certain GW who has well and truly earned his little Oasis in the Spanish sun. None of this Dover Calais lark this time round, the much preferred and slightly more enjoyable boat from Portsmouth to Bilbao with Brittany Ferries is a great way to start. The first bit of truck spotting starts as you pull in the dock at Portsmouth and you’re greeted by a very clean and tidy Jan De Rijk, with a very well sheeted load. A nice race transporter being pulled by the ever posthumously popular Renault Magnum. A truck that seems to be gaining popularity now that we don’t see many about. Onto the boat and a beautiful sunset to finish the day off.

Arrival in Bilbao sees a dock filled with LKW Walter trailers and a quick fill up sees a tidy 6×4 Globetrotter with a double stack of 4 axle trailers. Right up GW’s straße! The route from the UK and Bilbao is loosely; Portsmouth, Bilbao, Burgos, Madrid, Albacete, Murcia and finally onto Mi Casa. Day 2 ended south east of Madrid. Plenty of abnormal loads on the move, with a lot of LASO transport moving various wind turbine parts.

Along the way nearing the end of the journey, there was a quick stop made at a Salón del camión Español at Torre-Pacheco near Cartagena. A gathering like this is a gem of a find and looks like a decent show. From the pictures I think it is fairly obvious that the Spanish have quite a thing for Volvo’s and with more than a couple of decent examples on show, a classic Volvo in concours condition is not uncommon.

The romance of the open road. If you’ve had a lifetime (how ever long that’s been so far!) in transport, no matter what anyone says, it never seems to leave us. GW you are more than welcome to update us on the homeward bound leg whenever that may be.

Classic & Vintage Commercial Show

So it’s been a few years since I’ve last been to a truck show. A free Sunday just landed right for a chance to go to the classic and vintage commercial show me and the wife put the dog in the car and headed south. I’ve been to and competed in quite a few truck shows over the years in the UK and Europe and even won trophies, but I have to say this is one of my favourite shows in England.

Being in my mid 40’s I grew up on 1970’s and 80’s trucks and this was a perfect chance to see some of my childhood favorites and wants. The show is full of like minded people no lairyness, no shouting, pumping music or fighting that now seems to be the norm at UK truck shows. A nice relaxed walk down memory lane of being with my dad.

The set up and staff made the day feel great and soon brought out my inner truck nerd to get the phone camera going. There’s also a model show inside for those that like miniatures and of course the museum which I spent a while walking round few years ago. It is full of interesting old British cars and vans, both preproduction and design specials.

Overall this years show was brilliant, of course helped by a helping of sunshine. If you like your older trucks then I’d definitely recommend visiting next year.

Written by Gavin Pearson.

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.

Scottish Snow Plough Part 2

A relative lay in on Wednesday 30th March, up and onto the Northlink Ferry for 0815hrs ready for an 0845hrs departure and a steady and pretty calm crossing to Stromness, as you can imagine in the winter in can get a little blowy and fairly choppy but no issues for our seasoned owner drivers. actually the only complaint was they didn’t chain Van der Nunn down at the front, which meant he could have left his bull bar on for the trip, image is everything!

Once onto mainland Orkney, it was a steady trip across the island, through Kirkwall town and out the other side. Kirkwall airport is situated to the east of the town. On arrival at the airport the trucks were asked to unload near the airport equipment sheds where the current snow equipment is housed. As you can see their is quite change is the vehicles, the old Fodens and Mercedes have given near on 30 years service, they must have seen some weather in that time! Our intrepid explorers were told that the old trucks are being auctioned off, but sadly I’ve not managed to find them listed anywhere. I’d be keen to know what they go for, if anyone can shed any light??

Through my work, we did learn that only once the airport staff started to put the new equipment in its new home, did they realise that the new trucks were too tall for the shed that’s housed the old trucks. The new truck is lower than the height limit given in the tender, so I’m guessing someone at the airport needs a new tape measure as well as a new snow plough!

Empty and ready to roll by 1530hrs it gave the drivers a bit of time for a drive around as the ferry doesn’t sail back to Scrabster until 1645hrs. Of course there is always time for a photo opportunity and I have to say the pilot of S60 EGN is getting the hang of photos…..

Down into the depths and back on board for the 90 minute cruise back to Scrabster. An almost empty boat meant there was time to take in the amazing g views and coastlines, such as the Old Man of Hoy. Once back on the mainland our pair headed south for reloads not a lot coming out of Scotland at the moment. MWT had an over height, open top container pick up on the wafer deck and Tony was empty back to Hull for a load of tractors.

The second snowplough has already been delivered to Inverness Airport, this coming week the truck for the Shetland Isles leaves Suffolk so that should be another blog in a few weeks time.

Scottish Snow Plough Part 1

When anything logistics wise comes up at work, it usually comes my way to help or advise or even to sort out. So when the conversation comes about on getting four big 4×4 snowploughs plus equipment to various destinations in the Scottish Highlands and Islands, I have to say I was a little unsure how things would pan out. I really needn’t have worried as top owner driver Mike Tasker, MW Tasker Haulage, was already on the case backed up by probably the best abnormal load company in the UK, HC Wilson Transport. The first of the four snowploughs was destined for Kirkwall Airport in the Orkney Isles, in the north of Scotland. Tasker was already employed to do the job of bringing the trucks and ancillary equipment from southern Germany to Barnsley. The ancillary equipment consists of a full 13.6m flatbed load, so essentially it’s a two truck job. My involvement originally started with the leg from Barnsley, north.

Two loads you’re thinking and Tasker is on wafer bed duties, who’s on the flat bed?? Yep you guessed it, the man who operates Mike Tasker’s last truck, the one and only Tony Nunn, Van Der Nunn, Twin Tag Tony, the owner driver of EGN Transport fame, yep you all know him. V.d. Nunn has subbed for HC Wilson himself in various capacities as long as I’ve known him and has always been as professional as anyone else on the Wilson fleet, Tony certainly isn’t just about the tyre shine, he can walk the walk as well. So the ancillary parts were loaded on a flat bed in Wilson’s yard, Tony collected that and met Mike, who had gone ahead with the wafer bed. Both drivers met in Barnsley to load the truck, Tony helping Mike with the job in hand. Once loaded, both black trucks, with red trailers and yellow loads, started the drive north towards Scrabster for the ferry to Orkney.

Leaving Barnsley on a Monday lunchtime a few weeks back, the owner driver duo made it as far as Berwick Harbour for the first nights stop. An early start (0400hrs) on the Tuesday saw the pair carry on up the A1 to Edinburgh and then onwards to the A9. For those who haven’t been there, the A9 snakes it’s way all the way up the east side of Scotland from Sterling/Perth all the way up to Thurso on the north coast, it’s worth putting on your list of roads to drive, especially in the late spring as the colours are changing and the snow is only on the mountain tops!

Both the photos above and below are on the A9, you can see just how beautiful it is. The photo below was taken just north of a town called Latherton, where you turn left off the A9, onto the A9 to carry on still further north.

Tuesday was a long day, the pair ended up with a very well earned evening off and some very pleasant parking in the coastal town of Thurso, just a couple of miles from Scrabster and the ferry to Orkney.

Not such an early start on the Wednesday morning, as the mini convoy only need to travel the couple of miles to Scrabster harbour to meet the Northlink Ferry to Stromness in Orkney, that sailed at 0845hrs. A very empty harbour looking at the photos, not quite the hustle and bustle of the ports on the opposite end of the country! Part 2 of the trip on Orkney to delivery will follow in a few days time. Thanks to both Mike and Tony for the regular photos and updates during the trip, #twintaggingalong etc.

EL Mappo MAN

A week ago my good old pal Seniór Marsh messaged me to say if you’re not busy this evening then can you have a look on Google Street View for this address near Madrigal, Espania. Seniór Marsh had an address and some directions both of which to be fair didn’t give much help as to the final delivery point for the little MAN to find. To give some context, Madrigal is in the mountains due west of Madrid and due south of Salamanca. Anyway the basics came down to; Finca Santa Zita, 2.6km south of Madrigal de la Vera. Not much to go on, so I went old school and got onto Google Earth and started measuring out some distances (while sitting on the sofa in Colchester!). Spanish pop quiz; what does “Finca” mean in Spanish?

Having measure out 2.6km on the map, I basically came up with the map above. On the right of the EX384 as we look at the map, you can see two long tracks to what could both be described as “Finca’s”. Depending where you look Finca means Farm or Estate. I gave Seniór Marsh the above screen shot showing him both options. My thoughts for some reason, leaned towards the lower red mark as the entrance on Street View had this Llama/Alpaca/Deer sign…..

Not much to go on but as El Marshó had to be there early to meet the offloading team, by the wonders of modern mapping, we had narrowed it down to two options within a few hundred metres of each other. Job done and El Marshó happy enough for somewhere to aim for, hotel MAN drew its curtains and I went back to another re-run of Open All Hours on DAVE.

I woke on Friday morning to the above picture from Amigo Marshó, now I’ll leave you to zoom in on the signs……. Good team work right there, especially as I was nearly 1200 miles away. Perhaps modern maps aren’t so different from old school paper ones, but I think it could have been a different story if The only option had been twat-nav sat-nav as the shipper had given the wrong postcode! Tipped and off to his reload, Seniór Marsh was off to Marcilla just south of Pamplona to reload 2x 300kg vibrators for the UK. Nuff Said.

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.

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….