I wish I’d been too…..

As a driver I never did enough European work. I always wanted to take my 7.5 tonner all over Europe but back then the opportunities just didn’t arrive. I was kindly offered various odd jobs through Kevin at Delamode but they never seemed to fit between my regular UK jobs at that point. The photo above was my very first trip to Europe at 18 for DFDS delivering herbal stuff to Boxmeer, NL. Look at me, couldn’t take a photo but living the dream! I did various other trips to Belgium and Holland with the 7.5tonners but not enough and certainly not to all the countries I wanted to get to. I have always wanted to drive to Scandinavia and got close to a once a month contract delivering rave suspension parts from my home town of Braintree to Stockholm but again it didn’t quite come off.

My perfect destination would have been something like Interlaken or perhaps even Cadiz. All of us must have destinations you wanted to get to but never have, even those who are regulars on the long distance routes, you must have, perhaps more specific destinations you want to get to. Of course when I had my tractor unit I would have loved the opportunity of Turkey or further afield but I made do with weekly trips to Belgium, Holland, Germany and the odd little bit of France. Of course doing the Middle East would have been on my list but realistically in my time it was dying out. Of course going to Doha like my Uncle Dick Snow did would have been awesome, following in the footsteps of those drivers would have been amazing. But most of the places I realistically wish I’d got to would have been in the little trucks. In no particular order my top three places I wish I’d got to in any of. The trucks pictured would be;

  • Interlaken, CH
  • Cadiz, E
  • Guernsey, Channel Islands

So here’s the question, be honest as you can be, and no matter how far you have been where have you always wanted to get to?? Near or far I’m not fussed but I’d like to know. Karl Skiltons answer will be interesting I’m sure and I know the three Matthews will have interesting answers too! Come on, “I wish I’d been too…….”

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TB Truck of The Year 2018?

Aren’t I predictable???! After everything I saw out and about last year and at all the shows in the UK and of course the trucking Mecca which is the Dutch Truckstar Festival, I come back to a true classic and of course as you all know my all time favourite truck – a 143 Streamline boogie. Yea, yea I know there are 10 or 20 trucks I couldn’t have chosen but this caught my eye late in the year and it’s just perfecto! I also like what Truckstyling Lunteren did to achieve their piece de resistance.

Most of us want our own classic truck to take to shows, to live and care for and to make into a truck that perhaps was slightly before our time. This goes for all of us, Volvo, DAF, MAN, Mercedes-Benz are all now at the various oldtimer shows, but the number of 20/30 year old trucks available is dropping every year. So if you can’t find the classic you want what’s your only other option?? Yep, build one.

Find a donor truck, in this case a rigid chassis with a boogie lift. Get the gas axe out and start cutting. I have no issue with this what-so ever although I’m sure some of you aren’t keen on trucks that aren’t original. Think of it like this, most want tractors as they are smaller and easy to keep, where as a long rigid chassis is to big for most to house. This in theory would then mean we have a load of decent rigid trucks that are just going to waste, so why not make the most of what’s left and turn a rigid into a tractor? Great idea!!

I spoke with Truckstyling Lunteren and they told me a few of the basics about what went on and this is the summary;

“I can send you some foto’s of the project. We start at september 2017 en we finished augustus this year . The truck was a long chassis. We cut it and make a trekker.”

So after a year and a bit and lots of hard work they ended up with this gorgeous black beast. Will they sell it?? Unlikely unless they are offered a huge crazy price then they make think about it! Having made such a classic, that is the ultimate less-is-more truck I’m not sure I could bring myself to sell it either. The paint work is awesome and has a showroom finish to it and the interior is not crazy but gently styled with a bit of black and grey leather, in keeping with the trucks original colours.

All in all I can’t think of a better looking 3 series, or in fact a better looking truck. I am in love and I apologise to all you non Scania fans, but you can’t deny that this is a cracker. Well done Truckstyling Lunteren, if my numbers come up on the Euromillions then you will get a silly offer for it!

Lowrider Friday – Part 2!

So plenty more here to look through, I’ve received a few more since Part one. Plenty of Volvo, DAF, Mercedes-Benz and a few Scania. All high profile UK companies in this lot and all still doing continental. A fair reflection on how UK international transport has changed, all but a few doing other things instead of general haulage. As mentioned in Part 1 there is plenty of material in this lot for more blogs. Please comment below and please do scroll down to see everything. Drivers on this page please message me for your free TB sticker if you want one!

Lowrider Friday – Part 1!

OMG! Lowrider Friday is a thing everybody. There was me thinking I’d only get a couple……38 photos and counting!! Lots of patterns and lots to talk about so lots of future blog material. I’ll do part two later this evening. If your truck is in these photos message me for your free TB sticker. Look out for the foreign entries and also the 6 wheelers from my ex employers!

LowRider Friday

Do you drive a low height tractor unit??

There seems to be more than ever about at the moment. I want to do a Lowrider Friday tomorrow so get sending over your photos please. You can get me on all the normal channels, Facebook, Twitter, Instagramme or good old fashioned email! Come on LowRiders let’s see your trucks, I’m guessing most will be 4×2’s but extra points for 6×2’s!

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.

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)