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!

Advertisements

ACH Model Released for Pre Order

Finally the ACH model is available for preorder from the amazing Anglo Dutch Truck Models. This has been on the cards for a while but as you can imagine there is a lot of planning, checking and making sure colours and liveries are correct. The truck is F81 HFC, a genuine ACH truck (see photo below) that is actually still on the road in Ireland. The Volvo F12 Globetrotter tractor unit is well matched to a classic tri-axle tilt in ACH’s famous livery. I have to say Steve at Anglo Dutch has excellent himself with this one, it is very very realistic!

The model can be preordered by clicking the following link: PREORDER ACH TRUCK MODEL.

The model is likely to be physically available around October and I am reassured it will definitely be out way before Christmas. The production run will be between 170 and 200 units depending on how well they sell, so get ordering!….then we may be able to get a second one commissioned!!

If you are a genuine ex ACH employee then please can you register your interest on the ACH Facebook page, or through myself or Tony Giddins as names have to be checked to qualify for something extra.

To the rest of you then you can preorder on the Anglo Dutch Truck Model website. While you’re there have a look at the other highly detailed models that are expertly created by Steve along with WSI. I have to say I’m so pleased this model was done as a WSI rather than any other manufacturer as I think they do just pip the rest on the fine detail. The details is what makes them realistic for me.

Anyway get ordering by clicking above or click HERE.

VOLVO Launch FH 25 YEAR SPECIAL EDITION

To celebrate the introduction of the Volvo FH in 1993 – a quarter of a century ago – Volvo Trucks is releasing The Volvo FH 25 Year Special Edition. Available as both Volvo FH and Volvo FH 16, it is characterised by its distinctive exterior and interior design, superb driver comfort and state-of-the-art additional features.

The Volvo FH is one of the industry’s most successful models ever with nearly 1 million trucks sold since launch, creating a way of life for millions of drivers all over the world. The Volvo FH 25 Year Special Edition is therefore not only a celebration of the truck itself, but also a tribute to all the customers and drivers who have been driving this icon for the past 25 years.

“The Volvo FH is the perfect representation of a customer focused mind-set and a model that has been pushing the boundaries for a quarter of a century. This magnificent edition truck is therefore both a tribute to the first 25 years and a starting point for our continued successful journey with customers and drivers”, says Claes Nilsson, President Volvo Trucks.

“The first-generation Volvo FH meant so much for Volvo Trucks and the whole industry. It was a milestone; in fact, it was a game-changer that totally transformed the perception of a modern truck. Working on the design of the edition truck has been a real honour,” says Nigel Atterbury, Senior Graphic Designer at Volvo Trucks.

Cont/…..

The exterior of this special edition is best described as contemporary with a retro twist. The silver/grey and orange décor highlights the truck’s origin and the striping forms the number 25 to signal the anniversary. The striping combines 3D effects and shadows to echo the design trend of the early 1990s and gives the truck a distinct retro look. There are two launch colours, one darker, cool grey tone (Mammoth Tree Metallic) and a shiny red (Crimson Pearl), the latter a modern tribute to the original red cab colour of 1993.

When opening the door, a premium and luxurious interior awaits the driver. Safety has always been key to the Volvo FH and this passion is manifested by orange details in everything from seat belt stitches to curtains, carpets and reflective safety door decals. Using subtle, yet distinct accents, the design team has created a continuation of the safety and driver focus that has always been essential in the Volvo FH. And to enhance a great driving experience, the seats combine quilt and leather to offer exceptional comfort and design.

The limited edition truck also embodies how the Volvo FH has been, and remains, an innovation leader. It includes some of the truck’s latest breakthroughs and it can be specified with the brand-new extensions to Volvo Dynamic Steering:

• Volvo Dynamic Steering with Stability Assist. Designed to prevent skidding accidents.

• Volvo Dynamic Steering with Lane Keeping Assist. Engineered to help the driver stay in lane, preventing collisions and roll-over accidents.

• Volvo Dynamic Steering with Personal Settings. Allows individual adjustment of steering wheel resistance for convenient and comfortable driving.

“This truck really shows how Volvo Trucks is driving progress and continues to set new standards in trucking, just like the Volvo FH has done since 1993,” explains Tomas Thuresson, Global Long Haul Segment Manager at Volvo Trucks.

Tomas concludes: “It is a fantastic edition that pays tribute to a quite outstanding truck and the millions of people; customers, drivers and fans that have been engaged in the Volvo FH for 25 years.”

To summarise the official Volvo press release here are the basic details you all need to know;

Volvo FH 25 Year Special Edition

• Two versions: Volvo FH and FH16

• Two launch cabs: Globetrotter high sleeper cab or Globetrotter extra high sleeper cab.

• Two launch colours: Crimson Pearl or Mammoth Tree Metallic.

• Volvo FH 25 Year Special Edition branded interior and exterior:

o Globetrotter sign

o Striping

o Emblems

o Customised interior design (curtains, carpets, seats, safety door decals etc.).

• The Volvo FH 25 Year Special Edition will be built for a limited period during 2018 and 2019.

• Sales will begin in end of June 2018

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.

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. 

Swedefest 2017

What a show it was this year!!! On site were 240 Scania and Volvo trucks from all over the UK. That’s an amazing turnout, well done to all who organised and also those who took part. Having been involved in the show a little bit for a number of years it amazes me how the show has evolved and Michelle and Rob (and team!) deserve all the credit for getting the show to where it is. The thought that people would be coming from far and wide across the UK in Swedish trucks of all ages, to take part in a fairly exclusive small truck show is just awesome. Every model line from both manufacturers were on show, all bar a 0 series Scania I think. 240 trucks is far more than last year and walking round the show there were still some gaps so still room for more next year?! The thrill of the show for me is organiser Robs biggest head ache I’m sure. The parking. Walking along past the various model sections is just genius. I love walking past all the new V4 Volvo’s or even all the 2 Series Scania’s. I don’t know why but for me it just works, perhaps it’s my inner OCD coming out! It also helps in judging. A difficult job trust me,by no means is this show a Truckfest event or not do we ever want it to be but still, judging this year was the hardest it’s ever been and please don’t think I mean this in any other sense. It was a tough, tough choice this year and I was totally and utterly split down the middle with my category. So much so I’m going to share my judging sheet with you. I sponsor and judge the Best 3 Series Scania in the show. As a judge at Swedefest we have always been asked to judge our category based on our judgement of the best for the category title. This doesn’t have to mean the newest, the oldest, the most expensive, the cleanest or even the one with the least amount of rust or the most amount of accessories on, just the best in our opinion to suit the category. The show has never been pretentious enough to always go with the cleanest and most money spent on and testament to this was best in show a few years ago. The one and only Coopers Scania 112. It is a truck that everyone just loves for one reason and another. For me because it used to fly past my primary school and it was the stuff boys dreams were made of. The rust just added to the been there done it (at speed) feel of the truck with its similarly aged bull bar and stone guard. Hopefully when you judge in this way it breeds an air of friendliness into everything. Yes we look at those that are spotless and those that are brand new but if your fussed by a little road dirt still on a truck then perhaps a larger national brand of truck shows is more your cup of tea. Swedefest is the same as the Retroshow. It’s a unique, niche show that is for truck enthusiasts and to some extent the trophy winning is a little added bonus. It has been discussed many times about abolishing trophies altogether, again like the Retro Show. But for me I think a little trophy is a sign of appreciation for a well deserved winner. As you will see on my judging sheet, I narrowed the entries down to seven trucks that all have a star on the right. This was after an initial walk around looking at each entry and also photographing each entry. Then I usually narrow the short list down again to the final few, which I’ve put  four squares next to. Then I walk around again and just stand back and look at each of the final four trucks. What am I looking for? Exactly as asked, the best 3 series in my opinion. For me this year it was a nightmare. I love a 143 and am saving for my own. Those who know me know I love a custom truck as I used to own an airbrushed 10 tonner with metallic paint, alloy wheels and lots of lights. Then again I love and can totally appreciate a truck that is as original as it came out of the factory. This is what the decision came down too and I was torn. 100% original or 100% custom. As soon as I walked passed it, the CS Ellis 113 360 Streamline caught my eye as it took me straight back to 1995. Its as I remember seeing Streamlines when I was a teenager and this is when I fell in love with 3 series Streamlines. Also as a worthless piece of info a 113 360 Topline Streamline was the first truck I ever had a night out in at the age of 15. The other truck is The Ken Thomas 143 500 owned by John Thomas. I don’t need to say much, it’s stunning and totally a custom truck. The paint is amazing, the interiour is incredible and the metalwork is like a work art. So there’s the choice. What do you pick? For me this year 100% original won. It was clean, original and best of all is a straight out the box 3 series. This said I can honestly say I was so torn I have suggested next year I give a winner and a runner up but I know this idea won’t float with the organisers. Perhaps not a bad thing as then I’d have to award two trophies and not just one! As I’m sure you’ll agree, all in all a difficult decision to make and I’m sure it will split you all, in fact I know it will split you all. So my winner was CS Ellis and Ken Thomas 2nd but by a knats knacker, a cats whisker it’s even a fleas foot. I sincerely hope next years choice is slightly easier but please don’t go thinking original is my preference over custom. It isn’t. For me it’s the truck that fits the bill. As for the rest of the show, it was great. I am really beginning to like the “new” V4 Volvo’s and I think I have finally accepted the new Next Gen Scania if it’s painted correctly. I just hope next years show has as many or more trucks and I also hope we are still giving trophies to appreciative participants. Remember folks this is Swedefest not Truckfest. Well done Michelle and Rob, please put me down to sponsor Best 3 Series again if that’s ok. Bring on 2018!

Immaculate F89 For Sale

I’ve been emailed with this immaculate 1976 Volvo F89 rigid. Yes it’s just been washed but even so it looks in good condition. The owner is still working it out in Korinthos, Greece but is looking to sell her on. I am told she is all original but you Volvo fans will tell me different. She has a drawbar coupling, which would prompt me to put her back to a drawbar with two tilt bodies to give her the real 1970’s look. 

Just imagine the trip to driver her home. Ship back from Greece and up through Italia over the Alpes and your back. While your down there you might find a trailer, in fact I haven’t asked my new Greek friend if he has a trailer to go with it. I’m loving the exhaust pipe, twin wheel rear lift and best of all the polished beer keg water container! Now get ready, you might be thinking great truck what about the price?? Well between you me and the gatepost I reckon you get it all the way back to the UK for less than £20k. The truck itself is for sale at €12,000……yes you read it right; €12,000. That’s got to be a good price and it has to head back to the UK or Northern Europe surely?! If anyone is serious and wants contact details I can happily buy you in touch. If you just want photos I have a few more I can send you.  Any takers??