LowRider Friday

Do you drive a low height tractor unit??

There seems to be more than ever about at the moment. I want to do a Lowrider Friday tomorrow so get sending over your photos please. You can get me on all the normal channels, Facebook, Twitter, Instagramme or good old fashioned email! Come on LowRiders let’s see your trucks, I’m guessing most will be 4×2’s but extra points for 6×2’s!

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My Best Truck of 2014

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For me this is the best truck I have seen in 2014. It might not be the newest, it might not be most practical for most of Europe and it certainly won’t be everyones taste but for me, spot on.

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If you live in the UK and haven’t been to one I strongly advise that you make 2015 your first trip to a European truck show, the standard of trucks is amazing. I can’t deny that the trucks here in the UK are getting better and better but the Europeans just seem to have it right, they all look good. To me the best trucks have always been out of reach of what I could afford or achieve and the T560 is no different. We all joke about winning the lottery but a Tcab would be very close to the top of my list. It’s blue, it’s got two sets of pipes, it’s got a subtle custom interior and enough lights to make it look good but not over the top. As with anything I would make a few subtle changes as I’d want to put my mark on it.

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2014 has seen a big rise in the blogs popularity through all mediums, the Facebook page, twitter and the good old fashioned http://www.truckblog.co.uk website. I’m not going to link to any of those this time round as I’m sure you all could do with a break from the ruthless links and plugs for the blog. I have no idea where the blog will be in another 12 months, hopefully you’ll all still send me stuff, photos, info and the odd piece of trucking memorabilia to decorate TBHQ and I’ll keep bugging the TV companies in the vague hope they’ll see that we need Truckblog TV!

Hopefully I’ll be visiting, Truckfest Peterborough, Crowfield Truck Rally, Gathering of the Griffin, Retro Truck Show at Gaydon, more than likely (and hopefully) Truckstar Festival at Assen as my foreign trip, although I have heard on the grapevine that there is quite a convoy of English motors heading to the International Trucker & Country Show held at Interlaken, CH. I have always wanted to go James?? Finally if the offer is still there then I might just make it to Belfast too.

Anyway thank you for following and thank you for making the blog what it is, without your contributions I’m sure you’d all be bored silly of 143’s, MAN TGL LX’s and Mercedes-Benz photos! As we all do secretly say now and again Keep on Trucking!

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Cool Runnings

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I like a Spanish fridge. Fact. I have no idea why, as in the grand scheme of things they are just a box and you’d think there is no real difference between them. Each time I load one they just catch my eye. Could be because the Spanish ones seem to be a bit tidier than the ones from the rest of Europe.

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Does anyone else see what I’m talking about?? No, same as normal then! Campillo Palmeras are regulars at the moment and I think they are set apart from the rest of the Spanish as you don’t see many black Spanish trucks, but then again they still have plenty of white tractor units and they look equally as tidy.

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Perhaps the old Spanish style liveries are more appealing than the modern, but even so they still look smart. Both Palmera above and Transportes Las Maravillas come with new sleek modern and old tradition style livery and I can’t decide which I prefer.

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Traditional Spanish or Sleek Modern??

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I can’t decide which is best but I know the Spanish are some of the smartest on the road. Probably because they have had years of experience in the frigo market. Year after year bring us our oranges, strawberries, broccoli, cucumber and what ever else. The Spanish have long been big fans of Renault Trucks, both Magnum and Premium since the demise of Pegaso. I wonder if the love of Renault will continue with the Renault T range?! If it does or not I think a Spanish frigo will always catch my eye, they look even better with a TB sticker on!!

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Camiones Espanoles – Entonces Y Ahora

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Recently at work we have been loading quite a few Spaniards back to Spain or back to Paris so they load from the french markets and then head back to Spain. Also recently I have scanned the next batch of 750ish photos from the David Scarff collection. What is the link I hear you ask?? The answer is that some of the haulage companies that Scarffy used to photograph back in the 1980’s are still the same firms that I am loading back to the continent. How many Spanish truck spotters can say the same for the British firms still running to the sun and back. Two Spanish firms that are still doing the run and providing our super markets with year round goodies such as Strawberries, Broccoli and of course those gorgeous Spanish oranges, are the names of Campillo Palmera and of course Transportes Caudete. I’ll start with Palmera.

The livery on the original Pegaso above has developed into the livery on the trailer behind the Magnum below. I think you can see how its developed. The Magnum has the trailer livery that I know and recognise as being Palmera, with the Palm Tree logo on the back doors. Where did the Palm tree come from?? Was it on the back doors of the Pegaso? I’m not sure.

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TB on The Move with Campillo Palmera

But you can see the livery on the Magnum has moved on a bit and as an outfit the truck and trailer show the earlier livery and the newer livery. These days the new Campillo Palmera trucks still have the Palm tree on the side but the overall livery is much more of a European logistics company rather than a classic Spanish haulier. This doesn’t mean they don’t still look good! The new black cabs are smart and I guess these days with air conditioning, climate control and roof top coolers, the cabs no longer need to be white to reflect the sun and keep the heat down in the cab. Even so it’s still good to see the company are still going and are still coming to the UK for our enjoyment in all respects!

Spainish Iveco

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Now as for Transportes Caudete, they still have a fairly traditional livery that is very close to how its always been. Red tractor units and white Spanish looking frigo trailers. Much the same as British hauliers the Spanish used to favour using their own trucks, like the Pegaso, the Spanish Seddon Atkinson. But now due to the demise of these small manufacturers, the Spanish, like the rest of Europe, use the same as everyone else. Although Renault and Iveco seem to be the favourites for these 2 hauliers, we have had a couple of new Volvos come in for Palmera.

Most of the Caudete fleet nowadays are Iveco with a few MAN. This Iveco was only a week or 2 old as the tyres were still immaculate and had that look of brand new tyre about them (good description huh!). The driver was quite happy with it.

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As you can see the Caudete trailers have remained very much the same. Old and new just having what they need to have on them, the company name and what they do. The older trailers do look more continental but again this is down to the improvements in modern trucks I think. There is no longer a great need to keep water and food on the side of the trailers as a modern truck cab has plenty of room for storage inside. I do still like the idea of a water tank on the truck some where, there’s nothing like a cold wash to cool you down or wake you up!

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The one thing that is missing on the modern trucks is the 2 light up sign boards on the top of the cab. The yellow square one and the yellow triangle with the blue background. As I understand it these used to be some thing to do with the ferries, but I need one of you lot to tell me more please? Email me, ben@truckblog.co.uk or leave a message below.

Hopefully more Then & Nows to come, thanks to David Scarff’s collection of photos. It’s possible to find photos of everything, so a big thank you to Mr Scarff and I look forward to the next batch to be scanned (the wife’s not so keen on the idea!). For those whho didn’t get it, the blog title is “Spanish Trucking – Then & Now.”

For Sale: Daily Mini Artic

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Now and again I put a few things on here I find for sale on the Internet, but this time it’s something that i’ve been emailed this weekend. As far as i’m concerned it qualifies for “truckblog” as it is a tractor unit and trailer. Stuart Beevers, from what appears to be his own company, SPB Boat Haulage emailed me asking if I knew of anyone looking for a mini artic. Unfortunately I don’t off hand but i’m hoping that one of you lot does.

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Mr Beevers said the following in his email; “I have a I Iveco Daily 2006 mini artic for sale. It was a crew cab but now converted to a sleeper cab but could quite easily be put back to crew cab as all seats included. Only 60.000km. 2009 rm trailer 6700kg built to move boats but has a remove able alloy flat bed which can carry cars or pallets any thing I am after £26000. P.s it’s does 25mpg empty @4.5t train weight and 18/19 mpg full 10t train weight and only costs £165 a year tax.”

If you have any interest then please email me: ben@truckblog.co.uk and I will gladly put you in touch with Stuart. Perhaps I need to get myself into boat haulage so I can finally get a mini artic!

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IAA Commercial Vehicle Show 2012

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Just over a week ago on a wet and windy evening I landed back at Stansted Airport, complete with 5 blisters and a Bratwurst in my pocket. Last Monday I spent the whole day at the IAA Commercial Vehicle Show in Hanover, well it should have been 9-5 but the German bus driver side swiped a car on the Autobahn on the way, so we were a whole 45 minutes later than planned! This therefore put me onto the Volvo stand 45 minutes after everyone else, so by the time I found it the Swedish stand was already heaving with people gathering to see the ugly but intriguing new Volvo FH. I for one sat and watched the launch of said new FH on the Internet the other week and have to say I was part of the large amount of you who think it is as ugly as the front end of a bus. But when the new Mercedes Actros arrived I was also very sceptical until I saw it in the flesh.

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Having sat up high overlooking the Volvo stand for quite a while I did come to the very simple conclusion that the reason it is “ugly” is only due to the grill, the actual shape is very tidy. We are so used to the badges of trucks being on the grill, is it just the case that it’s different, that is the cause of the visual unlikenment! I’m sure you have seen the photo shopped pictures of the new FH with the Volvo badge mounted on the grill and I think it looks so much better. I think there will soon be an after market pack to change the front of your new Volvo if you so wish.

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Other than the grill issue, the shape of the new Volvo on the outside is rather nice and it seems different. Amazing how designers can make a shed on wheels constantly seem so different from manufacturer to manufacturer! As for the interior, well it is rather comfy. Gone is that old FH feeling of the front of the truck closing in on you. It feels huge inside (a whole extra cubic metre of space), with big lockers above the windscreen along with a rather nice sunroof panel (actually a real escape hatch!), a swivel passenger seat, a table, the list goes on and what ever I write on here won’t really do it justice. It is a Volvo and the quality is Volvo. Designed with you in mind, its super practical but also can be super comfortable if required. My overall opinion of the New FH has been changed. I like it….a lot. Ugly or not, it’s a Volvo, it’s practical, it will earn you money and keep your drivers happy.

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On with the show… The Iveco stand with it’s new crown of Truck of The Year, was amazing orange. The crazy Italians have gone a little colour crazy, but I will say zis once, the Iveco stable gets more appealing!! There you go SW I really did say it, the new Hi-Way Stralis is ok.

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DAF also went with orange, but it kind of suits the new childlike, cartoon front end of the XF, only problem being is that it’s not a kids toy. The DAF XF is one of the most popular trucks in Europe but i’m afraid DAF haven’t impressed many people with the new look, I for one am not keen. Are they old Mercedes Actros headlights?! Perhaps some slightly older adolescence should be offered the sweet bag when the next update is due.

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The Renault stand gave me the feeling that they were trying to divert your attention away from the fact their centre piece was a 22 year old French piece of art. Although the Magnum is still different to the rest, the fact that Renault had the most beautiful girls to attract you in, the trucks were the same as when I went to Hanover in 2010. I’m not sure how they can or will replace the Magnum, but I think a breath of fresh air is required in Renault land.

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Hide it, talk it down, do what you like, what ever you do the R730 Scania is still a beautiful thing in my eyes. On show in a nearly white, silver it is still an awesome piece of kit. If you have not driven the current generation of Scania trucks, then before you slate them, take one for a drive. I still feel there is no truck with a better, more confident ride, backed up with the legendary V8, all its needs is a little something on the inside, but i’m not sure what.

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The Daimler hall was so impressive it was untrue. The size of a couple of football pitches. From the small vans right up to the new Actros, buses and Unimogs, all models were available for you to get your sticky paws on.

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The new Actros in all it’s guises is highly impressive and I have to say that it is still in my top 3. Lovely looking truck. They had a nice little Atego on the stand, but it has to be said that it does need it’s new cab, which will bring it in line with the new range and the new look. More to come on my thoughts of the Atego replacement.

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This just leaves the MAN hall. There was tons of other stuff to tell you about at the show and I will get round to it, but I thought you’d be happy with a general sum up of all the major players. MAN, like their German rivals had a large display, with loads of trucks and lots of buses, as well as the South American Volkswagen trucks. The normal trucks on the stand were popular and each truck has a couple of MAN employees to help guide you round each truck and answer your questions. There was a big special TGS 40.540 tractor unit designed for off road heavy haul use, and I wish i’d taken a few more snaps of the chassis and springs as it was a monster.

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Also, much to my delight and also my annoyance, the gorgeous little TGL 12.250 was one of the most popular trucks on the stand. For my older readers you know I love a TGL and in Germany they are super popular. This particular one is the new Euro 6 model that will be available from January 2013. A new interior along with the new look grill and bumper, will surely mean that this little Tonka continues to be a huge hit. I just wish I could buy one to join the club! …….Dear Father Christmas………

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The whole show was knackering. There is so much to see, but despite the bus drivers best efforts I just about had enough time to see it all and go back and see my favourite bits a second time. Probably a good year to go too, what with the new Merc’s, the new Iveco, new look DAF and of course the completely new Volvo, it was a good day out despite the blisters. I have loads more pics, yes I do, click HERE to see them. Also I will put more stuff I saw at the show on the blog over the next few months. As well as the normal trucks, there are stands of trailers, vans, parts, etc etc etc. In 2014, treat yourself and go. You might even see a full size Lego truck!

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Iveco Stralis HI-WAY Voted “Truck of The Year 2013”

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Yes really!! I know we’ve not heard a great deal about it, but the new version of Iveco’s popular Stralis, the “Hi-Way” has been named as Truck of The Year for 2013. Like me, you were probably thinking it looks like it’s just had a new grill and bumper, but we’re wrong it’s had more than that. Apparently it offers a reduction in Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of up to 4%! Iveco Say;

“The new STRALIS is equipped with Cursor FPT Industrial engines, ensuring low fuel consumption and excellent performance. The unique High Efficiency SCR (HI-eSCR) catalytic reduction system, designed, patented and produced by FPT Industrial, makes the new STRALIS the only heavy vehicle on the market to meet Euro VI emission limits without the use of EGR. The FPT Industrial High Efficiency SCR system reduces nitrogen oxide levels by over 95%. The after-treatment technology of FPT Industrial for Euro VI vehicles is unique and exclusive, since it meets the strict limits for nitrogen oxide emissions, without increasing fuel consumption. The STRALIS Hi-Way comes, in addition, with a thoroughly redesigned cabin. The improved ergonomics and comfort are the product of close cooperation with dealers and customers. The external restyling of the cab has focused on improving vehicle aerodynamics and therefore fuel efficiency, and features a new central grille and redesigned “air deflectors” and a new bumper dam design, among others. The vehicle incorporates new advanced and integrated telematics services, improved customer services instruments and the most advanced road safety features, such as EBS with the Brake Assistant function, Lane Departure Warning System, ESP, Adaptive Cruise Control, Daytime Running Lights, the new Driver Attention Support function and the Advanced Emergency Braking System. To improve driver performance, the new STRALIS adds to the already broad range an offer with the unique “Driving Style Evaluation” function, an instrument that allows the driver to improve driving behaviour in real time. Additionally, if connected to the IVECONNECT FLEET system, this program allows the fleet manager to remotely assess the performance of each individual driver.”