Small is Beautiful


We are now 10 years down the road here on the blog and if there are any of you first blog readers still here, then it’s time you…….no no, then most of you will know that I love a little truck with a big cab and the icing on the cake is one that does international work! For me the perfect example are the two little trucks you see above. A good pal of mine spends many a Wednesday doing what we’d all love to do, he stands on a bridge over the M20 in Kent photographing all the trucks, mainly those heading to or from the UK’s main link with Europe, Dover Docks. All of the photos in this blog are all taken and copyright to Neil Jarrold. Without Neil I’d struggle to see quite so many of these delightful little motors from my office in Ipswich! The little Italian TGL LX above just oozes something that flicks my switch, big cab, smart paint, tidy bodywork, big fuel tanks and foreign number plates! You could get me into that truck and send me to Italy everyday even if you offered me tractor and trailer instead. Bellissimo. 


So it needs a big cab, it needs to be international and the only way to hit perfection is add on a little fridge body. Bingo!! I know the little Pulleyn Ategos used to go far and wide hence the TIR board but once again the little MAN just looks the ticket. Maybe as I had a little MAN 7.5 tonner I’m a little biased but the little German is the best thing in the MAN range by a very long way. 


How about a little DAF? Well the small problem with the LF is that they don’t do their own big cab, you need to look for an aftermarket one. A local company to me Hatcher Components do a marvellous twin bunk “Sky Cab” conversation for the little Dutchman and I have to say it is once again rather splendid. Painted properly the DAF is as gorgeous as it Dutch roots, a real head turner. 

I still don’t really get why I like them quite so much, even a mini artic does the trick and has that certain, Je ne sais pas quoi. The one thing I do know is, every time I see some of Neil’s photos capturing their journeys doing as many miles as any of their bigger cousins across Europe, it always makes me want to get back to it. As I have certainly said before, if I’d managed to stop in my little MAN and actually speak to another now friend of mine, Steve Marsh, then just perhaps I could still have my own little big cabbed truck. I like it when I get talking to some of you lot and I often get the impression we could be talking about any hobby or passion. Some of you like heavy haulage, some tippers, some Foden’s and I guess for me, my “speciality” is little big cabs. But then again as with anything, variety is the spice of life and trucks are no different. I’d be a boring old truck show if we all liked the same thing! Thanks to Neil Jarrold for the photos. 

Advertisements

Wanted: Joeri Van Veen

Back in July I found this delightful Actros hidden away at the end of the pit straight at the Truckstar Festival. Being me I didn’t go over and have a snoot about but on this occasion I probably should have. One thing you may not notice from my photos are the 7inch twin exhausts up the back of the cab. The truck itself is a very much a less-is-more kind of truck and is by no means over the top, much more understated. For a number of reasons I want to know how the stacks work as we all know Mercedes-Benz trucks have a large exhaust box and I’m interested to know if the exhausts can run as straight through and this then leads me to wonder what the straight 6, 630hp, 16 litre sounds like. So now you can understand the title of the blog. I’ll need my Dutch friends to help with this please. A friends from Truckstar, Marco, gave me the name and he is on Facebook but I can’t send him a friend request. I’d love to know more so if you can put me in touch with Joeri then that’s just marvellous! A great truck. 

Heavy Weight Modelling

  
Speedbird Promotions are delighted to unveil it’s first exclusive model for IMC Models to the UK market and what a terrific choice to launch the range with! It’s been the talk of the truck forums since it’s launch onto the road two weeks ago and we are honoured to bring the Mercedes-Benz Arocs 8 x 4 with a Nooteboom 6-axle MCO-PX Lowloader in the livery of Scottish Heavy Haulage experts, West of Scotland Heavy Haulage.

 Commemorating their 70th Anniversary this year, West of Scotland Heavy Haulage decided to partner with us once again on the strength of our quality and service reputation that we delivered on through the success of the MAN TGX heavy haulage model produced last year. Just like the MAN, the model will be delivered in a specially branded West of Scotland 70th Anniversary Gift Box and accompanied with a limited edition certificate.

The unique collaboration of IMC with it’s range of Nooteboom trailers in 1:50 scale and Tekno with it’s highly detailed range of tractor-units guarantees to offer collectors the ultimate combination of one of the most highly detailed heavy haulage scale models money can buy!

Expected release date of this model is in time for Truckfest Scotland 2016 with an estimated retail price of £159.95 including free UK delivery.

All About Me

  

There’s been a lot of new recruits to the blog this year, on the www, Twitter and through the Facebook page so I thought I better tell you my credentials as I’m not just a wanna be trucker (although I do wanna be one again!), I have been there and done a bit. It goes something like this. Now this is a story all about how, my life got flipped-turned upside down, and I’d like to take a minute, just sit right there, and I’ll tell you how I became trucking nerd…… Oh no hang on that doesn’t rhyme!!

At the beginning of 1997 I was tasked on a college course to formulate a business plan that would or could work. It turns out the plan worked and the bank were keen so before I finished college I got a DAF 45 on order and started looking for work. In October ’97 I started as a Subbie for DFDS distribution in Coggeshall, Essex. I was soon covering….. 

 On a daily basis with anything between 15-20 deliveries and collections. What a way to learn my way about (no Sat-Navs then younger readers just a box of maps!) maps I hear you say?? Yep read THIS BLOG.  I still use some of the short cuts now! A year or so later and DFDS moved to Purfleet and I didn’t follow. Local business soon started giving me work and I was soon UK wide with loads of virtually everything and anything. The poor little DAF couldn’t keep up and 2-3 years after getting her I traded her in for possibly my favourite truck from the BJS fleet, an MAN 8.163 with a Hatcher Space cab.  

 This little German served me very very well and in our prime we were doing Braintree, Essex to Larkhall, Scotland 3 times a week even now and again with a reload of lead rolls from David Park Transport in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 3 pallets just over 3 ton. From day one I had done the odd run to the Continent but never enough. I was so busy running round the UK that I only ever got to wave as we passed to Steve Marsh as he was also the owner of a smart Hatcher canned MAN. A massive if only, but I believe if only we had stopped for a cuppa I could have still been doing the Continental with a little Tonka you. Along with, tail lifts, computers, baseball hats, Chinese menu’s, supermarket light fittings, industrial door fixings and 50-75kg sacks of hand loaded hessian sacks of malt to name but a few commodities I took on a driver and put the real show truck of the fleet on the road and passed the MAN onto my only ever employee Steve Shackle.  

 The Atego was awesome and again worked hard across the length and breadth of mainland UK. She was well recognised and got in quite a few magazines. This lead to the start of some Mercedes-Benz friendships that continue to this day. A very big customer went pop with no warning and I was literally in the proverbial dirty river with no oars. So goodbye to the MAN, the Atego and Steve. At the same time I was offered traction work although I didn’t have a class one license at the time. I ordered a Mercedes-Benz Actros of the same man that sold me the MAN and the Atego and two weeks before it went on the road I passed my class one with no minor faults.

  
I can safely say that living in this Actros (Claudia), turned me from boy to man. I lived in her virtually for the three years I had her and the long distance lorry driver life was what I hoped it always would be. Bloody hard work, great friends, some crazy trucking about and much to my delight a lot more continental. Nothing silly by most of your standards but, Belgium Holland and just into Germany on a very regular basis. Amazing the things you see and the situations you can find yourself in, some good some bad, some exciting and some ‘kin scary and eye opening but none the less it was awesome! I bought and restored a Scania 141 the same age as me and had agreed with the people I was working for that they’d give me trailer with no more than 15 ton on so for odd weeks I could run the 141 on the continent. Sadly it never happened. The 141 did, the work didn’t and not long after I had to make the hardest decision I’ve ever made and had to give up BJS International. 

  
The 141 got me going and the pinnacle was taking her to the Truckstar Festival in Holland. In the real world I got a job with a local firm driving an 8 wheeler around Essex for GB Finch. A fun job and I’m told I still hold plenty of fleet records. Drifting an 8 wheel tipper in wet mud is always good for morale.  

 I landed a job at HC Wilson Transport in the office and this was close to being what I wanted to do. Great people, great job and a great fleet. Routing trucks and securing loads all over Europe, Scandinavia and where ever the customer would pay, there’s a lot to learn in the world of international abnormal loads but it was rewarding. Oh the romance of international trucking! 

Moving on from Wilson’s having sold the 141 to raise a family, I went to Kersey Freight as fleet manager and holiday relief driver! Long days and on call 24 hours a day was rewarded with the odd spell back on the road doing two trips to Paris a week. Good times although I have to say back then crossing the channel was a breeze. 

 
Once again I got itchy feet and have now changed to the other side of the desk if you like and I have great job, spending my time talking about trucks to hauliers. Although not long after starting this dream job I did get offered the chance of being an owner driver again with a mini artic moving flash cars all over europa but age brings a certain amount thought and reality over what your spontaneous side wants to do. Funny old game, but I am a firm believer that once you get diesel in your veins you can’t get rid of it, hence the reason I’m trying to encourage my son to continue with his love of the local zoo and animals, but that’s the start of another hot topic in the press this week #lovethelorry. I now have friends across the UK and a couple else where in the world  through the blog and I find myself taking a big interest in driver friends daily trucking exploits to satisfy my never ending urge to go back on the road. I’ve not been a truck owner for a few years now and I feel like I have to say that in an AA meeting style! Hopefully in the next year or so I can get another retro show truck to help my marriage and stop me annoying Mrs Blog every weekend!! 
Anyway that’s me. Happy to talk trucks with anyone and I always question those who spend every day and night involved with trucks but still say that hate them.

“Ever see a duck that couldn’t swim?!”

Quiz Time: Guess the Permit

  
A man after my own heart, Jonathan Campbell of Essex. A man with a 15 ton Mercedes-Benz Atego, that probably gets around Europe more than most of the rest. Recently covering Ireland, Turkey and Greece to name a few. With a good size box body, good customer contacts and years of European experience Mr Campbell is the man that can. The Atego has had a few additions recently in the way of auxiliary roof cooler and a tidy Kelsa light bar. 

  

I’m pleased to say Jonathan is one of the “lucky” few who are sporting a Truckblog sticker on his motor and as you can see the sticker is in good company. As it goes that sticker is the only one I’ve genuinely seen on the move. Spotted late one evening on the M25 coming back into Essex from Dartford, I have to say I was quite chuffed, the kids got excited and the wife didn’t care a less! Anyway I digress. 

As you can see the Atego is sporting a slightly rare sticker, a P30 Permit sticker to be exact. Not one I had come across before, although I now remember I did have to quote a job in my days at HC Wilson that would have required the same permits. Here’s the question;

Where abouts was Jonathan when he took these photos, that required him to have the P30 permit? No Googling the answer!!!

Has anyone else got a photo of a P30 permit on their truck??

  

Mini Artic – Atego

  
It’s been a while since I did a bit on the delight that is a mini artic and I have a fairly valid excuse to do so, well three excuses. First one being its my blog and I can write what I like! Second isn’t quite so playground, I found this gorgeous little 7.5 ton Mercedes-Benz Atego up for sale. A while back I didn’t a number of blogs on mini artics as we were trying to confirm what the combination weights would be. This particular dealer obviously decided it would be a good idea to stick up a photo of the weight plate as I can only assume that he knew he’d get asked by many what the max weight was. Well as the plate below confirms, the Atego has a permissible maximum weight of 7,490 as expected. The permissable  combination weight states a total weight of tractor, trailer and load of 18,725kg. I think that’s fairly decent? Even if you said 4 ton max for the weight of the tractor, the trailer won’t be more than 2 / 2.5 ton so you have the potential for a payload of around 12 ton, now your talking!  

As you can see this little Atego has all the bells and whistles including twin bunks, air horns, shiny wheels and clearly a keen ex driver as there is nearly a shiny fuel tank too. I have a couple of exoctic plans for my mini artic career. The plausible idea would be to work for one of the car carrying companies. A twin car trailer with sloping floor, side doors and a small fridge motor to keep a constant temperature for those that need it or a load of race tyres. Even with a decent spec trailer, 2 big cars at 4 ton a piece would still be achievable. The other idea, not so plausible, would be to get a single steering axle, extendable flatbed to move around over length things, ideally sailing boat and ship masts to all the posh marina destinations across Europe – keep dreaming that’s what I say!!

 
My third and final reason for doing a bit on mini artics is because I came across one of the German companies who build a lot of mini artic trailers. The company is called Eisel and along with normal trailers they appear to be quite the people to see for your minisattel requirements. Whether it’s a flat or a box what they manufacture appears to be of typical decent German build quality.  

   
I’ve still not checked Friday’s Euromillions ticket, you never know I might be off to Germany by the end of week to order up the dream machine. I know mini artics aren’t quite the same as their bigger brothers but as Mrs Blog says, size doesn’t matter it’s what you do with it that counts! Down to Eisel Nutzfahr Zeuge to get the flatbed and the box on order it is then, you have to agree the box van below does look pretty dam smart and all the more appealing now we know the payload potential.  

    
 

Big Boys Toys

I have a son who is 5 years old and for a couple of years now he has been the proud owner of a Bruder Toys fire engine. It’s a big bugger and takes up a fair amount of space but what I really admire are the working parts. The turn-table ladder extends up to over a metre, the stabiliser legs extend out and take the weight off the wheels and best of all there is a fully functioning and usable water pump that shoots water out of the long rubber hose. If there was a small fire in our house I have no doubt that this machine would easily cope with the emergency. If you watch the first video above then could easily be forgiven for thinking that it’s a promotional video about the Arocs range by Mercedes-Benz!

This leads me nicely onto another chance mention of Bruder Toys I had on a training course at work. One of our top trainers who works with people all across the UK and is is regular liaison and consultation with those at world headquarters in Germany, made me aware of the Bruder videos and was quite insistent that I have a good watch. Now I’m please to say that following Mr Nick Smiths advice, my son and I spent the best part of 30 minutes (father and son bonding time of course Mrs Blog!) watching through loads of videos on the Bruder YouTube channel, including the tractor and combine harvester ones, you’ve got to have a look. Not only are they big boys toys in the true sense of the phrase, they really are, or could be a useful working truck! If only they came radio controlled, now there’s an idea Bruder, then you really could have a fleet of working vehicles to help with the gardening or building jobs. The cement mixer can even pour out its load and the gritter below does actually spread grit out the back, what more could you want?? Oh you want it big enough so your gorilla hands don’t stop you playing, well as the 8 wheelers are over half a metre long I don’t think you’ll have an issue.

It just so happens that I have a birthday coming up in the next couple of weeks and for the first time in a good while I think I will have something affordable that I actually want on my birthday list. For boy or girls, for truck lovers, young farmers or what ever, I strongly recommend having a look at Bruder. If I get one for my birthday then I’m sure said truck will last for a good number of years and will get a few metres under its wheels on family jobs and beach holidays! Great work Bruder, now how about the radio controlled versions??…….