Swiss Garlick

Another guest blog this week. The one and only NLG, Nick Garlick. Now forget the marque, someone honestly tell me if it was your favourite marque and it was your trip, this has to be one for the bucket list. Carry on Nick……….

Having chatted with Charles Russell we’d planned to transport his Pride & Joy to this years Trucker Country Festival in Switzerland. But due to the pressures of running a busy company it became clear Charles couldn’t go, so I naturally assumed the trucks wouldn’t be going this time. “Oh no” insisted Charles “you can still take them, I trust you” he said.

So there I was on Wednesday in his yard loading probably the most precious cargo I’d ever transported. Leaving early, very early 03.15 am  the next morning I left Coombe Hill, bound for Dover. Leaving that early meant I could reach Dover and park in the lanes in my 4.5 driving spread. A most welcome breakfast courtesy of P&O settled the butterflies in my stomach. A steady run to Reims where I took my next break before cruising along the RN4 to Perthe where I parked up for the night. I shared my table with two drivers from Strauman Heavy Transport from Colmar who were most taken with the 140/141 on the trailer. In fact they were constantly being photographed and videoed along the route.
The pressure was now off and I enjoyed the trip along the RN19 via Vesoul and skirting Belfort arrived at the French/Swiss border at Boncourt with no problems.
After a delicate debate concerning customs documents I was allowed through with smiles all round once I’d got a new road tax card.
The A16 motorway runs south through tunnels and beautiful scenery taking me a couple of hours later round Bern. A stop for a cash machine and lots of smiles and photos from the Swiss truckers gathered there. I was surprised by how many enthusiasts lined the road waving, shouting and taking photos as I passed by.
At the entrance I was met By Ferdy D Martin (Toprun) and escorted through the assembled trucks to the center point of the show area where we unload the LBs and parked my truck up for the weekend.
Some 1500 trucks were on display over the weekend with temperatures reaching 40degrees.

Truck Provenance 

Is there such a thing? – Discuss. 

According to the Oxford dictionary the meaning of the word Provenance is as follows; “a record of ownership of a work of art or an antique, used as a guide to authenticity or quality.”

Firstly to get this out the way, I’m sorry to use a Scania in this blog but it is the perfect truck to discuss my point. Having been to the almighty Retro Truck Show and speaking with various people about various ageing trucks I find myself more and more interested in the trucks history. Working trucks are exactly that, even when they are retired and restored they still have a past much like all of us. For me as you’ll know I love long distance stuff so those trucks that have been further than some are what interest me. Much to my delight my good friend Mr Nick Garlick is the very proud owner of L500 RDF, an ex Ralph Davies International Scania 143 500. As anyone with a trucking brain knows Ralph Davies have been there and done pretty well all of it. I also know from talking to Nick and others that L500 is a well deserving retiree. There is plenty of photo evidence of L500 out on her travels and this is where my interest comes. With all the lovely trucks at these shows, no matter how much has been spent or no matter what they look like now, I can’t help thinking about where they’ve been. The provenance that L500 has is huge and while sitting in her while ticking over in the dark got my mind wondering some what. Yes I’d had a few but, the truck looked black in the mirrors and the dash lights were on she was purring. I was sitting in a drivers seat where a number of proper drivers have sat before me. Famous fridge trailer attached heading for Moscow, Novabirsk, Lisbon or Athens this truck has done it. To me having a truck with such a rich past or provenance is worth more than money can buy. Yes you can pay for anything to help restore a truck or make it look better but you can’t buy it a new past. I’d rather have a truck with this than anything else. Speaking with Karl Skilton of Astran subbie fame, he pointed out a number of things on his Astran Volvo that only a true Middle East driver would know about and most replica Middle East trucks will never have. Why? That Volvo has a true provenance, a past, it’s actually got the Tshirt. That to me also gives it the allowance to look a little more worn round the edges (no offence intended Mr Skilton!). So back to “provenance”, I’ve used the word enough I think but what does it really mean? To me it’s the proof of a working truck. It’s the value that truck has earn’t during its life, I honestly think I’d pay more to own L500 (no matter what state it was in)  compared to an identical truck that has only ever been a UK truck. Does that make any sense? Preserving a truck that has been a part of the UKs golden age of long haul intercontinental trucking, to me is worth doing and I wouldn’t mind paying a premium for it. I wouldn’t tell Mr Garlick any of this but to me, in the case of classic trucks provenance is everything. No matter what it is or where it’s been it’s worth saving, afterall we all like different makes of truck and even different sectors of the transport industry. I pity Mrs Blog as and when we win our mega lottery win as I will be “saving” trucks left right and centre! The meaning of Provenance is as follows; “a record of ownership of a work of art or an antique, used as a guide to authenticity or quality.”

Just for the Antiques Road Show or the great works of art by Monet or Van Gogh and friends?? No not at all, a record of ownership can be interpreted as the history of the truck, the life it’s led, owned by one of the greatest, most well known names in road haulage. To me this can 100% be used to prove its authenticity or even the quality. 

My Best Truck of 2014

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.


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.


2014 has seen a big rise in the blogs popularity through all mediums, the Facebook page, twitter and the good old fashioned 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!


Top 3 Astran Liveried Trucks – M509 WCK

M509 WCK

Next in my top 3 Astran trucks of all time is this beast of a Scania 143 Streamline, driven by Trevor Dodwell I do believe. As I said in Part 1, the top 3 is in no particular order, it would be to hard to choose between them!! I think for me, Astran trucks are Scania’s. I know Mercedes and Volvo were both regular Middle Easters for Astran, but if you look at the fleet list out of a total of 58 trucks, 40 were Scania. Even though this is an Owner driver truck, to me it’s still one of the top 3 all time great Astran trucks.

M509 WCK

M509 WCK

Bull bar, extra spots, roof rack, headboard, un-polished ally wheels, big tanks, ruffed up rear mudguards, Arabic script and, and, wait for it….its got that look!! in huge doses for that matter. I can just see this old girl hurteling along the dusty desert road, lights a blaze, camels parting like the red sea, as the growl of the big V8  heads ever Eastwards. I think also this is obviously the new version of the old 140’s and 141’s, so if Astran had kept their own fleet in the 90’s there would have been a fleet of these, just imagine! 

I actually emailed Trevor Dodwell about this truck, and he sent me a photo he has above his desk, this is below. I think this truck was for sale in Ireland since Trevor had it, although there was a little confusion over it, but any way if it was this truck I was oh so close to snapping it up and in all honesty I wish I had. The wife has promised to but me a new truck one day, when she does, the 143 Streamline will be it and it will take a lot of convincing not to paint it up as this truck. Here is Trevors photo;

Trevor Dodwell

So there it is, this is my number 2 truck in the all time top 3 Astran trucks. A second Scania, your right, but then again when you think of Astran what truck do you think of? Email me, or leave a comment. There is one more truck to come in this little mini series, what will it be? whats your choice? If you follow the blog on twitter (@truckbloguk) then you may already know my 3rd and final choice. Also while I remember the top 3 photos are courtesy of Mr Nick Garlick.

Atego Road Trip

Once again the international Nick Garlick has been tramping around Europe for the last 2 weeks. I have to say he has clocked up an impressive list of delivery and collection points on this trip. He shiped out of Harwich on Sunday 19/09/10 and is now getting toward the end of his trip. Heres the route; Ship Harwich to Holland – 9 Deliveries & Collections Germany – Strasbourg (F) – Ulm (D) – Brenner Pass – Bologna (I) – Milan (I) – Turin (I) – Montpellier (F) – Carmarg (F) – Perpignan (F) – Zaragoza (E) – 2 x Valencia (E) – Seville (E) – Moncao (North Portugal) – Angers (F) – Ship Caen to Portsmouth – Home. A tough old job that European Driving lark!!
If you can beat Nick’s round trip then send me an email to; and tell me all about it.  The picture is the little Atego having a well earned wash, due to technical problems i haven’t been able to receive any other pictures as yet, hopefully some thing will work through the technological barrier!!

NLG Atego.jpg

New Email Address

For some reason my email isn’t working and i’m struggling to work out why. So for now if you have stories, pictures or any thing else you want to share  please email me at:- hopefully then i will be able to share your stuff. If you have ried emailing the address recently please resend to the new address.