Retro Show 2017

Last year blog readers voted Lee Herbert’s Retro Truck Show as their show of the year and I think it could well be in the running again this year. A small show with bags of quality, plenty of trucks and enough truck enthusiasts to sink a battleship. The one thing this show seems to attract is proper truck nuts, those who know their trucks and those who don’t want tons of commercialism. If you like trucks and you like looking at and talking trucks from the golden years then this is the show you need to put in your diary for 2018. Quite often it would seem that all the retro trucks are Scania’s as they seem to have lasted and are obviously very popular. This year there was definately a few more Scania’s but what was very noticeable was the increase in all other marques. Plenty more Volvo’s, DAF’s and of course the rebirth of the original Italian Stallion, the Iveco Turbostar. What can you say about them?? They have a reputation as a flying machine with their monsterous 17 litre, V8 engine and getting up close they do give a feeling that they just want to fly! You could have taken your pick from black, blue or red and they were all in full “Iveco Special” livery. Even though I’m not a lover of red, the red one just looked the business in my book. Perfecto!As I mentioned earlier there were a number of other marques that haven’t been at the show in the last few years and it seems a wider variety of trucks are now being saved from the rust devils. Bedford, DAF, Ford, MAN loads of  ERF and a few others. All the trucks at this years show bought back many memories for all I’m sure and this is really the essence of the show. In the least geeky way possible this really is an enthusiasts show. For me the highlight of being there is meeting the people who lived and worked through the golden years. I could listen to drivers stories for ever. The images that are conjured up in my mind can’t be far from the truth and it just makes me wish I was 20 years older!! Ex Middle East stories, Astran stories, Ralph Davies stories (someone needs to write an RD book!), Scottish stories, Irish flyer stories and of course good old English stories. It’s a weekend of talking and enjoying each other’s company even if the weather tried it’s best to ruin it, although I’m pleased to say without success. One thing I must add is that this year I took my first truck to the show and what a truck it was. I was privileged and honoured to be asked if I would take the delightful new Scania 143 of Ken Thomas to the show. Truck owner one John Thomas (son of Ken) was due to go to a road run with some other trucks so asked if I wanted to take the 143 on its first UK truck show outing. How could I resist. Much like a kid in a sweet shop is how I managed. The truck is a dream to drive and the paintwork, well what can I say. More than anything, everyone made a comment on how good the paintwork is. A full custom leather interiour finishes the truck off. I would personally like to thank John for trusting me with his new pride and joy and I will happily volunteer for more Show duties if needed. Thanks John. As for the rest, please click HERE to see the other photos I took. Just to many good trucks to put on here and all a credit to their owners and restorers. One thing I like more than anything about restored trucks is the provenance some of them come with. By this I mean there are just a few ricks at the show that have lived the life and been there and definately done it more than others. To see these trucks at the show is awesome and just proves that UK truckers were and still are the best in the business, well the true core drivers are! There were a Ralph Davies Volvo and Scania at the show and to sit in the Scania and just think where they have been to and returned from year in and year out is mind blowing. As for the Astran Volvo, still in working condition but who cares! She’s lived the life and deserves to be a little scruffy round the edges, although Karl does say she’ll get a little touch up sooner or later.That’s it for another year and I will defo be back in 2018. Whether I have a truck to take or not is another matter, but I suggest every one of you put it in your diaries. True truckers will be there enjoying what’s left of drivers cammoraderie and talking about the trucks that gave the UK it’s pioneering name in road transport. Well done Lee and team, excellent show. May be, just may be Truck Show of the year 2017??! 

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MAN in Madrid

It’s been a while since we had Steve Marsh gracing the pages of TB with his little MAN TGL 12 tonner. Last week was ideal for a little blog trip with the little MAN, saying that it actually started at the end of the week before last. As is the nature of international express light haulage, when done properly by a proper professional (that’s you Steve!), no job is ever the same. This time round it was UK – Spain Express. Ready? Set? Go! International light haulage is go…..

– 6 collections Thursday afternoon and Friday in the U.K. Also squeezed in a UK job on the way round. 

DFDS Sailing from Dover to Calais Friday night.

– Parked up just south of Bordeaux Sat night till Mon morning.

– Drove from Bordeaux to Madrid Monday. 

– Delivered to IFEMA exhibition centre in Madrid Tuesday.
– Loaded cardboard packaging near Le Mans, France on Wednesday afternoon.
– Spent Wednesday night fending off the migrants at Translay services on the A28 (even though its 1hr 40mins from Calais, don’t park there northbound!!).

– Delivered to Howden, Yorkshire on Friday morning. 

Having arrived in Madrid Marshy sent me the above photo of the number 1 member of the Little Big Cab Club. It had potential so I tweaked it a little and repaid his photos with a little Touch Note postcard! I’ll say it every time I blog about the little MAN but I love a little rigid truck, a 12 tonner is spot on. The blog tends to keep my urges to go back on the road and without the likes of Steve Marsh’s trips to write about I think I’d struggle to get through the working week tied to my desk. If any of you want to offer a long distance diary then please do email me. Photos and a description of what you got up to is all it takes. My email address is; ben@truckblog.co.uk 

Palms from Beach

I’m here sitting on a very sunny beach and if we had Palm tree’s on the beach we could be anywhere else but the UK. This has lead me to writing a small blog on one of my favourite company’s from the Truckstar Festival. I would say this year but without checking I’m sure I wrote about KE Palms Åkeri AB last year. The trucks from Schweden are in my all time top trumps truck list as they are timeless. They have Scandinavian style but in a retro way, they look like classic trucks from yesteryear but they are definately not from the 70’s or 80’s. The Scania 144 460 may be slightly older than the R580 Topline but both are styled to perfection. Once again I find myself loving green trucks but who cares! I’m sorry to say my photographic skills have been overcome by the excitement of seeing these trucks, therefore I have failed to get photos that show the trailers and the “less-is-more” livery. The step frame box behind the R580 once again looks like it’s come straight back from the desert but enough lights to make it look simply stunning. As for the tilt behind the 4 Series, I’m not sure I can put down the right words! The only thing that topped last year was the stunning 141 Rigid in proper classic retro Palms livery. This is 100% straight out of the 1970’s, just spot on. As clean as a whistle and restored perfectly. For me a small fleet doesn’t get better than these. I just wish that sitting here the beach, I could sit under these type of Palms, possibly the only way to make my holiday better than it already is!! 

Leggett Freightways


Great English company that used to cross the continent every week. I have this photo on my Flickr photo page from a chap who used to take photos of Tiltec trailers. What I love about the blog is that every now and again I get a little gem of a comment or email. These comments / emails might not mean much to you by make the blog worth while for me. Here we go, the following email came from WSK Bryan; 

Hello

Squire you have a most excellent pic of PMU 507Y on this page.

Both my father and I worked for Leggett Freightways for many a year at the Swindon depot that particular unit ended up as the shunter for the Birmingham depot its sister PMU 506Y was used at Swindon until it to konked out it was a quite powerful beast not at all like the Gardner 180s that we had.

It brings back a few memories.

Truckstar Festival 2017

You will have noticed I’ve been very quiet since the last weekend of July. It just so happens the last weekend of July is the biggest and best truckshow (in my opinion) in Europe – Truckstar Festival. When you get off the ferry in Hoek early and have a good run up through the Netherlands to the TT Circuit at Assen. It’s taken me this long to recover in all respects, so I’m ready to share. When you arrive at the show to check in and the above new Scania pulls up along side, you know it’s going to be a good weekend! Just a note both Scania’s are top of the range for their time. Nearly 40 years apart there is a huge difference between the two, but good to see them side by side to compare. Having checked in and moved on into the oldtimer section in the pit area of the circuit, we are greeted by this DAF 3600. Newly and fully restored truck and trailer, when this is the first truck you see in the oldtimers you know it’s going to be a good weekend! I’ve never got to close to one of these very popular old DAF’s, but although the fridge trailer is now all wooden floors, plush bedrooms and a gorgeous kitchen suitable for any Michelin star chef, the interiour of the cabine was brilliant. I’d never realised there was quite so much space in the first Space Cab. It would pass as a decent twin sleeper today, let alone 30 years ago. The one thing that caught my eye was the gearstick standing in the side of the drivers footwell, not on the engine tunnel. Compared to the 3600 DAF, there were plenty of newborn DAF’s with simple but stunning paint jobs. Perhaps the big DAF cab warrants a “less is more” paint scheme?? The purple on this truck was amazing, it gave lots of different shades depending on the intermittent sun, but overall just stunning. Then further round the show truck area was another “less is more” stunner. The black was just black. If you get annoyed that you can’t get a simple straight red or green as there can be too much choice then this was the opposite. If you just was gloss black then this was it. It’s just black. A few simple accessories such as the American influenced wheel nut covers, then this truck is the ultimate definition of “less is definatley more”. One thing you notice when you get to Assen is that the Dutch are ridiculously friendly and secondly it’s a truck show. It’s not anything else, it’s trucks, owned and operated by truck people, on show for truck people. If you’ve not been, I say it every trip, you’ve got to get yourself along. I’ll leave this blog with a selection of other finds from the first few hours at the show. When you see all these trucks in the first afternoon, you know it’s going to be a good weekend! More to come another day dear readers. I’m off for a lie down.