Truckstar Festival 2018

It’s taken me a week to recover! This time last week James and myself were waking up a little tired and possibly hungover! I have no idea how it was a week ago already. Once again our Dutch colleagues surpassed themselves with their hospitality and friendliness. We met lots of old friends and made plenty more new ones. As we go with a Scania 141 from company Wilson we are in the Oldtimers part and it gets better and better.

This year we were joined with some more English Trucks and we were even able to all park together making an English display! Anyway there will be plenty more to come from the show over the next few weeks.

If you have the time then please look through my photos, I actually took a few which aren’t half bad!!

Click the following link to see my Truckstar 2018 Photo Album.

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Mercedes-Benz Actros1 for Chiltern Cold Storage

Actros1 - Chiltern Cold Storage (29)

I have championed the Actros 1 since I first heard about it through my contacts at MBUK, have a read of the SCOOP I wrote. I have been waiting for Mercedes-Benz Trucks UK to issue their first press release about an Actros1 and I am very pleased to say here it is. The truck looks awesome, I just think it needs the finishing touch of a TB sticker on the back of the fridge!;

Chiltern Cold Storage boss Paul Jackson treated himself to a very special Mercedes-Benz truck to mark his company’s 25th anniversary – and promptly took it to Spain to collect a load of fruit and salads.

The 1,300-mile drive back from south of Valencia gave Mr Jackson a perfect opportunity to put the limited edition Actros1 tractor unit through its paces. His verdict: “Stunning! A fantastic looking truck which is exceptionally comfortable and offers huge reserves of power, yet still returned a very acceptable 9 mpg.”

One of only 100 Actros1 models which are being built, the latest addition to the Peterborough-based operator’s fleet was supplied by East Anglia Dealer Orwell Truck & Van. It is based on the 6×2 Actros chassis with range-topping GigaSpace cab, and powered by a mighty 460 kW (625 hp) 15.6-litre, straight-six engine.

Thanks to a comprehensive array of optional technology, comfort features and visual enhancements, Actros1 elevates driver appeal to a new level. It comes in black or silver/black colour schemes, both with distinctive green highlights. However, to mark his company’s Silver Anniversary Mr Jackson chose an all-silver finish with additional chassis infills in a matching shade of green, by SB Components, of Wisbech, Cambridgeshire.    

The subject of a Mercedes-Benz Financial Services contract hire agreement, Chiltern Cold Storage’s truck is also fitted with additional Kelsa light bars, top and bottom, and to its high interior specification the operator has added a 20-inch TV screen and a coffee maker.

Paul Jackson, Chiltern Cold Storage (2)

Wojciech Pospiech, Chiltern Cold Storage (2)

The Actros1 has been allocated to long-serving driver Wojciech Pospiech. It pulls a new SOR refrigerated semi-trailer which wears a special livery charting a succession of milestones in the development of the business, and is making regular runs to and from the Italian cities of Naples and Milan.  

Founded by Mr Jackson as Chiltern Cold Store in 1993, the operator is now a leading provider of bespoke refrigerated transport, pharmaceutical & healthcare logistics services across the UK and Europe, and last year turned over £28 million. It operates a temperature-controlled fleet of 60 trucks, the majority of them tractor units.

“The Actros1 is a lot more powerful than the vehicles I usually buy,” he said. “But its launch coincided nicely with our own anniversary and I’ve maintained a great relationship over the years with Orwell Truck & Van, so I decided to go for it.

“Whenever I buy a new piece of equipment I like to try it for myself and this truck certainly lived up to its billing on the run back from Spain, as it’s a real pleasure to drive. It performed brilliantly as I came back through the Pyrenees, while some of the safety features are particularly impressive.”

Actros1 - Chiltern Cold Storage (29)

Actros1 showcases Mercedes-Benz Trucks’ technological leadership. As well as a Safety Pack that includes the ground-breaking Active Brake Assist 4 and Proximity Control Assist systems, plus a driver’s airbag, it is equipped with a high-performance engine brake and tyre pressure monitor.

Fuel efficiency is enhanced by the well-proven Predictive Powertrain Control system and Fleetboard telematics hardware, and the vehicle comes with revolutionary Mercedes-Benz Uptime maintenance technology. Thanks to an array of sensors which monitor the condition of the vehicle constantly, the customer’s allocated Dealer knows precisely what is required before the truck reaches the workshop. The Dealer can then order parts in advance, while allocating sufficient time during a single visit to complete all tasks.

Inside, the luxurious Style Line interior design is complemented by a leather-trimmed steering wheel and Comfort leather massage seats for driver and co-driver, an uprated multimedia entertainment system and a Premium Comfort mattress. Practical features such as automatic climate control, an electric sunroof and sunblind, a microwave and pull-out refrigerator, and rear overhead lockers also contribute to the ‘feel-good factor’ for drivers.

Externally, the specification includes painted side guards and catwalks, Alcoa Dura-Bright alloy wheels with painted hubs, and roof-mounted air horns. Bi-xenon headlamps, LED tail lights and an illuminated grille-mounted star complete the striking look.

Actros1 - Chiltern Cold Storage (31)

The Week in Trucks

Not such a dodgy title trust me. I was sent some photos from Gurdeep Singh on his travels around Sweden and as you can see his Actros is somewhat dirty. From this I thought I’d just ask you lot for some similar shots. I had a few come through but not so dirty for most, I’m guessing that could be down to us here in the UK having a slightly drier week than we’ve had for months! Any way next up is Graham Wilson with a nice shot of a couple of grubby toppers sitting in the sun. Almost a little artistic this one Graham.

More dirty tippers from Paul Wheatley and DE Contracting. I know what it’s like doing landfill work in an 8 wheelers and it would appear that spending your working week going in and out of Calvert Landfill is no different. By landfill we mean landfill sites, no roads just tracks, plenty of mud, dirt, water and what ever else. Landfill really does test the best of 8 wheelers and it’s hard graft on any make of truck.

The 143 might not look to dirty to most of you but if you’ve ever seen it at a show then you’ll know it is usually absolutely spotless. Owner Ian Maclean spotted here out on a road run with the big V8 and by his own admission it was filthy!

Mark Hunsley just wanted a little bit of fame for his new steed I think and I’m happy to honour him with some blog space. Marks just moved out of another German truck into the GigaSpace Actros and with a full, full white paint job she’s looks delightful. I’m sure she is dirty down either side so that earns the place on the blog!

So just a few dirty trucks but it’s a bit of fun. I have to say that I think Gurdeep Singh gets top marks as he is now wearing a TB sticker on his trailer and even through the dirt of Scandinavia he managed to get the sticker wiped clean, top work Gurdeep!!

City & Surburban

A very few of you may know my idol, the retired Mr Martin Beverley. When he called in at the office last week he very kindly bought an envelope of photos with him. Martin worked for Leyland back in the 1970’s and this little selection of photos was awesome. As is the way with Martin he told me plenty of info about each truck and as ever his knowledge still knows no bounds. This lovely Leyland Marathon stood out for me. The colours of City & Surburban Truck are quite distinctive but I have to say that I’ve never seen one before and I don’t know anything about the company. Martin seemed to remember they could well have been south Essex of East London based.

The big Leyland had a TL12 Mandata engine in it fitted with a turbo to give it that little extra to help it stand up to the Swedish invasion! I’m told that partners with the TL12 was a 9 speed Fuller Road Ranger gearbox with a cable shift. Martin also pointed out the additional spare wheel. This was an option so it may point at a bit of distance work along with the big sleeper cab.

If you can tell us anymore please do. I can’t quite see the address or phone number on the side of the cab but I’m sure one of you will know plenty. Please leave comments below.

South West England to South West Australia

You’re young, You’re truck mad, your dad’s truck mad, you drive a truck, your dad drives a truck, but you live in Taunton. Not exactly the home of UK trucking or indeed road train trucking, so what do you do??……. Yep that’s right, head off to warmer climbs where big trucks roam free across the endless expanse of dirt tracks, tarmac, desert, rainforest and what ever else is in between, you guessed it, Bristol sorry, sorry I meant Australia of course! If you want to see some big trucks and get to work with big trucks why not do as our man in Kangaroo country has done and sign up for a farming team in Oz. Young Jack Rigby is truck mad, having an owner driver for a dad, did Jack ever stand a chance of having a career doing anything else? No of course not, every Owner Drivers child wants to grow up like their dad don’t they???

Not scared of a gear stick like many new/young drivers are, or indeed hardwork, Jack has been hard at it with his team harvesting Australia’s crops and getting to ride and also drive some absolute beauties. As is the case these days in Oz, there seems to be a real mishmash of American type and European type trucks. Luckily for Jack he’s tried all of them and none better than the triple trailered Kenworth above. The beauty of this all is that Jack can utilise both his agricultural skills and truck driver skills all in one. Just listen to that engine grumble away, you can virtually feel the ground shaking as she picks up speed. Time to give Jack a pat on the back with those gear changes, as you may have noticed he’s not using a clutch pedal. As Jack is at an age of post gear lever trucks here in the UK it’s nice to see a young whipper snapper with such great skill. I think just one little missed gear is perfectly acceptable considering.

Lots of European trucks over in Oz these days. Traditionally big American trucks have always been most popular but these days it seems to be much more of an even split between American and European trucks. The team Jack is working with are clearly fans of European trucks as they have a good number of Volvo’s and some ageing Scania’s still in use. If I know Jack a little then he’ll be keen to try as many as he can and hopefully he’ll collect enough photos and tales of the Australian roads and farming that he’ll write some blogs himself when he is back in Blighty. Due to licensing the tidy Volvo below with a single trailer is one of Jacks regular seats.

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.