Maggie’s from Wiltshire

I’ll never get bored of doing the blog as long as I keep receiving the odd email, once in a while that contains an absolute gem! I’ve always asked and I will keep asking for you to send in anything truck related and thankfully some of you still do, please keep doing so. This particular email came from Francis Whiting who previously has driven for H.T. Transport from Westbury in Wiltshire (GB). Having received the above photo from Francis of an amazing line up of Maquirus Deutz trucks parked up in the yard around 1980ish I asked a little more and got a little more back. Francis said;

Hi Ben, I worked for  H.T. throughout the 70s and early 80s, it was my first driving job, starting on a 7.5T box van. After passing my HGV I progressed on to artics and general haulage. This is a very grainy photo of the first sleeper cab I drove, taken in Rotterdam in 1978, happy days! Francis.”

Grainy or not, I’ve said it before, I’m not sure these photos would create or suggest such a nostalgic feeling if they were crystal clear digital photos that we all take today. Agree or disagree??

Anyway, thank you Francis it’s always a pleasure to see and hear of firms that are new to me. The beauty of the blog or perhaps I should say, the romance of the road is the amount of hauliers we used to have here in the UK turning a wheel with a great looking fleet. Probably talk of Wiltshire with a fleet of Maggie Deutz’s but may be not so familiar to those elsewhere. If you have any little snippets to share, hopefully with a grainy photo or two, please do email me. Most of you silver surfers can manage an email these days so don’t be shy, my email is; ben@truckblog.co.uk

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Wanted: Ex Sally Line Employees

Wanted: Ex Sally Line Employees. I’m on the hunt for ex Dover or Ramsgate employees who may well be still in touch with and who knew lots of the other employees during the 1980’s and 1990’s. If you know anyone please ask them to make contact with me please. You can leave a comment below or message me how ever you wish but I have a new of enquiry I want your help with please.

City & Surburban

A very few of you may know my idol, the retired Mr Martin Beverley. When he called in at the office last week he very kindly bought an envelope of photos with him. Martin worked for Leyland back in the 1970’s and this little selection of photos was awesome. As is the way with Martin he told me plenty of info about each truck and as ever his knowledge still knows no bounds. This lovely Leyland Marathon stood out for me. The colours of City & Surburban Truck are quite distinctive but I have to say that I’ve never seen one before and I don’t know anything about the company. Martin seemed to remember they could well have been south Essex of East London based.

The big Leyland had a TL12 Mandata engine in it fitted with a turbo to give it that little extra to help it stand up to the Swedish invasion! I’m told that partners with the TL12 was a 9 speed Fuller Road Ranger gearbox with a cable shift. Martin also pointed out the additional spare wheel. This was an option so it may point at a bit of distance work along with the big sleeper cab.

If you can tell us anymore please do. I can’t quite see the address or phone number on the side of the cab but I’m sure one of you will know plenty. Please leave comments below.

Lottery Win Needed to Restart Retro Fleet!!!

How many driver application forms will I need to send out?? For those not in the cool club, I run the ACH page on Facebook and recently the interest has gone through the roof. Loads of ex ACH employees on the page and also loads of photos which is what it’s all about. Those who were there and part of it can reminisce and for those of us who weren’t can enjoy what we missed out on. It’s a true fan page and I have to say it’s a pleasure to have started such an enjoyable page. 

Anyway that’s not the reason for tonight’s blog. I’ve been on a bit of a retro mission the last few months, enjoying lots of 80’s and 90’s that seem to be appearing from various companies and drivers. Now as a retro truck fan I’d love to put a retro livery truck on the road, my choices would be a Ralph Davies truck in the famous black and red or probably more uniquely the beige and black of ACH. If your going to do this wouldn’t it be awesome to find an ex ACH truck to restore and then put a trailer behind. Hard work and impossible you may think…..aha well running the company page means I get to hear about the lost and found department!


As it stands right now I know of two tractor units that are still taxed and on the show circuit and three box trailers that are still bearing the beige paint work. Admittedly two of the box trailers do need new chassis to sit on but it’s a start! The Volvo above is F81 HFC and is still taxed and on the road in Ireland. The picture above in white was taken at a truck show in Ireland back in 2015 but I’m sure I’ve seen it in some show photos this year. I have to say that it is still in very good conditio and looks like it would just need a coat of paint. I know some of you won’t agree but just imagine rubbing it down and fining the original paint underneath. As we all know the main stay of the ACH fleet was Volvo and Scania so I was very pleased to see a reader post on the page today, showing one of the 143’s at the Shropshire truck show last month. Apparently she now resides in Mid Wales, does anyone know the owner?? This really got my brain working overtime as both myself and my truck show buddy, JC have talked over a late night beer about rolling up to the Oldtimers section of the Truckstar Festival in Asset in a pair of ACH trucks……perhaps that dream isn’t a million miles away, if only the lottery numbers would come in!


Why does it all come down to money?! All I want is show truck, Richard Branson can you lend me some cash please? As I say the trucks are both still on the road and being kept running but sadly the dream comes to very rusty and slightly wheeless hurdle when we talk about the trailers. I know where (lots of you know where) Euro 94 is sat, a tri-axle box that has been sat for a good number of years, but at least it still has wheels and a chassis. I say this as the other two trailers haven’t faired quite so well, they are now used for storage but have been lifted off their wheels and put on the floor. Hey ho, I’m sure one of you has the skill set to get the majority of the wriggly tin back on something towable. 

There can’t be many firms that are no longer around that still have a number of vehicles still around. I know all the ACH trailers got taken to France after the Norbert Dentressangle buy out as there are photos on the Facebook page. In fact a friend of mine bought a couple of the tilts, fetched them back to the UK where he cut them down to flat beds and sold them to Russia. The very same friend claims he still has the tilt cover some where, but as yet I’ve not seen it. You know who you are! 

If only the dream could come true and these five could get back together. The truck show trips would be unbelievable but it did get me wondering how many drivers I could recruit if I put them both back to work?? Who’s in? It’s 2017, who wants to join up to drive an F12 Globtrotter and a flat top 143 to Europe and back for me?

Do you know of any other ACH vehicles that are still about? Please comment below. 

Truck Provenance 

Is there such a thing? – Discuss. 

According to the Oxford dictionary the meaning of the word Provenance is as follows; “a record of ownership of a work of art or an antique, used as a guide to authenticity or quality.”

Firstly to get this out the way, I’m sorry to use a Scania in this blog but it is the perfect truck to discuss my point. Having been to the almighty Retro Truck Show and speaking with various people about various ageing trucks I find myself more and more interested in the trucks history. Working trucks are exactly that, even when they are retired and restored they still have a past much like all of us. For me as you’ll know I love long distance stuff so those trucks that have been further than some are what interest me. Much to my delight my good friend Mr Nick Garlick is the very proud owner of L500 RDF, an ex Ralph Davies International Scania 143 500. As anyone with a trucking brain knows Ralph Davies have been there and done pretty well all of it. I also know from talking to Nick and others that L500 is a well deserving retiree. There is plenty of photo evidence of L500 out on her travels and this is where my interest comes. With all the lovely trucks at these shows, no matter how much has been spent or no matter what they look like now, I can’t help thinking about where they’ve been. The provenance that L500 has is huge and while sitting in her while ticking over in the dark got my mind wondering some what. Yes I’d had a few but, the truck looked black in the mirrors and the dash lights were on she was purring. I was sitting in a drivers seat where a number of proper drivers have sat before me. Famous fridge trailer attached heading for Moscow, Novabirsk, Lisbon or Athens this truck has done it. To me having a truck with such a rich past or provenance is worth more than money can buy. Yes you can pay for anything to help restore a truck or make it look better but you can’t buy it a new past. I’d rather have a truck with this than anything else. Speaking with Karl Skilton of Astran subbie fame, he pointed out a number of things on his Astran Volvo that only a true Middle East driver would know about and most replica Middle East trucks will never have. Why? That Volvo has a true provenance, a past, it’s actually got the Tshirt. That to me also gives it the allowance to look a little more worn round the edges (no offence intended Mr Skilton!). So back to “provenance”, I’ve used the word enough I think but what does it really mean? To me it’s the proof of a working truck. It’s the value that truck has earn’t during its life, I honestly think I’d pay more to own L500 (no matter what state it was in)  compared to an identical truck that has only ever been a UK truck. Does that make any sense? Preserving a truck that has been a part of the UKs golden age of long haul intercontinental trucking, to me is worth doing and I wouldn’t mind paying a premium for it. I wouldn’t tell Mr Garlick any of this but to me, in the case of classic trucks provenance is everything. No matter what it is or where it’s been it’s worth saving, afterall we all like different makes of truck and even different sectors of the transport industry. I pity Mrs Blog as and when we win our mega lottery win as I will be “saving” trucks left right and centre! The meaning of Provenance is as follows; “a record of ownership of a work of art or an antique, used as a guide to authenticity or quality.”

Just for the Antiques Road Show or the great works of art by Monet or Van Gogh and friends?? No not at all, a record of ownership can be interpreted as the history of the truck, the life it’s led, owned by one of the greatest, most well known names in road haulage. To me this can 100% be used to prove its authenticity or even the quality. 


New Anglo Dutch DAF

Anglo Dutch Model Trucks are fast becoming the go to guys for top quality small run UK and European model trucks. Boss man Steve is passionate about truck models and what I like is that he is passionate about the small details that set his models off from the rest, bumper and GB stickers and the like. The latest model ready to pre-order is an ARGS DAF drawbar. It looks a real belter and looks so 1980’s it’s amazing. Get ordering as with all ADMT models it’s a small run of top quality trucks. Details as follows; 

Make: WSI Models Holland

UK Classics 200 series 

Country: UK London
Scale: 1/50
Quantity: Certificated 200 Pcs
Model Details: Diecast metal model of a Daf Spacecab Drawbar outfit in the livery of ARGS london England.
Estimated Release Price : £165  

Retro Show 2017

Last year blog readers voted Lee Herbert’s Retro Truck Show as their show of the year and I think it could well be in the running again this year. A small show with bags of quality, plenty of trucks and enough truck enthusiasts to sink a battleship. The one thing this show seems to attract is proper truck nuts, those who know their trucks and those who don’t want tons of commercialism. If you like trucks and you like looking at and talking trucks from the golden years then this is the show you need to put in your diary for 2018. Quite often it would seem that all the retro trucks are Scania’s as they seem to have lasted and are obviously very popular. This year there was definately a few more Scania’s but what was very noticeable was the increase in all other marques. Plenty more Volvo’s, DAF’s and of course the rebirth of the original Italian Stallion, the Iveco Turbostar. What can you say about them?? They have a reputation as a flying machine with their monsterous 17 litre, V8 engine and getting up close they do give a feeling that they just want to fly! You could have taken your pick from black, blue or red and they were all in full “Iveco Special” livery. Even though I’m not a lover of red, the red one just looked the business in my book. Perfecto!As I mentioned earlier there were a number of other marques that haven’t been at the show in the last few years and it seems a wider variety of trucks are now being saved from the rust devils. Bedford, DAF, Ford, MAN loads of  ERF and a few others. All the trucks at this years show bought back many memories for all I’m sure and this is really the essence of the show. In the least geeky way possible this really is an enthusiasts show. For me the highlight of being there is meeting the people who lived and worked through the golden years. I could listen to drivers stories for ever. The images that are conjured up in my mind can’t be far from the truth and it just makes me wish I was 20 years older!! Ex Middle East stories, Astran stories, Ralph Davies stories (someone needs to write an RD book!), Scottish stories, Irish flyer stories and of course good old English stories. It’s a weekend of talking and enjoying each other’s company even if the weather tried it’s best to ruin it, although I’m pleased to say without success. One thing I must add is that this year I took my first truck to the show and what a truck it was. I was privileged and honoured to be asked if I would take the delightful new Scania 143 of Ken Thomas to the show. Truck owner one John Thomas (son of Ken) was due to go to a road run with some other trucks so asked if I wanted to take the 143 on its first UK truck show outing. How could I resist. Much like a kid in a sweet shop is how I managed. The truck is a dream to drive and the paintwork, well what can I say. More than anything, everyone made a comment on how good the paintwork is. A full custom leather interiour finishes the truck off. I would personally like to thank John for trusting me with his new pride and joy and I will happily volunteer for more Show duties if needed. Thanks John. As for the rest, please click HERE to see the other photos I took. Just to many good trucks to put on here and all a credit to their owners and restorers. One thing I like more than anything about restored trucks is the provenance some of them come with. By this I mean there are just a few ricks at the show that have lived the life and been there and definately done it more than others. To see these trucks at the show is awesome and just proves that UK truckers were and still are the best in the business, well the true core drivers are! There were a Ralph Davies Volvo and Scania at the show and to sit in the Scania and just think where they have been to and returned from year in and year out is mind blowing. As for the Astran Volvo, still in working condition but who cares! She’s lived the life and deserves to be a little scruffy round the edges, although Karl does say she’ll get a little touch up sooner or later.That’s it for another year and I will defo be back in 2018. Whether I have a truck to take or not is another matter, but I suggest every one of you put it in your diaries. True truckers will be there enjoying what’s left of drivers cammoraderie and talking about the trucks that gave the UK it’s pioneering name in road transport. Well done Lee and team, excellent show. May be, just may be Truck Show of the year 2017??!