MB 817 still Going International

After all the hype of the little MB814 I saw last week on my holidays, I was sent a few photos from various readers….thank you. Of course there’s always a Top Trump in the pack and it just so happens it was sent it by one of the original 814 pilots himself, Mat Ireland. Out and about in Austria last week on his way to Romania, imagines Mats excitement when his big DAF came upon this little #littlebigcabclub gold member! This is a Mercedes-Benz 817, sleeper with tilt body as you can see. Photoed in Austria heading eastbound, it was most likely heading home to Serbia judging by the registration plate. Another 1000km minimum added to the odometer if not more depending where it had actually been. I do wonder how many miles the old girl had in her but I guess that’s the age old question, I better get measuring that piece of string! Top Spotting Mat thank you.

The Holy Grail of 7.5 Tonners

Those of you who know, know – I’ve heard that phrase a bit this week so thought I’d use it. I love a Mercedes-Benz and I love a sleeper cabbed 814, if you’re into #littlebigcabclub trucks such as this, then you know back in the early/mid 1990’s there was no better 7.5 tonner than the little German. For its day this was a big cab on a small truck compared to the competition who to be honest didn’t really offer a “proper” sleeper on their smaller ranges. Couple the comfort and no speed limiter, back then this made the 814 the ultimate international hot shot truck. I still remember a few days after getting my car licence, I met a chap in an 814 from Nottingham I think. He had a sleeper cabbed version with a crane on and he said all he did was hot shot oil field work all over Europe….perfect. I know my pal Mat Ireland (Now at Transam Trucking) started his international driving career on an 814 with a 20ft Tilt body lucky bugger!

Now the photo above is of a brand new 814 about to be handed over to, I’m sure, a very happy customer, at my now place of work, Orwell Trucks way back in 1992ish as it’s a K registration. I have to say I know nothing about the truck or what it was intended to be used for, but may be it was embarking on its own international career?? Anyway a little cracker in my book.

Imagine my surprise when driving around the Essex riviera this week with the family and in a back street I spot a sleeper cabbed 814. I backed the car up, opened the window and took two quick photos not really taking much in other than it being an 814. Once home I looked at the photo and instantly recognised the number plate. A delve through my archives and I confirmed (only to myself!) that the truck I spotted was the very same truck as I have scanned and have on my work screen saver. So a little now and then photo with a 27 year gap. I looks in pretty good condition to be honest and you can still see the slightly modified original sign writing. I am very very tempted to go back and see what it’s upto and find out where it’s been. Does anyone know anything about it please? You’ll have to be based in an Essex seaside town to know if it’s current ownership but if you know anything else or even have photos of your own 814 then please let us see them on what ever social media platform you prefer or email me; ben@truckblog.co.uk

Irish Flyer – Empty

Off the boat 1750hrs.

Empty Parnell Park, Dundalk – 1920hrs.

Job done then! A good days work done by us all, Marshy was just the chauffeur but we were all there for the ride and supporting role. So empty back to Dublin and back in the dock and all the boats are buggered due to the weather. Looks like Marshy may have an early night or even a lazy Sunday morning. Currently number 2 on the waiting list for the 0810hrs sailing back to Holyhead. Anyone else had just as a productive day?? Well done Marshy, a mother quality example of proper service by a proper good old boy. If you need service then Steve Marsh Express is your man!

Irish Flyer – Off The Boat!

Arrived in Dublin and off into the Irish darkness. At this time of day in Dublin I’m guessing it’s only an hour or so up to Dundalk, according to Google maps it says 56 miles, depending on final delivery address. I am assuming that Marshy will resist the urge for a pint of Guiness at least until he is empty. My thoughts at this stage would be; “Is someone going to be there?” – We’ve all been there, it’s all organised driver, just turn up and they will get you tipped. Well seeing as he’s had a good day so far, let’s all keep our fingers crossed 🤞🏻

Irish Flyer – Check In

Arrived at Morrison’s Holyhead – 1150hrs.

Arrived at Port and checked in the lanes – 1230hrs.

For those outside the UK you can see Leeds in the East, the journey takes you across the infamous M62 to Manchester, round the M60 (Manchester’s version of the M25), then carry on West on the M56 and then onto another of my favourite roads, the A55 which literally runs all the way along the North Wales coast into Holyhead. The 248 miles is how far away I am from Marshy as it’s a WhatsApp location map!

From Holyhead it’s about 3hrs 15mins across the Irish Sea to Dublin, then north to Dundalk which you can also see on the map, on the border between the north and south. Having checked in, GB14 STE will be sailing on the nearly new WB Yeats, a new ship to Irish Ferries which I think will eventually be based on the Ireland France route but is covering the Holyhead Dublin while one of the other older ships gets a refurb. Unless anyone has a quick reload on Saturday evening from Dundalk, the airport or Dublin, Marshy is hoping to get back to Dublin port if he can this evening. Next instalment will come once arrived in Dublin.

Irish Flyer

The challenge is on. Same day Dundalk on a Saturday, loading Leeds. Our man Steve Marsh of the Express fame has just loaded and left on a fresh card from Leeds at 0840hrs. Marshy is the number 1 member of the #littlebigcabclub and it is his little MAN TGL 12 tonner cartoonised on the above tshirts. The tshirts are for sale by the way, message me for details if you want one. Now loaded Marshy is heading west for the 1410hrs sailing from Holyhead on Irish Ferries. Hopefully another update when he arrives at port. By the way, when we say he’s loaded…….

I wish I’d been too…..

As a driver I never did enough European work. I always wanted to take my 7.5 tonner all over Europe but back then the opportunities just didn’t arrive. I was kindly offered various odd jobs through Kevin at Delamode but they never seemed to fit between my regular UK jobs at that point. The photo above was my very first trip to Europe at 18 for DFDS delivering herbal stuff to Boxmeer, NL. Look at me, couldn’t take a photo but living the dream! I did various other trips to Belgium and Holland with the 7.5tonners but not enough and certainly not to all the countries I wanted to get to. I have always wanted to drive to Scandinavia and got close to a once a month contract delivering rave suspension parts from my home town of Braintree to Stockholm but again it didn’t quite come off.

My perfect destination would have been something like Interlaken or perhaps even Cadiz. All of us must have destinations you wanted to get to but never have, even those who are regulars on the long distance routes, you must have, perhaps more specific destinations you want to get to. Of course when I had my tractor unit I would have loved the opportunity of Turkey or further afield but I made do with weekly trips to Belgium, Holland, Germany and the odd little bit of France. Of course doing the Middle East would have been on my list but realistically in my time it was dying out. Of course going to Doha like my Uncle Dick Snow did would have been awesome, following in the footsteps of those drivers would have been amazing. But most of the places I realistically wish I’d got to would have been in the little trucks. In no particular order my top three places I wish I’d got to in any of. The trucks pictured would be;

  • Interlaken, CH
  • Cadiz, E
  • Guernsey, Channel Islands

So here’s the question, be honest as you can be, and no matter how far you have been where have you always wanted to get to?? Near or far I’m not fussed but I’d like to know. Karl Skiltons answer will be interesting I’m sure and I know the three Matthews will have interesting answers too! Come on, “I wish I’d been too…….”