Wilson Wednesday – European Volvolution

I could have titled this blog many things, but I had to get another Wilson Wednesday on the blog for all the regular fans. Thanks to Volvo Trucks UK we can have a WW with a slight difference. Buying a Volvo will have been a big decision for HCW, especially as they haven’t ever bought a new one before. The last two they had in my early years at HCW we’re both acquired 2nd hand I do believe. I low height 6×2 and a low height 4×2. When I heard Simon (Wilson) had decided to order a new Volvo I have to say was a little surprised. Saying that all operators need to keep manufacturers on their toes and if one can supply a truck better suited to the operators specific requirements then their isn’t a lot that can be done. Over to Volvo;


Well-known industrial and plant fabrication carriers, H.C. Wilson Transport Ltd. of Suffolk has ordered its first new Volvo truck; a high specification FH-540 8×4 Tridem tractor unit, supplied by Ian Reed, Area Sales Manager at Volvo Truck and Bus Centre East Anglia.

The Globetrotter XL 3,900mm wheelbase Tridem Pusher Axle tractor unit is powered by Volvo’s D13K engine, producing a maximum of 540hp. The FH was ordered with an I-Shift Crawler gearbox containing a direct top ratio of 19:1 and a deep multi speed reverse gear with a ratio of 37:1. A gearbox-mounted retarder also provides a substantial secondary braking system. The final drive tandem single reduction axles carry a ratio of 2.83:1.

The vehicle is rated for maximum 90-tonne operations, but will predominately work in the 55 to 60-tonne weight brackets. Both the front and pusher axles are nine-tonne air suspension units, the latter contributing to a rear bogie capacity of 32-tonnes.

“We’d previously bought our four axle tractor units from Holland, but this requirement is now better served through a dealer local to our business,” states Simon Wilson, Managing Director at H.C. Wilson Transport Ltd. “Volvo were genuinely interested to quote for such a vehicle and having a factory built four axle tractor unit was also a bonus, saving on purchase cost and delivery times.”

A Jost cast fixed fifth wheel, steel front bumper and Dura-Bright EVO alloy wheels are also included the specification.

Simon explains, “European work makes up two thirds of our total business and the regulations around German axle weights drive our choice of four-axle tractor units. I’m not a big fan of really big engines, but we have to balance power outputs and fuel consumption levels with terrain traversed and higher operating weights. We operated some early Volvo FHs that were sourced as used in the mid-1990s, but this is our first Volvo ordered new. We’re feeling our way with the vehicle at present and it’s early days. However, there’s been no complaints from the driver,” he adds.

ACH Model Now Available

Here it is, the ACH model is now available through Anglo Dutch Truck Models. I have to say I did have a little hand in getting it released but Steve at ADMT did the hard work and what a belter it is. Based on one of ACH’s F12 Globetrotters, F81 HFC, the model is well detailed with a matching tri-axle tilt. There are only 200 models all with their own certificate’s available and I know over a third of these are already reserved, so now they are on general release you better get in quick!

Get onto ADMT and get your ordered while you can, click the link to order yours HERE & NOW.

Thanks Steve and WSI for creating another awesome model. If your free Steve and ADMT will be at the NEC in Birmingham this weekend and he will have the mode with him if you want to get your hands on one super quick.

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!

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.