Dover Mystery Machine

I say mystery machine but we can all agree that the evidence suggests it’s a lovely old SK Mercedes-Benz. That said, would you expect to spot it in a very windy Dover, waiting to ship out on a Tuesday evening?? No not really. Spotted by top #littlebigcabclub member Mr Marsh, this old girl was joining the lines waiting to head off to France last night. A few thing to consider, it’s a day cab, it’s a Luton, it’s got a rear loading well, it’s plain white, it’s not your average continental spec is it. Taking all that on board I think it is a regular on the high seas to Europe. Why? Well it’s an 18 tonner but why is it so low, especially for a Luton body, if it was UK only surely it would be taller??

Anyway a little bit of fun, any ideas who’s it is or what it’s doing?? Have you seen a regular shipper outer who doesn’t fit the shipper outer bill??

C390 BBU – Volvo F10

Asking for a friend…. We need some help and more info on the life of a Volvo F10 with the registration number C390 BBU please. It’s current owner and restorer thinks that it used to be on for Kammac’s although we don’t have pictorial evidence. The photo of C390 BBU above suggests that the livery may have once part of the Kammac fleet if you look at the fleet colours in the photo below. Not exactly identical but that is because the photo above is when the truck was part of the Applegate Rental fleet. At the time the above photo was taken in 1990, she was 5 years old. The current owner has spoken to various people and it is thought that the truck wasn’t new when it joined Applegate. Can anyone confirm if this was a Kammac truck or not please?

We are trying to find out the vehicles heritage hence the questions. As all classic truck owners know, it’s nice to know the life of your vehicle. The most important thing to know is of course who had it from new, so if any of you bloggers know anyone who was part of the Kammac fleet or set up, can you see what you can find out please and report back.

As you can see the truck is getting the full treatment and has had a full, proper full, ground up restoration. I have to say that the quality of the work in this is tip top and a credit to the skill of the current owner. Nothing left or ignored, striped right back to the chassis rails and started again. The engine had the same treatment and now looks like new, someone at Volvo Trucks UK should be getting excited about this one!

Please let me know by email or comment below if you know anything about the life of this truck. Thank you bloggers!

Happy Convoy Day!

Melissa : Why do they call you the Duck?

Rubber Duck : Because it rhymes with “luck.” See, my daddy always told me to be just like a duck. Stay smooth on the surface and paddle like the devil underneath

Melissa : But they’re all following you.

Rubber Duck : No, they ain’t. I’m just in front!

Rubber Duck : Here’s the plan: When we get to the pass, we’re gonna put on our fish costumes, pass out the Vaseline® an’ an extra ration o’ rum for the men. That should do it.

BeeDee & Road Route Ltd

Funny how you get talking to folk. I first spoke to Dylan Wren about a truck he was looking to buy, then we crossed paths again recently as he is an ex Centurion owner (#067). It took a little while for all the cigs to work but we soon realised we had spoken before. Having had a few text chats and a few telephone chats now, I could sit and listen to Dylan all day, plenty of tales from a long life transport and soon to be back in it too. Having sifted through 1000’s of photos, Dylan sent me a few over from where he started and where he ended up. Always great to see those who started on a 7.5 tonner, not quite a #littlebigcabclub member but at least he had the big trucker flags in the windscreen!

“Hello Ben its Dylan here found some serious memories today. My first truck D371DFA a Ford Cargo 31 years ago. Also you can see G930FSM a blue Volvo F12 on the net asking who owned it, we did. It’s on the net now in Stobart colours looks fab. From Bee Dee I changed it to Road Route Ltd. Remember the big tanks I told you about? you can see them on N392FWT & N391FWT – 1550 litres on a tag axle.”

“So many memories, you can see my big red Scania Topline and the other big Scania F600FKH which I bought from DS Walker with an Estepe high roof conversion.”

Now Dylan doesn’t mind me saying so, as the demise of Road Route Ltd is on the internet and was the same demise as many hauliers from the same period who were busy trying to make money from a tough industry with ever rising costs. Anyway, I love old tales and one such story Dylan told me involved one of the tag axle Volvos, 3 men in the cab, including Dylan and a rather quick run to Spain. Over to Dylan….

“It was with N392FWT, one of the Volvo FH420 tag’s. A full load of extremely urgent parts to take to the SEAT factory at Barcelona. Their were 3 of us in the cab and we left the yard on Sunday and were back in the yard by Tuesday evening. Boat out and train back in. We tipped Barcelona and collected a return load of fruit from Perpignan back to Lincolnshire. Even had time to fill up in Belgium on the way back, 1000 litres plus!?”

Well I reckon that’s pretty good going, Yorkshire, Barcelona, Yorkshire in just over 48 hours. Now don’t all start making comments and saying it can’t be done. We all know back then, there were ways and means and plenty of you will have similar stories. Thanks to Dylan for sharing these photos and details, hopefully more photos to come judging by the amount of albums full of photos I know he has!

Those who are happy enough to tell us you crazy run stories please do, just keep them believable!

Some Mothers Do ‘Av ‘Em

I’ve always been truck mad since about the age of 3. Until I was 3 it was farms and farm machines. Probably a move to Essex and the influence of my Dads business switches it to trucks. That said I won’t blame the old man for it all as Mum is probably a bigger truck spotter than my Dad. Both very proud and supportive through my owner driver years and always interested to listen about everything else since. Mum has always been interested but I often forget how much of a spotter she is, I would use the word pervert but as it’s my mum I won’t!

Just a couple of examples; when I was 14 or 15, mum and I had been out delivering in a van for Dad and finished in Epping, we then had a couple of hours until we had a collection to do in Brentwood. Easy you’d think, 1 junction round the M25 to Brentwood…… no no no I said can’t we go all the way round the M25 and of course mum said great idea I’ve never been all the way round in one go. Just over an hour later we arrived in Brentwood. The second example was sat in HC Wilson’s office with both Graham and Simon Wilson. We found an old photo and were discussing Dads days with Aston Clinton Haulage, as ACH used to do the New Holland work. Anyway we couldn’t remember the name of a chap who had his own truck that used to do work for ACH and also used to deliver agricultural stuff to Wilson’s. Of course mum remembered his name and where he was from. Only a proper spotted remembers this kind of info and remembers more than the Wilson brothers!

I got an email on Monday from Mum saying she had emailed Jeremy Vine on BBC Radio 2 sticking up for us truckers. As always Jeremy Vine has clearly made some derogatory comment about those he doesn’t understand or below his social class and wound Mum up. So she emailed the above email to Jeremy Vine to stick up for truckers. Sadly and not surprisingly as yet no answer from the BBC. When mum also emailed she tells me that on her WI notice board at the top of the drive for all the villagers to see, she has printed out an A4 Support The Lorry Drivers poster as above.

Today just so happens to be mothers birthday so please do leave your birthday wishes in the comments box. I have borrowed a photo off Neil Jarrold of mums favourite truck, well so she says. When these came out we did spend a little more time than normal on the Volvo stand at Truckfest that year. I was debating whether to put a photo of the lady in question on here but then I thought I can’t do what she did to me this week…… surely some of you have seen, my parents have worked out how to post on the Truckblog Facebook page! Look out for photos of me in my awful house get years coming to a smart device near you soon.

Thanks for being a great big truck spotter and taking an interest in me and my endless truck stories, books and magazines. I hope you’ve had a lovely birthday albeit a little different to normal years. Happy Birthday x

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.

Last Call for Scania Centurions

The Centurion book is being written. Yes it’s taken a few years but Richard Payne and myself are happy that we have almost all the info we can get our hands on…..for now anyway. Many of you have helped and many of you have contributed both information, leads and photos. The current plan is to have the book ready to launch early next year ready for the 30th anniversary of the Centurion.

Please have a think and if you have any thing else to offer (unseen photos would be great) such as information on any of the 6 Unknown’s that would be awesome. As it stands we have no information on original owner s for just 6 of the 100 trucks. That said we have 2 trucks we can’t allocate numbers two although we know they are legitimate Centurions.

Above is a beast of a Centurion we believe was new to Mr Peckham as pictured above. I have spoken to the 2nd owner today and he is sure Mr Peckham was the first owner and then he bought the truck 2nd hand when the truck was just over a year old. That said we still need to know the number of the Mr Peckham / Road Route Ltd flying machine.

Next on the unknown number list is this one. Owned at this point by Stephen Sanderson Transport, having spoken with Mr Sanderson he can’t remember the number either, but he thinks he was the second owner and we believe that this truck was new to AW Jenkinsons at Penrith but again nobody seems to know the number.

We also have the below 143 500 belonging to Blairmore. We made contact but have heard no more. Does anyone know any more about this truck please?

The 6 missing trucks are the following numbers; 036, 037, 039, 043, 054 and 067.

Without being a plonker, can I please ask you to think about what you know as we have an awful lot of info and know all the basics and don’t really want to go back through everything again but this is easier said than done. As we all know anything is easy once you know the answer. We need plenty of photos for alsorts of numbers as I said earlier, but again all the common photos are readily available on the internet. If you have anything that you feel may not have been seen or is your own photo then please email me and I can credit you in the book. My email; ben@truckblog.co.uk

Finally we have a cut off of the 1st of June in order to get everything written and ready for the start of the publishing process. Please email me on the above of make contact through the blog or social media of some kind. Thank you all!!

Ireland to Sweden 197? – Part 2

Following on from Ireland to Sweden Part 1 earlier this week, Roland Simey gave me the follow up leg of the journey through to Sweden. Please remember the whole point of these two blogs was to highlight and remember, these international runs back in the 1970’s were very different to today. Less dual carriageways and autobahns, more borders and less driver comfort, although the 1 Series Scania would have been the number one choice for a many drivers at the time.

Having negotiated central London and got ourselves to Dover, or indeed if you had taken the alternative route to Sweden and got the boat from Immingham direct to Gothenburg, there were of course still plenty of national roads to navigate to get you to your destination, all of course without the modern aid of Satellite Navigation on even mobile phones. Younger drivers everywhere are reading in shock I can tell, as I’ve said before imagine getting in your truck and heading to Sweden with no more than a road atlas, it’s the old way and the best way as you then get learn where you actually are. Anyway Roland did a little more work and concluded with the following; “Well that got me thinking and after comparing my early 70s run and Philip’s later from Killybegs to Stockholm/ Upsalla, Both with Kelly Freight, it is plain to see who had the easier one! Roughly mileages were 660 and 1,700. That is presuming Philip went Dover Zeebrugge Nordhorn Hamburg Tondor Fredrickshaven `Gothenburg. I may be a hundred miles out though.”

Once again thank you to Roland Simey and PhilIp Hegarty for the details and photos. If you are of the older generation, pre M25 days for reference, then I’d love to hear of any routes you remember and how it changed your trips to this of today. Please do email me with tales and photos and I will happily publish them here on the blog. My email; ben@truckblog.co.uk

Ireland to Sweden 197? – Part 1

Unloading in Stockholm – PH.

I came across the above photo on a Facebook group posted by ex Kelly Freight driver Philip Hegarty, I think you’ll agree it is a belter of a photo. Tipping in Stockholm, Sweden. Just look at the others tipping on the other loading bays. Anyway it made me wonder and prompted me to ask the question of just how did you get your load of prime Irish meat all the way to Stockholm in the 1970’s, by this I mean what was the route bearing in mind most of the A74 was single carriageway and the M25 didn’t exist to help you round London and down to Dover like you would today. I don’t think it’s a silly question to ask, as in my 40 years on the planet, the M25 has been there as long as I can remember.

I asked the question and the reply from Philip was as follows; “We mostly went from Ireland to Dover /Zeebrugge up through Belgium, Holland, Germany, Denmark another ferry to Sweden and over to Stockholm. Great times plenty of good places to eat along the way.”

Or another suggestion from a certain Roland Simey; “Earlier Philip, when we loaded out of Killybegs we used to go direct from Immingham to Gothenberg. Half load to Uppsala then onto Helsinki with the rest of the vacuum packed Lobsters. Then when empty, due to the loading restrictions in Sweden, back to Arhus DK to load back to UK or anywhere else!”

All sounds fair enough to me but then I wondered about the actual route, as I said a lack of motorways and dual carriageways back in the 70’s. So being the quizzical chap I am, I asked for a little more detail and this prompted a reply from the one and only Roland Simey, yes he of R Simey Refrigeration (Adastra). Roland is more than qualified to give us directions on any European route from Ireland, so sit back take the wheel and follow Rolands instructions; “From Stranraer , no Cairnryan yet, there were no bypasses until Gretna which was by then dual carriageway until Carlisle then M6 , M1 down to what is now J2 then crossing the North Circular , Holloway Road, Whitechapel, Commercial Road (A13), Blackwall tunnel to Greenwich, Welling in Kent then A2 with the new bypass to Medway before returning on to old A2, past the Gate cafe and through the inner circular in Canterbury, down in and through Dover to the docks, no Jubilee Way. Hope that helps.” ……and to help even more and to give you physical sight of the roads, the following images are taken from Rolands 1973 Bartholomew Road atlas. The first batch are Stranraer to Carlisle.

So now you have made it from Stranraer into England and Carlisle, we should all be able to make it to London, coming in on the M1. If you are then a little unsure as many drivers do try to stay out of London at all costs, here’s a page of the atlas for London. Once you are through and heading for Dover on the A2, get yourself through Canterbury town and then you will queuing for the boat before your kettle has boiled!

A big thank you to both Roland and Philip for their help down to Dover. If you need a few pointers on how to then get to Sweden from Calais, come back for part 2. In the mean time if you still haven’t worked out who Roland is…….