Pooltransporte with MATI-Trans MAN(s)

More little MAN TGL’s I’m afraid, but if you cant appreciate them by now, then maybe move along. As always these little beauties seem to appear in my Facebook feed, I see them on the road or better still, regular bloggers find them out and about on the roads of Europe. This time, it was a couple of photos taken by Murray Grant at Gieselwind Autohof of the truck below taking a little break in the Germany sunshine.

Having looked then up on the internet and found they have a Facebook page, Click HERE, looking through the photos and reading the info, the Austrian company do what they say, Pooltransporte. Borders are no boundaries it would seem for a quality swimming pool and with a decent array of trucks, trailers and plenty of mini artics, you can have your new pool delivered anywhere in style.

Click the link here to go to the company website: Mati-Trans Pooltransporte

Whether an artic with a specialist lowboy or a little rigid with a trailer, making a great looking combi, they all suggest a company that is a leader in the service they provide and also are incredibly image conscious. The trucks look awesome kitted out with lights, lightbars, headboards, air horns, metallic paint, a great livery and finished off with private registration plates!

Painting of the Gr814

It’s now been a year since she’s been in the UK, MOT’d, registered, taxed and now the show season is nearly upon us I really want to get her painted and I know I’ve asked you all before for your opinions. Their is a great NG1633 that has been restored in Germany by the great Holger Hahn and I have to say that I want to turn the Gr814 into a bit of a mini me if that’s ok with Holger??

Here’s the plan;

The cab and roof deflector currently silver, both painted in Sky Blue RAL5015.

Front bumper only in Astral Silver which is MB9735.

Cab steps, front wings, chassis and fuel tank in Deep Black RAL9005.

Wheels – undecided.

There is reasons behind the choices that make sense to me at least. I’m all about keeping the truck original to its year of manufacturer 1989. The only blue available in the UK price list for that year is RAL5015 Sky Blue, that’s the cab and roof deflector sorted. I like the contrast of the silver bumper on the 1633, so it makes sense to use Adastral silver for this, as this is the colour of the cab currently and the colour it left the factory as. It also then keeps the original colour on the truck. This leaves the chassis and front wings. I like the black front wings on Holgers truck and as the chassis has been Deep Black (was known as Jet Black) since new, again it makes sense to keep it the same, keeping it original. I have to say although it looks good on the 1633 I’m not a fan of the factory standard chassis colour that both MB and MAN used to use and I’m not sure it will work so well on the smaller chassis on the 814.

If any body shops are reading this and want plenty of publicity and mentions for the next 12-24 months and want to paint the truck for free or as close as, please get in touch. I see it like a demo kitchen, get it for virtually nothing but it then becomes a physical advert for your work and I’m sure I can get your company name on the truck somewhere. To be discussed if you fancy the challenge.

EL Mappo MAN

A week ago my good old pal Seniór Marsh messaged me to say if you’re not busy this evening then can you have a look on Google Street View for this address near Madrigal, Espania. Seniór Marsh had an address and some directions both of which to be fair didn’t give much help as to the final delivery point for the little MAN to find. To give some context, Madrigal is in the mountains due west of Madrid and due south of Salamanca. Anyway the basics came down to; Finca Santa Zita, 2.6km south of Madrigal de la Vera. Not much to go on, so I went old school and got onto Google Earth and started measuring out some distances (while sitting on the sofa in Colchester!). Spanish pop quiz; what does “Finca” mean in Spanish?

Having measure out 2.6km on the map, I basically came up with the map above. On the right of the EX384 as we look at the map, you can see two long tracks to what could both be described as “Finca’s”. Depending where you look Finca means Farm or Estate. I gave Seniór Marsh the above screen shot showing him both options. My thoughts for some reason, leaned towards the lower red mark as the entrance on Street View had this Llama/Alpaca/Deer sign…..

Not much to go on but as El Marshó had to be there early to meet the offloading team, by the wonders of modern mapping, we had narrowed it down to two options within a few hundred metres of each other. Job done and El Marshó happy enough for somewhere to aim for, hotel MAN drew its curtains and I went back to another re-run of Open All Hours on DAVE.

I woke on Friday morning to the above picture from Amigo Marshó, now I’ll leave you to zoom in on the signs……. Good team work right there, especially as I was nearly 1200 miles away. Perhaps modern maps aren’t so different from old school paper ones, but I think it could have been a different story if The only option had been twat-nav sat-nav as the shipper had given the wrong postcode! Tipped and off to his reload, Seniór Marsh was off to Marcilla just south of Pamplona to reload 2x 300kg vibrators for the UK. Nuff Said.

It’s a New Year MAN

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.

If needed please email Steve at; cab@stevemarshexpress.co.uk

Or visit his website for full contact details; www.stevemarshexpress.co.uk

Trucks of The Year 2021

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.

©️Tim Andrew

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.

Attention to detail.

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.

My son took my picture next to the truck I had on my wall as a boy.

The Gr814 – D to GB

How do you solve a problem like Maria getting a truck from Germany to England on a very tight budget?? Call in a load of favours and ask those close colleagues from 25 years in the transport industry what they can do to help. So I have a best mate who was shipping more JCB’s out the country than anyone else for a few years. Said BM was able to negotiate a very decent package for shipping the truck from Bremerhaven back to Harwich, but at the shippers discretion. Meaning when the boat was empty and wasn’t pushed for space. This also meant that it would be down to the shipper to tell me when he wanted it. Not to bad at all other than the truck was still 102 miles away from Bremerhaven.

Time to bite the bullet. As I had half a plan I went back to Tobi (the seller) and put the current plan to him, thinking he might be able to make a suggestion or suggest a company close to him who may be able to move the truck for me. Tobi came back to me straight away and offered to drive the truck himself to Bremerhaven as it would be a nice little “good bye” drive to a truck that had served him very well. Once again a great help from Tobi. The only downside was it meant having to buy some export plates so the truck could driven after Tobi had de-registered it from his name which we had to do so I could arrange customs, don’t forget this was a month after Brexit as well as the Covid effect. You see it really wasn’t the best easiest time to be buying a new toy! About a week after the plan was hatched, the call from the shipper came and they wanted it on the sailing out of Bremerhaven on the 16th February. This gave us a little time for Tobi to do the necessary at his local tax office (such a great and seemingly easy way to do everything vehicle related in a local office rather than dealing with a single national association based in Wales!!) and we opted for 2 week Transit plates just in case. Tobi planned to take the truck up to Bremerhaven on the 15th February so it was there ready and waiting for the boat to arrive the day after.

As you can see from the photos this would have been as easy 102 mile ride apart from the snow came down in Germany and made for some very tricky driving conditions. Being an expert racing driver Tobi had no real issues apart from needing a little help from the Polizei to get over the brow of a hill! Having made it to Bremerhaven Tobi checked in and was asked to drop the truck on the quay for the night so it was ready to load in the morning.

The following day, the 16th February, I heard nothing so I’ve always been a “no news is good news” type of chap and I assumed the truck had made it onto the boat and left Germany for the UK. I was correct and the next call I got was to say the truck was sat on the quay at Navyard in Harwich, 30 minutes from my house. Customs was done and paid for while the truck was enroute and I was therefore free to collect the truck on the Saturday morning and take it home.

Once in Harwich I was greeted with the above. I cannot tell you how nervous I was, from the point of view we hear so many horror stories of vehicle sales where people don’t view the motor first, but I was more than surprised and more than happy. Tobi Marggraf from Racing Team Marggraf had been true to his word and the truck was in great condition. All the paperwork and German registration documents were in the glove box including some original owners paperwork, more than I needed but again proved how honest Tobi had been. I needed all the original copies of the German paperwork to make the UK registration as easy as possible. This just left me to start her up and take a very very enjoyable trip back up the A120 and A12 home. Thanks Tobi you know I will look after her!! One truck purchased and shipped back to the UK for a touch less than what the truck had originally be advertised for. Happy blogger.

The Gr814 – The Deal

I’m sure during lock down all of us spent more time scrolling through Europe’s used truck ads than ever before. I’m sure during lock down all of us spent more time buying things online than ever before. Add these two scenarios together and can you guess what happens??

On the 24th January at 2049hrs (iPhones save the date and time of images!) yet another search on mobile.de threw up the image above. How could anybody resist! I ran through the photos on the ad and the truck looked immaculate and claimed a genuine 260,000km on a truck made in 1989. The truck is an 814S sleeper, which had a factory conversion into a 7 seater, 3 singles in the front row and a 4 person bench seat in the back. Through the nature of my day job, I checked the original build spec and the truck is as it was the day it left the factory, even the paint colours are still the same.

I’m a sucker for a 7.5 tonner and sleeper cabbed one at that, add in the mini artic bit and it’s like Christmas Day all over again. I had to have it!! I WhatsApp’d the seller (Tobi) straight away and he replied with some detail and some more photo’s- the deal had to be done and it was within my very small budget and if the seller was being truthful and the photos weren’t hiding anything then the truck looked pretty straight. The truck has spent its years pulling race trailers around Europe so the mileage would be pretty low bearing in mind all the sitting around between events and also when at events, so the mileage could be genuine. Maybe a few days later and a deal was struck, we were still in lock down here in the UK which meant I couldn’t get out to collect it so a plan had to be worked on to get her back to the UK. Was I nuts? Buying a truck over the internet, from Germany, from a man I had never met or actually spoken to, in lock down….

….who cares, sometimes a risk needs to be taken. The seller Tobi, was very helpful and gave me copies of all the paperwork by email and also sent me a receipt for payment on his race team headed paper with all the official details. Tobi also said the truck could stay with him for as long as it took me to come up with a pick up plan and he was happy to help in anyway he could. So finally I was a truck owner again, with what looked like a genuine mini artic tractor unit and all I had to do was get it from Bad Fallingbostal, Germany which is approximately halfway between Hanover and Hamburg. The only thing I knew at this point was, sadly it wouldn’t be me driving it back due to lockdown restrictions.

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 race 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…….”

Spotted: My Old Atego!!

Spotted this morning getting on the M5 at Taunton, only my old Atego!! I’m so excited. It must have released a load of racing pigeons as it was in a mini convoy of other bird carrying trucks. Jack Rigby was quick enough to get some video coverage and I’ve no doubt it is AV52 KGU, now taxed until April 2022. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE can someone tell me more about who has it, who runs and what the new reg is. It’s probably heading back up the M5 and M6 as we speak back to it’s north west base. Come on truck detectives, tell me more!