Spare a thought for all the lorry drivers who had to work over new year said a small article in one the papers. There was me wishing I had a reason to get away from the chaos of kids and big family do’s over the festive period!!
Our regular blog favourite Steve Marsh was in Dover in the early hours of New Year’s Day getting on the boat to Dunkerque and off to Germany, no rest for the wicked as they say!
Having managed to get himself most of the way to Aschersleben, Germany on Saturday after a good run. It was time to park up until today where Steve has cleared customs in Aschersleben. Having waited nearly all day today for clearance, Steve is now on his way to Hannover for first delivery tomorrow after a delivery to Munich was cancelled. Then it’ll be back to Blankenberg for another drop and on to a reload. A nice quick trip to get the new year going, Marshy spends a lot of time in and out of England. Often on routes to Ireland as well as mainland Europe. I really should give him a plug as he is the best in Express work and dedicated hot shot loads. If you have such a requirement please call him as he or his team of dedicated subbies will genuinely give you unrivalled service.
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.
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.
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.
Always good to hear from the other side of the world even if it is a quickie. Ex HC Wilson’ Sunnis Martin Minshall is these days trucking about over in Australia. Ozzie trucks always look like they have done or could do a good days works, this one looks to have done a good few days work judging by the little bit of road dirt!!
This Kenworth does do a fairly impressive job. Marginally less hazardous in the wet season perhaps but even so carrying 52 tons of explosive emulsion is not for the faint hearted. This 2 trailer trip was Queensland – Northern Territory – Queensland. Thanks for pics Martin, looking forward to the next snippet.
Well once again the magical world of Manton European has reared its very interesting head. In fact this is an additional line, as since this blog was planned to be published, last night, another Manton blog was created and will be published soon enough. Back to this one…..
I had an email from a Alasdair Cowan, who has recently bought a classic race motorbike to restore and get back to its glory days (much the same as MEFF Part 12!). Alasdair is trying to find old photos and any information on the bike as it was in the above photo so he can get it back to how it used to be. If anyone knows the current where about’s of Dave Manton, would they mind of ask Dave he minds getting in contact with myself and I can pass on Alasdair’s details. Interestingly, when I was sent a load of photos from Rich Tilford, there was one of a Scania rigid, painted up in race team colours. Not unusual to have a company supplying transport or a vehicle for a race team, so I didn’t ask any further questions. As was the nature of Manton’s livery, the green and yellow stands out from the crowd, where ever it goes. Did you see the race team anywhere, are you secret biker?! I wouldn’t worry I’m not about to change to Bikeblog, this only gets on to the blog due to the Manton connection.
My driving career was short lived by some standards, 10 years just about, from the age of 18. I worked hard, did the miles and certainly did the hours. 7.5 tonner then onto a 40t tractor unit, England, Wales, Scotland, northern France, Belgium, Holland and just into West Germany that was my lot. That said as a boy that’s all I wanted to do, so here I am 14 years off the road and I still miss it when I get the chance to reminisce. To be fair the reason for the blog was to fill the void life on the road left, hence using you lot and your quips to get my daily fix. Good days and bad days, long days everyday, punctures, cancelled jobs, debtors and traffic delays, all the downsides that are enough, on a bad day, to make you want to give up being an owner driver or small haulier. The next day you get up, clean pants, brush your teeth, start a fresh and try again. The day goes well, some money made and no broken light lenses. Rose tinted glasses are not something I relate too, but being on the road is a lifestyle not a job. A lifestyle I lived and loved but totally appreciate the hardship that adding in a wife and kids would bring to the party.
For those who are still on the road perhaps plenty more years service than I have, maybe it brings some form of closure and perhaps you do feel like you’ve had enough and want a change of lifestyle. I can fully understand your train of thought, but take one piece of advice, coming off the road is not easy and for some staying on the road must be easier. Much like a member of the armed forces coming back to civvy street, it doesn’t matter if you’ve served a minimum 3 years or 25, you still get help returning to “normal” life, this could be something I can relate too. There is much to be said about being your own boss and being able to do your own thing to a degree. As an employed office worker you are in the same place at the same time pretty well everyday of your working career and that for me is hard to comprehend. Luckily these days I do get to move around East Anglia daily and pretty much at my own discretion. I do still get further afield as well and that is always welcome and if I’m really lucky a night or 2 in a hotel. It’s still not the same as being out and about all week (or two) in the lorry and I Mrs Truckblog will agree, I still very much miss it. Life off the road is no easy journey, trust me.
All that said, it got me thinking about the rose tinted days and how much I’d like one more trip out in my old Actros. Perhaps a trailer out to Meer (B), reload for Frechen (D), reload for Oostende (B) and then another trailer back to B, NL or D and another reload back to the UK. If I could, I’d happily take Claudia (the Actros!) and I know I’d thoroughly enjoy it. Who doesn’t like getting back inside onboard an old flame for one last hurrah!?!
If you could have one more trip in one of your favourite trucks, which one would it be and where would you go?? A few good old boys (need some girls if there are any reading) have sent a few photos already and I have to say they are spot on in matching the thinking behind this blog. Please comment below and post a picture, we all love the romance of the road at some point in our careers otherwise we would never have got out the yard for the 2nd time. Whether it was a form of escapism, for the adventure, the money or even just that you loved cracking on to Macon, even you will have a favourite steed that reliably (or not!) took you up the road. Now get posting and let’s enjoy the trip down Remembrance Avenue as we reach for the flowery sunglasses, we are allowed to enjoy the good times you know, not just dwell on the bad ones.
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; email@example.com
RP and myself thought it was time for an update on the Centurion List as it’s been a little while since we said anything. As with everything we could blame COVID for everything but that’s only part of the recent issues. Firstly book publishers seem to have gone to ground and we are struggling to find a new publisher for the book as the original has pulled out and has no interest what so ever. Not particularly helpful, but you know of or have published your own books then please get in contact. Next we have the on going issues with the Centurion box set model. Centurion number 001 model of fine and looks a treat. The Master Centurion on the other hand, has proved a little more tricky. The truck itself and the detail is correct, the problem is the paint colour. Having spoken to the original painter who painted the truck their seems to be no record of the official colour used. Richard and I had selected a colour that we felt is as close as we can get and also what will look good on the model bearing in mind pearlescent paint on 1:50 scale models is not possible. The paint code was given to the model maker and without any notice or consultation they have painted the truck in a different colour that isn’t correct. This is an ongoing piece so you will also have to bear with us on that please as we want to be as right as we can be for such an iconic model truck.
As for the list itself well we have a little more time to fill the remaining gaps while we try to confirm a new publisher. As it stands we have only 5 on the 100 editions that don’t have an original owner or reg number against them.
Does anyone who anything about; 037, 039, 043, 054 or 068???
We also have 5 or so trucks that we can’t assign to a number and seem to be untraceable thus far. Above we have J606 UOE on AID mission to Romania in 1992. No one at Keltruck can remember or has a photo that shows the Centurion number. We suspect that this was sold on under a different registration number. Anyone know who bought it from Keltruck???
J5 LOS a cracker of a Centurion and one we have plenty of info on and photos of from Blairmore Haulage. Still no number for this one either. Anyone???
J598 AAO was new to AW Jenkinson and then went on to Stephen Sanderson. Neither can remember the number and the following owners have also not been able to confirm the number. Anyone???
This great photo of Cambrian Pet Foods appeared on the Centurion Facebook page from Stephen Vandevoorde and we knew Cambrian’s had a Centurion, but no record of the number. The registration was J727 TRO. Anyone???
We still haven’t solved the mystery of this photo either and all the clues and evidence is there but no idea on the number. Anyone???
Can you confirm the number for J949 EDS please. Belonged to Thomas Douglas and Misfud. Anyone???
Finally this classic. One of her Owners Steve Clark from Essex, is sure it’s number 024 and that fits as we knew 024 was a 450hp and the reg number is J450 MGV, which also fits with it being a Robinsons of Stowmarket truck. Does anyone know anymore about it???
We have tons of info as you can imagine so we don’t really need to go over old ground but if you have anything else you can tell us then please step forward. Happy hunting Centurion lovers!
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!!
I think it started on Instagram and the rest is history! My love of the #littlebigcabclub trucks, is becoming the stuff of legend, so when asked by another member of the club if he could send in a guest blog, what else could I say but yes. George Turner or @european_lorryist as he’s know on Instagram spends a lot of his time driving an LX cabbed MAN TGL collecting house boats from Poland for his business in Portugal. To good a story to miss right?? Over to George for Part 1, Part 2 will follow in due course.
Wednesday 6th January – The truck is always at home with me which is a nice little bonus with this job. I pop out to the little MAN and fire the night heater up, its the first time since living in Portugal its cold enough for an iced over windscreen. Card goes in at 9am and I head off in the direction of Lisbon. A quick pit-stop in Torres Novas to exchange a drop link for my own van, and onwards down the A1 to the capital. My company franchise & transport house boats, and I arrive in the marina in good time without issue. I’m only here to pick-up some paperwork and a few interior fixtures for return to Poland. All this only amounts to around 20 minutes and I’m back up the road and home by half past 1, just a little food prep and laundry to do for the off in the morning. 283Km today.
Thursday 7th. January – Not a particularly early start, loaded the last of my bits and bobs into the truck and I’m on the road at 08:30. Its always quiet on the A23 heading up to the Spanish border at Vilar Formosa, just a quick stop to drop in 50 euros of diesel to last me to the AS24 at Salamanca, AS24 are a bit thin on the ground in PT. Arriving in Salamanca I fill up with 250L worth of diesel, which is not far off what it holds, running a bit close to the wire here! I carry on another hour or so and pull in on 4h29, half way to Tordesillas. A quick bite to eat and back on the road, N/E direction, Burgos, Vitoria-Gasteiz, AP 1, AP 8. Plenty of snow over the hills at Miranda de Ebro, but its all running smoothly thankfully. A few days before this they had been over run with snow and shut the motorway, as they do in Spain. On 8h48 driving and at a quarter past 7, I pull into Itziar Services just before San Sebastian and make use of the empty car park as all truck spaces are occupied. One thing about being in a little truck is not needing to worry about parking, one can manage to find something suitable regardless! 757Km today.
Friday 8th January – 11h off and on I’m the road by 06:30. Cross the ESP/FR border at Irun still in darkness and not bothered by the Gendarmes this time. Usually they’re quite perplexed why an Italian truck with an English driver with Portuguese Documents is heading for Poland empty. I’m usually asked 3-4 times if I’m carrying more than 10k in cash, and then subsequently searched for the said non-existent cash! Carrying on I feel a bit tired, putting it down to having a month out the saddle and a relatively early start, I stopped just after castets for a quick 15 minute snooze. Still dark at this point, but the gendarmes are set up in this particular aire and doing checks on unsuspecting drivers, fortunately again, they left me alone. I clear a traffic free Bordeaux nicely by 10am and head east for Clermont Ferrand. Pick up some more diesel at Perigueux, then over the hills of the a89, snowing at points but all good and keeping at 90ks for the duration! I have to make a bit of a detour to avoid the closed N79 west of Moulins, but then rejoin the n79 for a frustrating 70kmh drive through the road works. I pull in on 10h03 at the last aire before the A6. Loads of space here, but then I suppose its friday night in the middle of france. 833Km today.
Saturday 9th January – Another 11 hours off and card in and I’m away by 05:30. It seems like what trucks are here, are all leaving as well, quite a busy rest area for the time. I crack on for an hour and a half along the A36 heading for Germany, when again like yesterday, i’m feeling pretty tired! I pull in for a 45 minute snooze this time, by which time its daylight again, albeit still white and frosty. Its a fairly long and boring road the a36, but I eventually cross the non existent border and head up the 5 towards Heidelberg. Another road with not much to see on it, as well as being a quieter than normal saturday morning. At Rastatt I pull up for a supermarket sweep, I just end up buying mostly alcohol for home and the lads in Poland though. The supermarket is quiet and i’m back on the road in 20 minutes. A quick AS24 diesel stop at Karlsruhe, then up to the 6 and heading east for Nuremberg. Fairly uneventful drive apart from a small detour north of Nuremberg to avoid an accident. Parked up at half 5, pitch black and again i’m pushing the boundaries on 10h 02. I’m about an hour south of Leipzig. Living the dream on a saturday night so cook some super noodles, hot dogs and had a can or two of Desperados. 856Km today.
Sunday 10th January – Its a half past 4 start on a Sunday, but i’ve only just over 600km to do, so it wont be a particularly strenuous day. 1H30 drive down, I top up the tanks again, plus remember to fill the separate night heater tank this time, its been working over time the last few nights! Onwards and up to Berlin, then east across the border into Poland at Frankfurt-Oder, never any police or problems here. 20Km along the A2, a quick interval for a ticket at the toll booth, then onto the hugely uninteresting drive to Poznan. A little snow in the air again, but solid KM covered, I head north after Poznan on the S5 and stop at Marathon Int. Transport for a final diesel top up, then just 1hr30 left up to Bydgoszcz. A little detour for the new motorway roadworks and I’m outside the boatyard nice and comfortably at 13:30. I Start my 24h rest and immediately set about changing the drivers front wheel as a previous small crack in the alloy has developed into a crack across two of the wheel nuts! Its a quick 30 minute job with the use of a long bar, it takes longer to get the spare wheel off its hanger! I stay put for the evening, cook some more dinner, a few cans and an early night ready for loading in the morning. 662Km, 7h48 drive today.
I’ve never parked up with a frozen load on so the fridge is starting up much more frequently than on any fridge work I have done before. Not being that used to it I’ve had a pretty bad nights sleep and am feeling very tired this morning, but nevertheless I am up bright and early after a nine hour break ready to get going. I have over 500 miles to cover today. My only concern was getting around Bordeaux, which I manage easily enough before 0730. From there on it’s a fairly straightforward day to the port until I arrive to be told I was booked on last night‘s boat. This panics me to begin with, as I am worried that tonight‘s boat could be fully booked and I’ll be stuck here. As it turns out it is like a ghost town. I am able to make a reservation without any hassle and I am ready to catch the 2345 boat back to Portsmouth.
Thursday 24th December
I arrive at Portsmouth at 0645 to disembark and mercifully it’s nice and quick and I’m out of the port within 20 minutes, which most will know is very quick for Portsmouth. All that is left to do now is head back to the yard to give the truck a quick rinse off and I’m done. The reload isn’t due delivery until the 28th of December, so I’m off to enjoy Christmas with the Mrs and my little girl. Merry Christmas everyone and happy new year 🥳.