Here’s a truck we’ve not seen much of recently, Steve Marsh and GB14 STE. I think things have been a little quiet for Marshy of late, with mainly local runs to the North of France, Ireland and the Benelux countries. These locals are not worthy of blogging Mr Marsh’s eyes (I disagree), so when I received a photo of an Um Bongo vehicle followed by “Guess where I am?” I instantly thought back to the last time I spoke of and saw anything to do with Um Bongo; Portugese-MAN-O-Juice


So how does the master of international express hot shot work carry out such a job and how does it pan out? I’ll tell you how, just read on. All KM’s paid too. 

Friday: Load ADR cargo from Runcorn, GB. 

Ship: Douvres to Calais (no Spanish boats available)

Tuesday: Deliver to Um Bongo, Carnaxide, Lisboa, P. 

Top Spotting: Activ Cars, Mini artic in Burgos, E. 

Thursday: Load aerosols in La Fleché, F. (1664KM North East of Carnaxide)

Ship: Calais to Douvres

Friday: Tip Newcastle Upon Tyne, GB

Saturday: Home for Nougat Chocolate pillows (breakfast!), Warrington, GB. 

Round Trip Approx 5,240KM.



The eagle eyed Marsh-MAN fans amoungst you, might have noticed a little bit of new bling on the still relatively new MAN. Marshy is a modest man when it comes to blinking up the hard working wagon, but after a little trip to Jimbars in Cumbria, a little light shine was added to GB14. A full front bumper and a very tidy little rear brake light bar, both fitted with additional LED’s. Very subtle but very smart during the hours or darkness I’m sure. Anyway, back to business, Destion Denmark. 




Boys & Their Tonka Toys


You all know I like a mini artic. You all know I like a Mercedes-Benz. You all know I like a little sleeper cabs and you all know I like a bit of retro trucking. Roll these all together and there is only one result….a Mercedes-Benz 814 with an L Cab Twin sleeper. I think the range was called the LN2′ first launched in 1984. This little machine was once the king of the 7.5 tonners and many of us could only dream of driving such a truck but just as many of you were lucky enough to drive one. I remember being aged 17 and parked at McDonalds in Braintree, while all my mates were checking out their new stereos and who had the best pair of 6×9’s, so I wandered across the car park to talk to the driver of an 814 (might have been an 817). I had a MK1 Williams Renault Clio so I had nothing to prove in the car park show down! If I remember rightly the little Merc was white with maybe a red and blue stripe and a small crane mounted on the flatbed body. I think it was from the Nottingham area, although the driver said he spent most of his time doing oilfield work running between Scotland and the Mediterranean. Wow. Anyone know the description of the truck??

As I am now working in the three pointed star stables, classic Mercs come up from time to time and as I spend to much time searching for old trucks for sale across Europe in my spare time, I have recently been searching for a decent 814 L Cab Twin sleeper. The reason I look for used trucks is just in case one day my numbers do come in on the Euro Millions! So I found this little blanco frigo and it got me thinking. From now on take this as fun subject to be enjoyed and for you to add to in a constructive way if possible. If I was to buy an old 814 sleeper, could i convert it to a 6×2, tag axle tractor unit??? I know I’m odd but that’s the way my mind works. I’ll only find a 4×2 truck for sale so to turn it into a tractor I’ll have to get the gas axe out and cut the chassis. I reckon the tag axle should be fairly straight forward, using another 814 axle? Should be possible, shouldn’t it? Then the big thing I would need your advice on would be the engine. Most LN2’s were fitted with a 5.96 litre straight six, a nice little engine I’m sure, but if I’m going so far as to cut the chassis and add a rear lift axle. I want a decent power plant to take me all the truck shows. Can I replace the trucks factory fitted engine with a 5 litre V8 Diesel engine that was once fitted in various big Mercedes-Benz cars? The main reason I’d want to do this would be the sound of course, all show goers know the importance of a good V8 noise. I’m no mechanic but if the engine is just used to drive the mini tractor unit and not used to pull any weight or a load, would the engine have enough guts to power the little unit around? And would it be physically compatible/possible?

All clean comments and thought appreciated as I have a mind full of what seem like crazy ideas and sometimes I like to try and find out if any of them are possible. Just look at that little cab, gorgeous little thing, if any of you have photos you want to share then I’d love to seem them. You can email me at ben@truckblog.co.uk and I’ll post some up on the blog at a later date. Anyway the mechanics among you need to get your thinking hats on please.



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 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!


New MAN on the block!


A few posts ago I put up Steve Marsh’s last trip out in his old faithful GB05 STE, his ageing MAN TGL 12.210 tilt that has served him well, but as with all ageing European cruisers, GB05 had to be replaced to take advantage of lower toll prices and meet higher emissions standards that are required across the EU and beyond. Read the last post (ha ha) by clicking HERE.


Above you will see a couple of photos of the new motor GB14 STE killing time on a Saturday afternoon in Hull waiting for the Hull – Europoort boat. The new ride is once again a cracking little Tonka from the stables of MAN, it’s a TGL 12.250 this time. A bit more horse power, a Euro 6, 250hp engine attached to a KUDA high roof conversion. Marshy opts for the higher KUDA roof over factory fit LX cab from MAN as the KUDA option gives a little more headroom and also you have to say it does look the part being that bit higher. The truck is fitted with a Euroliner style rigid body fitted with a sliding roof and slash proof curtains and is one of only a handful of rigids registered in the UK with full TIR certification. Now don’t ask Marshy about the body build and the MAN dealers involved in this complete farce of a build, for let’s just say it took a year from order to handover and over 2 weeks for a PDI and tacho calibration, dealer standards MAN UK?? Duty of care?? Disgraceful. Another story for another day I think. Anyway so far so good and it would appear Marshy has ended up with another little stunner, a real head turner I think. If you see it on the road try and send me a photo, as yet I’ve not seen it in the flesh although my time will come……sooner rather than later I hope!

So the first trip to mainland Europe started with a Saturday load up in Hull and a Saturday night boat to Europoort courtesy of P&O Ferries. I’m told that it’s no longer a party boat on a Saturday night! Here’s the rest of the first trip;
Sunday: Drove to destination near Koblenz. Waiting at Venlo border before crossing into Germany at 10pm Sunday evening.
Monday: Tip Koblenz and drive to Paris for reload.
Tuesday: Load Paris & Oostende, then drive to destination near Bournemouth for 1st drop.
Wednesday: Tip goods from Oostende in Bournemouth and goods from Paris in Stockport. Through Lymm truckwash then a quick Bury – Warrington load.

Photo above unloading near Koblenz with tailift. Photo below was taken somewhere in France while taking a tacho break on the way to Paris.


It looks as though GB14 has carried on where GB05 left off and is already getting to grips with life in the world of international light haulage and express deliveries. I know there has been a trip across the Irish Sea for GB14 too, another very regular destination for Steve Marsh Express over the last year. I’m hoping as time goes by that GB14 will feature on the blog as much as GB05 and that the truck will find itself and it’s pilot, Mr Marsh, ticking off European countries and islands month after month much like before. If you see Marshy give him a hoot and a wave and try to get a photo in between. I’d love to see your photos of the little MAN as would Marshy.

MAN in Black


Trying to think of a title with the words “black” and “M.A.N.” In the title was no easy task I can tell you. In the end I’ve gone for the song title option courtesy of Johnny Cash.

These photos how ever are courtesy of @steviebloke on Twitter. Mr Bloke is a professional driver working for Bestlog UK delivering vehicles across the UK and Europe in his little green MAN TGL. There is also a Bestlog GMBH, the German parent company if you like. As you’d imagine between the 2 companies there are a fleet of top specced trucks and on the German side there is also a subbie or 2. Now as it stands I can’t tell you anything about this German subbie that Steviebloke saw in Bestlog UK’s yard this week but really what else do you need to know?? A picture tells a 1000 words and all that.


Just look at the shine on the bodywork. The truck is a Euro 5 MAN TGL LX 12.250. It must be Euro 5 as it’s not got the Euro 6 grill. So for a truck that is a year or 2 old to have such a shiny paint job is fairly impressive. The truck has an internal ramp that can lift a car enabling a second car to be put on the lower deck, or even his trailer can be put on the ramp to avoid paying road tolls on 4 axles. Even with painted wheels it makes for a truck that delivers the kind of impact and professionalism you’d want the driver to have when delivering supercars. Hopefully we will see or even hear from this truck/driver again in the near future but in the mean time I’ll thank @steviebloke again for the photos.




One MAN & Someone Else’s Dog



What were you upto yesterday? Nice day at home with the family? Sunday afternoon BBQ? Trip to church to have tea with the vicar? No not our MAN and pilot Steve Marsh. The majority of us were taking it steady and quite a few of you were still sleeping after a heavy night at various truck shows around the country when Marshy was already down in Birmingham loading Aircraft parts for same day delivery to Belfast. A crate over 5 metres in length required Marshy’s talents although being aircraft parts weight wasn’t an issue. Anyway the nature of express is express so Marshy was drafted in and of course the tight time scales were met dispite the best efforts of the Cairnryan sniffer dog!

“Bloomin drugs dog in Cairnryan… They asked did I mind it in the cab, I said I’d rather not… They put it in anyway. Done my delivery and back at the boat thinking its a bit warm in Belfast… Came back to my truck after a cheeky wazz and thought which nobhead had got the nightheater on. Turns out I’m the nob coz the bloody dogs trod on all my switches and turned IT on and the my frigo off…. It didn’t find anything but had a good rummage through my bin and scattered what it didn’t lick…. Woof!! 🐶”

The dog might have nicked his Hovis and tried its best to over heat him but no matter what the job is, Steve Marsh Express gets the job done……..yes that is a shameless cheesy plug!


Mystery MAN


Spotted today at Chievely Services on the M4 by @StevieBloke on Twitter. Being the driver of an MAN TGL for vehicle transporters Bestlog and also knowing I’m just a bit of a TGL fan Mr Bloke thought it’d be a good idea to share his find. Great idea! What do we know about this specialist little motor? It’s an LX cabbed TGL, not sure if it’s a sleeper or a crew cab. The chassis has stainless steel lockers mounted down the sides. The body looks to be a pretty tall sliding canvas body with drop sides. Between the body and the cab are a pair of stabiliser legs for a small Hiab crane and too finish it off it was towing a tri axle flat trailer. It must be used for installations of some sort but I’ve no idea what. Over to you lot, who knows who’s it is or what it gets up too?? Leave a comment or send me an email; ben@truckblog.co.uk

If you see some thing a bit different or something you don’t know about then send me an email and we can all play truck detectives.

Looking for my Perfect MAN!


So I did an image search for MAN TGL 12.250 and ending up stumbling across this. Probably the best looking TGL I have seen. It’s proper perfection.

MAN TGL LX 12.250 – check
Alcoa 17 inch wheels – check
Frigo body – check
Side door – check
Tail lift – check
Cab air deflector – check
Long range light weight fuel tank – check
Left hand drive – check
English owner driver – …….Bugger!!

Right next step is trying to find out who’s the owner. I can’t read what’s written on the cab and I don’t recognise the colours. It is Spanish. If any of you know what the company is then please tell me ASAP.

I have no idea who’s photo it is either, but to who ever did take it, thank you.

Northern Lights by Nick Ireland – Part 2

Blondie Scandinavia (24)

We took the direction Gothenburg, and then split off towards Stockholm. The roads were excellent, dual carriageway all the way. The extra bit of pedal left under the right foot really helped when having to push the little DAF past the massive 25m long Swedish outfits, I was in awe of them. Near Linkoping we went past some SAAB planes stuck on plinths by the side of the motorway, presumably to advertise the factory at Trollhatten although it was some miles away. Near Sodertalje we took on fuel, I could see the vast Scania factory on the opposite side of the motorway. It started getting dark about 10pm, but by 1am I was amazed to see light coming from the east, the nights are very short here. We stopped at 02:30 for a coffee in the middle of a forest area, and the light was the kind you would get around 5am in England in summer. I took some pictures of the truck and the flash still went off as it was a bit dull, but nonetheless it was light, this was messing with my head!

Blondie Scandinavia (76)

Blondie Scandinavia (103)

Blondie Scandinavia (117)

The scenery was spectacular, vast areas of forest with lots of lakes. In many places the roads were dead straight for miles, mostly single track now though, and every now and then we’d drive through a deserted town or village, although it was daylight you had to remind yourself how early it was. We reached Ostersund and parked next to some huge 8-wheeled tour buses that were carrying crew for the festival. Steve checked in with the Blondie production crew, and when we found we couldn’t position the truck for an hour or so, he got me a pass and we went off to the catering building for breakfast. When we sat down it quickly became apparent that we were sitting next to Clem, the Blondie drummer! He was giving somebody a brief history of the band and how they broke up and reformed. After breakfast Steve was able to position his truck next to our production crew’s Beat The Street bus and pull my card out. I said my thank you’s to him, and said goodbye, I was due to fly home the next morning. I got to my gorgeous, plush hotel, had a shower and went to bed, the plan being to grab a few hours before exploring Ostersund, then back to bed again in the evening.

Blondie Scandinavia (122)

Blondie Scandinavia (137)

I got up in the afternoon, and took a wander down to the concert area where I bumped into Steve. He was glad to see me, as he wanted to ask if it was a problem to stay on an extra day. He need to take a 24hr break, and wondered if I would drive the truck over to Oslo, where he would stay for a break and I could fly home from there. I had no problem with it, after all and extra days work, and an extra country to tick off my list! He also said as I had a pass I could go and watch the concert that evening, an extra bonus! I left him to make the arrangements while I took a wander around the town, and the fantastic lake that it sits next to. The town itself was nothing special, except for the fact that with no exception every single woman I saw was drop dead gorgeous, it was surreal! Near the edge of the lake I found a visiting fairground, and their trucks that were parked up were all classic Volvo F12’s and Scania 1 series, my camera was glowing red hot by the time I had finished there!

Blondie Scandinavia (152)

Blondie Scandinavia (157)

I also took a wander out of the town and found a parking area with some 25m combinations in it, a spotter’s paradise.

Blondie Scandinavia (84)

Blondie Scandinavia (90)

Blondie Scandinavia (174)

In the evening I went down and watched the concert, and was blown away, the band was fantastic. Steve spotted me down the front and called me to come round the back of the stage, and proceeded to take me onto the stage so I could watch it from the side, what a thrill.

Blondie Scandinavia (189)

After they had finished, we loaded the truck, and set off for Oslo. Heading for Trondheim it was around 5am as I crossed the Norwegian border. Being the first time I had been here I sailed through, and plodded on regardless. About half an hour later Steve poked his head out from the bunk and asked how we were doing, and how far away from the border were we? I replied ‘very well, crossed the border half an hour ago’. He asked what I had done about getting the carnet stamped? Whoops, didn’t realise we had to! So I had to backtrack, and got back to the deserted border at 6am. The customs office didn’t open until 7am so I snoozed in the seat, still feeling rather silly about my mistake. It didn’t take long to process the papers once they opened, there were only a couple of other trucks waiting with us. Then it was on past Trondheim, Lillehammer and to Oslo, the scenery was breath taking and I wish I could have taken more pictures. We reached the outskirts of the airport and found a place for Steve to park. Once again I said my goodbyes and set off for a stroll to the airport. It was a shame to leave, I would have loved to have seen a bit more of Norway, but I wasn’t needed now, Steve’s schedule was a lot more relaxed from here on in, but it was a trip I will never forget, and although I have been back to Scandinavia lots of times since I will always remember this one as the best, so far….!

Blondie Scandinavia (202)

Blondie Scandinavia (206)

Another excellent account of life of a Rock N Roll truck driver from Nick. I have used a lot of his photo in both parts of this blog, but to see all of his photos from this trip, CLICK HERE.