Lottery Win Needed to Restart Retro Fleet!!!

How many driver application forms will I need to send out?? For those not in the cool club, I run the ACH page on Facebook and recently the interest has gone through the roof. Loads of ex ACH employees on the page and also loads of photos which is what it’s all about. Those who were there and part of it can reminisce and for those of us who weren’t can enjoy what we missed out on. It’s a true fan page and I have to say it’s a pleasure to have started such an enjoyable page. 

Anyway that’s not the reason for tonight’s blog. I’ve been on a bit of a retro mission the last few months, enjoying lots of 80’s and 90’s that seem to be appearing from various companies and drivers. Now as a retro truck fan I’d love to put a retro livery truck on the road, my choices would be a Ralph Davies truck in the famous black and red or probably more uniquely the beige and black of ACH. If your going to do this wouldn’t it be awesome to find an ex ACH truck to restore and then put a trailer behind. Hard work and impossible you may think…..aha well running the company page means I get to hear about the lost and found department!


As it stands right now I know of two tractor units that are still taxed and on the show circuit and three box trailers that are still bearing the beige paint work. Admittedly two of the box trailers do need new chassis to sit on but it’s a start! The Volvo above is F81 HFC and is still taxed and on the road in Ireland. The picture above in white was taken at a truck show in Ireland back in 2015 but I’m sure I’ve seen it in some show photos this year. I have to say that it is still in very good conditio and looks like it would just need a coat of paint. I know some of you won’t agree but just imagine rubbing it down and fining the original paint underneath. As we all know the main stay of the ACH fleet was Volvo and Scania so I was very pleased to see a reader post on the page today, showing one of the 143’s at the Shropshire truck show last month. Apparently she now resides in Mid Wales, does anyone know the owner?? This really got my brain working overtime as both myself and my truck show buddy, JC have talked over a late night beer about rolling up to the Oldtimers section of the Truckstar Festival in Asset in a pair of ACH trucks……perhaps that dream isn’t a million miles away, if only the lottery numbers would come in!


Why does it all come down to money?! All I want is show truck, Richard Branson can you lend me some cash please? As I say the trucks are both still on the road and being kept running but sadly the dream comes to very rusty and slightly wheeless hurdle when we talk about the trailers. I know where (lots of you know where) Euro 94 is sat, a tri-axle box that has been sat for a good number of years, but at least it still has wheels and a chassis. I say this as the other two trailers haven’t faired quite so well, they are now used for storage but have been lifted off their wheels and put on the floor. Hey ho, I’m sure one of you has the skill set to get the majority of the wriggly tin back on something towable. 

There can’t be many firms that are no longer around that still have a number of vehicles still around. I know all the ACH trailers got taken to France after the Norbert Dentressangle buy out as there are photos on the Facebook page. In fact a friend of mine bought a couple of the tilts, fetched them back to the UK where he cut them down to flat beds and sold them to Russia. The very same friend claims he still has the tilt cover some where, but as yet I’ve not seen it. You know who you are! 

If only the dream could come true and these five could get back together. The truck show trips would be unbelievable but it did get me wondering how many drivers I could recruit if I put them both back to work?? Who’s in? It’s 2017, who wants to join up to drive an F12 Globtrotter and a flat top 143 to Europe and back for me?

Do you know of any other ACH vehicles that are still about? Please comment below. 

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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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Italian Breakfast

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While most normal people were having their breakfast this morning and reading the paper, I was doing what I usually do when I get a few quiet minutes…….searching Europe’s classifieds to see what’s for sale, just incase of a weekend lottery win. Most of the time I don’t find much so it doesn’t matter that my lottery numbers haven’t come in, although this mornings finds hardly warrant the need a lottery win.

There are various websites to hunt for your perfect truck. There are websites in Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark and many others but this morning the Italian site was just heaving with things to stop those burn holes appearing in your pockets. Usually £20,000 or €20,000 will buy you a nice half decent classic but in Italy it seems there is no demand for classic trucks. Starting with this gorgeous Scania 142. Looks very tidy up for €5,500. Perfectly summed up by the sellers advert text, simply translates too;

“Hello I sell beautiful tractor with 142 8cilindri few miles rubberized revised

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For my next slice of toast I came across this very international looking Volvo F89. It even comes with a set of Trilex wheels, love ’em or hate them. Yours for €3,000.

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Finally to wash down with a class of juice I found this delightful 10.5 metre trailer of 1969 vintage. As your probably beginning to work out, this is restored and is still oh so cheap at just €6,500. Bargain.

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Are the Italians mad or is it that in Italy classic retro trucks just aren’t in demand?? perhaps the Italians have better hobbies and things to do with their spare time than messing about with old trucks, so they just don’t have any value. Even so I could get 2 gorgeous tractor units and a trailer to match them both for €15,000. That is crazy, but we all know about supply and demand so that’s the way it goes.

I know when my numbers do come up on the lottery I’ll be too busy drinking champagne for breakfast I won’t get the time to check the classifieds and I’ll miss these bargains, never mind, it’s good to dream!! Right I’m off to pick up the 142, drive over and collect the trailer then I can strip it down and put the Volvo on the back. Then it’s off, up and over the Alps and back to Blighty. One day.

The Italian website is: www.subito.it

Roving Reporter’s Personal Best

Our good friend the Roving Reporter has beaten his personal best. After another recent trip to the in laws in middle Italy, he managed to venture out for a few hours to do some top spotting. Based at Fontana Liri between Rome and Naples, our Pilot friend venture’s out and about to pass the time perving over Italian metal of all kinds. There are more than enough old V8 Scania’s to go round, as well as all the others, Volvo, DAF and of course Iveco. As well as some foreigners such as this cracking F16 wagon and drag. What a great find and not a bad picture either!!
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I have to say that for some reason i have a soft spot for an old Turbostar. I know its an Iveco, but they were from a time before i could drive, there fore they are pre my dislike of the Italians favourite. This old girl below, is still earnng a crust and i think with a bit of a shine up she’d look pretty good. I think we’ll have to add the Turbostar to the classic fleet, but only one of em mind! Did they do a V8 version of the Turbostar? Can some one let me know, ben@truckblog.co.uk or comment below.
Italian Truckers Heaven
As you can always expect in Italy you will always find a load of old Scania’s. From 2 and 3 series right through to new R serie’s they just love them. Still very popular are the 3 series Streamliner’s. Got to get one!
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Italian Truckers Heaven
If you get through to my Flickr Photostream you’ll see plenty more of The Roving Reporters pictures from this trip. I will do another post with some more of his quality pics. I’ll leave you with the Pilot’s own words;
“The trucks on the dual carriageway were taken on the SS16 between Bari and Foggia. The single road stuff is on the SS372 that cuts through the mountains and is a link from the southern Adriatic side of Italy to the western coast to link up with the Roma Naples autoroute. Pics taken to the west of Benevento. Need to dedicate a few days to some more photography trips. Need a bike as a chase vehicle as overtaking them and planning a quick pitstop and getting a shot was fun. Need a lot of patience to hang about in a layby. Missed loads of good opportunities that I won’t repeat again for instance I overtook 3 old 142s/143s steaming up a hill and reckoned at least one of them would take my route off the autostrada. fat chance! Some drivers must’ve wondered what a tired looking pilot in a ropey old Merc Estate was blasting past them then taking pics but most flashed and waved. The scoop has got to be the Bubble’ F16 parked up no doubt heading for Bari/Brindisi for his ferry back to Zorba land.”

Manton European Freezer Freight

This beauty was spotted one evening on Springwood Industrial Estate, Braintree back in the 1990’s. This must be, along with the F12 Globetrotter, one of the all time greats of European Trucking! Just look at her sitting there enjoying the evening sun after another hard days work. After market fuel tanks, tag axle, 420hp V8, 2 yes just 2 spot lights and just enough dirt to make her look well worked. Other than that does anybody know any thing else about this lot?? I have no idea about them at all, i dont even know where they are from, email me ben@truckblog.co.uk . So much of a european legend is this old girl i think she will have to be added to our transport company of classic trucks.
Manton's 143 - Braintree

New Old Transport (Thats Us!) – 1st on The Fleet is…..

The Roving Reporter has been at it again, not with Mrs Roving Reporter, but with the classic Italian trucks. Another wander about and he has stumbled across a couple of cracking V8’s. The best of which is this lovely Scania 142 that’s still earning a Ciabatta crust each day. Wouldn’t it be lovely to go to work each day in such a classic European truck i thought.
Now this got us talking and we’ve decided if i win the lottery or with the Roving Reporters Pilot wage we are going to start up a Classic International Haulage company, only running classic european trucks at good rates. The 1st of the fleet is this 142.
Now this is where all other perverts can join in. We have decided that if you had a fleet of classics running through France, Italy and Spain (where emissions haven’t caught up, obviously) i bet you’d never be short of drivers willing to work for you. The yard would have a big sign up saying “No Health and Safety here”, No hi-viz required, just good old common sense and a “can do” attitude. Proper old tilts with spare wheels, tilt boards and a bag of sweat, none of those modern easy life Euroliner types. Fancy adding your thoughts to our little company??? Leave a comment below or suggest the next truck for the fleet (think pre-emissions, pre-speed limiters, pre-computerisation!). More of our classic fleet to come, you know you want to sign up and work for us!!
Our 1st Truck In our Yard