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??

The Beast of BeneLux

In the wonderful world of Mercedes-Benz and the family network across the world of Daimler Trucks, we sell a huge variety of different marques and models from Freightliner to Western Star, to Bharat Benz and the vast array of FUSO chassis available, I have to say I still think the best of the lot is the new Actros / Actros 5 / MP5 or how ever you prefer to call it. There is also a loyal following of truck sales staff across the world that we get to meet and talk to via social media these day and I can’t wait to see how my Australian colleagues get on with MirrorCam on their road trains and also how long it will be before Freightliner catch up the Actros on fuel. Anyway I do digress slightly, so back to the top. I have come to know a salesman from Mercedes-Benz BeneLux who by all accounts sells some belters and has already clocked up 30 SLT’s, those are the heavy haulage tractors. So when Geert Groeninckx messaged me and asked if I can keep I secret of course I said yes! Luckily now the secret is out and I can share these photos with you. This is how Mercedes-Benz Trucks roll in Belgium and Luxembourg……..

The press release from Our BeneLux friend reads as follows, this is a direct translation into English and I will follow it up with the words for our European readers too;

Last Thursday, some customers and prospects of Mercedes-Benz BeLux were introduced to the sporty AMG range at the Circuit of Zolder during the Petrolhead Days. During the break, our new show truck also had the opportunity to drive a few laps. 🤩

Thanks to Olivier Dekens “OlliVision” and Ivan Tarantsov Photo for these beautiful pictures!

Afgelopen donderdag maakten enkele klanten en prospecten van Mercedes-Benz BeLux kennis met het sportieve AMG gamma op het Circuit van Zolder tijdens de Petrolhead Days. Tijdens de pauze kreeg onze nieuwe showtruck ook de kans om enkele ronden te rijden. 🤩

Bedankt aan Olivier Dekens “OlliVision” en Ivan Tarantsov Photo voor deze prachtige foto’s!

If you fancy a new Actros in LHD that will give you some of the best MPG or KM/Litre then the truck is still for sale. Remember it doesn’t just look good, it has world leading technology to make this the safest and most advanced truck on the market, as a 4×2 it can be stage 3 autonomous. It’s just this one looks better than most of the rest! What an awesome looking truck, 4×2 tractors still look proper to me especially when being chased by a couple of AMG’s!

Right who’s got the phone number for Silverstone…….

Piggy Back to Burgos

….a bit further to be fair but it was all I could think of! Hello bloggers it’s been a while hasn’t it. Been busy with lockdown, furlough, home schooling, back to work, DIY and what ever else, so apologies for the absence, certainly strange times for all of us.

If we could I’m sure we’d all do a “Graham” and get in the car and bugger off to our own vista in the Spanish countryside away from everything and everyone. I noticed GW shipping out in his trusty Galaxy earlier in the week. Please to say the old boss hadn’t forgotten me on his run to the sun. As it goes I have quite a lot of you thinking about me, well they are your words…..”saw this and thought of you”…… you know how it goes.

Anyway just a quick blog, in times of lock down, nothing like a couple of photos of a truly European set up with this trucksporter. Three new Swedish Scania’s made in French France, on the way to Portuguese Portugal, loaded on a Spanish based German made Mercedes-Benz, with an Italian built body. Any guesses on the nationality of the driver?? Mr Wilson took the photo on Thursday on a quick stop on the A1 near Burgos.

A Nearly New-by LP

The blog gains a few fans every week and more and more are asking if they can write a blog or I ask them if they want too. Either way it means we all get to enjoy a wider variety of trucking stories. This time around I asked my friend, Dominic Newby, of MB Roadstars fame, if he would write a few words about this “as-new” Mercedes-Benz LP 1626. Luckily for us Dom is happy to share his photos and a few words about this Danish beauty. I think it needs a retro frigo trailer behind it though, who agrees??

The LP 1626’s cubic cab is the very model of minimalist design; debuting in September 1963 at the IAA in the heavy duty category it’s huge windscreen, surfaces and right angled lines, the vehicle’s exterior is modern, even by today’s standards. The design allowed the driver to experience a new world: a comfortable entry, space behind the wheel, a magnificent panoramic view and a minimal sized engine tunnel. The LP’s tilting cab was immediately recognisable by doors drawn to the height of the bumper and the slightly raised roof was integrated in 1969.

“I was lucky enough to experience one of these beauties at the recent Stuttgart Retro-Classic. This LP is a dump truckconverted to a fire truck and is now in its third lease of life as a semi-trailer tractor unit, despite these different ‘lives’ it has hardly been used. The gears feel just as they did on day one, the V8 growls at the first rev and the frame and chassis are a million miles away from rust and bearing damage. It could have just rolled off the production line.

“After a lengthy restoration converting the old fire truck the finished article is simply stunning. The theme of the LP is Denmark; there is red and black patterned material on the rear wall and on the mattress, the engine tunnel is upholstered in red man-made leather and there is fur on the seats. The rear wall also contains a lampshade bought from a flea market, all of which lends character to the cab. On the exterior, fire engine red is combined with green along with a ‘Danmark’ illuminated sign on the roof. This LP is truly one of a kind and is exactly the type of lorry I would love to add to my collection – long live the true ‘retro classics’!

New trade name for Scania’s S-series sleeper cabs

Interesting bit of news from Scania. Something I had wondered about myself, manufacturers who use similar model names to others. Just a thought but I wonder how DAF and Jaguar feel about sharing the “XF” models?? Here’s the info from Scania;

Scania is renaming their most premium trucks, the S-series. Instead of the letter S followed by the actual horsepower, the new trade name will be the horsepower followed by an S, like 450 S or 730 S. The reversed naming order applies only to the sleeper cabs with a flat floor. Behind the change lies an agreement with Daimler AG, parent company of Mercedes-Benz.

Scania’s current way of naming trucks by the cab series followed by the engine power was introduced back in 2004 with the introduction of the PGR series. The new type of trade name for the S-series, with the horsepower figure stated first, will be introduced on S-series trucks ordered from now and does not affect any other trucks.

“By making this adjustment, we fulfil an agreement we have made with Daimler, says Alexander Vlaskamp, Senior Vice President, Head of Scania Trucks. We are keen about protecting our brands and recognise why Daimler, with their long-standing S-class passenger car history, had an issue with the S-series trade name.”

The new Mercedes-Benz Actros – International Truck of the Year 2020

WHHHoOOOOOoo-HHHooooOOooo!!! I am some what pleased about this announcement yesterday evening, but then i am somewhat bias towards the three pointed star. Having spent much time with the New Actros and driving them here and on the continent, they just get better and better and do make driving easy, relaxing and almost pleasurable! As it stands there isn’t a truck close to the Actros with all the new technology that i have no doubt will creep into all 7 manufacturers in the next few years. The massive talking point that is MirrorCam will be totally accepted by the time the seventh manufacturer launches their own version. Anyway, well done Mercedes-Benz Trucks, a very worthy winner. Here is the official press release from MBUK;

Specialist commercial vehicle journalists from 24 European countries voted last night (20 November) for the Mercedes-Benz Actros to be crowned Truck of the Year for the fifth time.

The truck’s success story began back in 1997 when the first Actros was released, and the subsequent vehicle generation also brought home the award. With a total of nine victories, Mercedes-Benz is now the most successful brand in the fight for the Truck of the Year accolade.

The International Truck of the Year (ITotY) jury based their decision on the fifth-generation  model’s host of innovative technological developments. Professor Dr. Uwe Baake, Head of Development at Mercedes-Benz Trucks, received the award at the Solutrans international commercial vehicle show for road and urban transport in Lyon.

The industry’s most coveted annual accolade is presented to the truck which makes the biggest contribution towards road transport innovations that are advantageous to the economy, emissions, safety, driveability and comfort of vehicles.

Most of the innovations incorporated within the new Mercedes-Benz Actros range were developed with the precise aim of delivering palpable improvements for drivers, operators, and society as a whole. The Actros offers major advances in safety, efficiency and comfort. Its multitude of new features includes the Multimedia Cockpit, MirrorCam instead of external mirrors, and partially automated driving with Active Drive Assist, as well as ground-breaking safety systems such as Active Brake Assist 5, and the improved Sideguard Assist.

The International Truck of the Year journalists had plenty of praise for the extended functionality of the forward-looking Predictive Powertrain Control (PPC) cruise control system, which can now be used on winding arterial routes. Also commended was the digital Multimedia Cockpit, which replaces the conventional instrument cluster.

The President of the international jury, Gianenrico Griffini, commented: “With the introduction of the new Actros, Mercedes-Benz has brought onto our roads a highly modern truck which smooths the path to achieving automated driving in the future.”

Speaking at the awards ceremony in Lyon, Professor Dr. Uwe Baake said: “We are very pleased and proud that the Truck of the Year jury has recognised our efforts of the past months and years with this distinction.

“Thank you on behalf of the company and the entire team. This will really spur us on to continue giving our all and fulfilling the highest developmental standards for our trucks, especially when it comes to the future-oriented topics of electromobility, automated driving and digitalisation within our sector.”

Mercedes-Benz Trucks UK Managing Director Mike Belk added: “As the International Truck of the Year judges clearly recognised, new Actros is a genuine game-changer. With cutting-edge technology such as MirrorCam, Active Brake Assist 5 and the latest version of Predictive Powertrain Control, this remarkable vehicle offers major advances in terms of safety and operational efficiency.

“Meanwhile, not only does the Multimedia Cockpit provide drivers with completely new control options and a much improved, more comfortable working environment, but it also offers greatly enhanced fleet visibility and connectivity for managers.”  

Retro Show – The Social Part

Another weekend and I’m back at Londra Camp or perhaps even the Hotel National in Belgrade. Loads of the best retro trucks in the UK and a growing number from Europa and all the kings of the road you could ever hope to meet and listen to stories from. The shows this year have become more and more social but combine this with trucks from my childhood and once again an awesome weekend was had by all. For me meeting these Kings of the road is what it’s all about, the stories they can tell, the places they have been and the trucks they have driven, my generation can only dream. To name a just a few people I stood and chatted/listened to this weekend;

  • Charles Russell
  • Roland Simey
  • Nick Bull
  • Karl Skilton
  • Andrew McDevitt
  • Kevin Mackin
  • Paul Rowlands
  • Baz (if you know you know!)
  • and of course one of my true hero’s still out and about on the road………
  • These men all need dictaphones and books written about them or by them, Mr Coghill you need to get on with it! As I said in my Truckstar blog, sadly I wasn’t able to enjoy the golden era but chatting to these knights of the road you can get a real idea of the adventure, hardship, bad times and of course good times they endured. For any young drivers of the current modern generation, can you imagine being told to go to Pakistan from London?? No? just to add to the adventure there was no sat-nav, no road maps or readable signposts once past Turkey, for that matter not many “roads” either. One of the best quotes of the weekend from a certain Charles Russell went something like this;
  • “When I was a young owner driver with just one truck, my pal Ralph had his own truck too. I met him on his way back from his first trip to the continent and do you know what he said?? That continental work isn’t for me.”
  • – The Ralph in question was of course a certain Mr Davies. Just brilliant but unless you take the time to talk to these men then you never get to hear such awesome tales.
  • The show itself was once again a triumph. Lee Herbert and his team put on what was the best retro show I’ve been too, that said next year is the 10th anniversary so I can’t wait for that already. Get the date in your diary, next years Retro Truck Show is from September 11th to 13th 2020. There seemed to be more restored/retro trucks than ever before. The quality of these trucks gets better and better and there is definitely more types of truck, not just Volvo and Scania. Renaults, ERF, Iveco eight wheels MAN’s and even a Fiat all being restored back to their former glory. As it goes there was only one Transcon that was at the start of its new life and very much need a good polish! I’m sure there are more Transcons about that could come along next year but after one of Roland Simeys stories I’m not so sure….
  • If you are a truck enthusiast then the retro show is for you. It’s run by truck people for truck people. Evident that the man who runs the show is a gas engineer but grew up with trucks and loves trucks. All who attend are truck mad and as there are no prizes to be won it just shows that all trucks are there as their owners are proud to show them and just do it for the trucks and love of diesel! Not a lot of feed back from those I spoke to other than more trucks the merrier. Perhaps the one thing I did hear from a few people was, there were a lot of new trucks there again. Don’t get me wrong I love seeing them and being able to compare the same make 30 or 49 years apart is a pretty cool concept. I am guessing there is an element of a few new trucks make up the numbers but then again what do you class as a retro truck?? I fine line for the organisers to think about but for me personally I don’t think it is far off perfect at all.
  • 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

    TB on The Move – Kyrgyzstan

    My pal and super mega trucker Mat Ireland has a handful of stickers that he is handing out Trucks he meets from far and wide, the further and wider the better! TB on the move is a global thing I’ll have you know. From council trucks in Brazil to Road-trains in Australia, through to Africans, Americans and some of the last Astran trucks to the Middle East, not to mention scrap metal trucks from Ipswich, they all want, crave, strive, are part of the big TB family. Truckers one and all are welcome to my club. Anyway enough of my nonsense and onto Kyrgyzstan. Where?? You don’t need a sat-nav, just follow the sun like John Williams, Dave Poulton and Dick Rivers, it’s South of Kazakhstan, 2 countries above Afghanistan and shares its eastern border with China, its quite a way from the Bad Benthiem border in Deutschland where Mat met this driver. Nice to see he’s driving a proper truck, take note Mat…..

    “I pulled into Bad Bentheim border for my usual walk around with my camera to see what far flung countries some had come from, and that was parked in there! I could see the chap was about so thought he was worthy of a sticker! He spoke no English and my Russian is very limited but he understood it was a present from England, and looked very happy! It’s a long long way to Kyrgyzstan!!”