Mountain MAN

…..and he’s back! The MAN always in the mirror, the MAN of quite a few moments on the blog, the MAN about most European towns, the MAN that MAN should be rewarding with the amount of publicity this MAN gets them! Still the best truck on the MAN range and possibly the best 12 tonner on the market (it has a built in fridge unlike the rest).

So it’s been a been a fair while since top blogger Steve Marsh of Steve Marsh Express fame has felt he has done a job worthy of another blog. From what I can work out he’s been busy keeping the Irish Express routes alive and kicking. Plenty of work from the North West out to Ireland, well enough to keep Marshy busy most weeks. Imagine my surprise when I saw the SME availability email come round advertising that he would be empty all the way down in France 74. Now even with my basic knowledge of Europa I knew this is down in the mountains heading for Swiss.

I love Marshy’s emails and I love the fact he still loves his job and getting out and about. Please note even this trip started with a Shamrock Express! Here we go then…….

Bring on the blogs…. Blogtastic !!!!

Mon: Load a full load of shop fittings from Manchester to tip Ireland Tuesday ASAP.

Tue: Deliver to a card shop in Dublin centre. Tried to load a 96” screen from Facebook, Dublin for Telford but security wouldn’t let me as no one had told them I was coming. Had to leave empty handed and no back load. 😢

Wed: Load a full load of assorted building supplies from Lichfield, GB.

Thurs: French travel day!

 Fri: Deliver to what will be a very nice ski apartment renovation in Les Gets, France 74.

 Mon: Loading a sliding roof job in Bourges, France for Preston, GB.

 Like the old days for me too 😊!!

Quel agréable voyage mon bon homme. Nice to get out to mainland Europe I’m sure and not just quick one either. I’m sure a sunny trip to the alps is always near the top of a good trip to France. Hopefully we won’t have to wait to long for the Marsh MAN to appear back on our screens with voyage Europeén.

Retro Show – The Social Part

Another weekend and I’m back at Londra Camp or perhaps even the Hotel National in Belgrade. Loads of the best retro trucks in the UK and a growing number from Europa and all the kings of the road you could ever hope to meet and listen to stories from. The shows this year have become more and more social but combine this with trucks from my childhood and once again an awesome weekend was had by all. For me meeting these Kings of the road is what it’s all about, the stories they can tell, the places they have been and the trucks they have driven, my generation can only dream. To name a just a few people I stood and chatted/listened to this weekend;

  • Charles Russell
  • Roland Simey
  • Nick Bull
  • Karl Skilton
  • Andrew McDevitt
  • Kevin Mackin
  • Paul Rowlands
  • Baz (if you know you know!)
  • and of course one of my true hero’s still out and about on the road………
  • These men all need dictaphones and books written about them or by them, Mr Coghill you need to get on with it! As I said in my Truckstar blog, sadly I wasn’t able to enjoy the golden era but chatting to these knights of the road you can get a real idea of the adventure, hardship, bad times and of course good times they endured. For any young drivers of the current modern generation, can you imagine being told to go to Pakistan from London?? No? just to add to the adventure there was no sat-nav, no road maps or readable signposts once past Turkey, for that matter not many “roads” either. One of the best quotes of the weekend from a certain Charles Russell went something like this;
  • “When I was a young owner driver with just one truck, my pal Ralph had his own truck too. I met him on his way back from his first trip to the continent and do you know what he said?? That continental work isn’t for me.”
  • – The Ralph in question was of course a certain Mr Davies. Just brilliant but unless you take the time to talk to these men then you never get to hear such awesome tales.
  • The show itself was once again a triumph. Lee Herbert and his team put on what was the best retro show I’ve been too, that said next year is the 10th anniversary so I can’t wait for that already. Get the date in your diary, next years Retro Truck Show is from September 11th to 13th 2020. There seemed to be more restored/retro trucks than ever before. The quality of these trucks gets better and better and there is definitely more types of truck, not just Volvo and Scania. Renaults, ERF, Iveco eight wheels MAN’s and even a Fiat all being restored back to their former glory. As it goes there was only one Transcon that was at the start of its new life and very much need a good polish! I’m sure there are more Transcons about that could come along next year but after one of Roland Simeys stories I’m not so sure….
  • If you are a truck enthusiast then the retro show is for you. It’s run by truck people for truck people. Evident that the man who runs the show is a gas engineer but grew up with trucks and loves trucks. All who attend are truck mad and as there are no prizes to be won it just shows that all trucks are there as their owners are proud to show them and just do it for the trucks and love of diesel! Not a lot of feed back from those I spoke to other than more trucks the merrier. Perhaps the one thing I did hear from a few people was, there were a lot of new trucks there again. Don’t get me wrong I love seeing them and being able to compare the same make 30 or 49 years apart is a pretty cool concept. I am guessing there is an element of a few new trucks make up the numbers but then again what do you class as a retro truck?? I fine line for the organisers to think about but for me personally I don’t think it is far off perfect at all.
  • Big Boys & Their Big Toys

    Big boys have big toys we all know that, but when two company directors are as truck mad as the drivers they send all over Europe, then why shouldn’t they have a big toy to play with?? If I could afford a truck and trailer to play with then I’d do the same, at the end of the day with directorship comes big responsibility and big stress, so surely that allows big toys?!

    The two directors above are two of the biggest truck nerds you could meet, both nuts about their respective Swedes. The photo was taken en route to the Truckstar Festival in Holland back at the end of July and the two trucks were side by side for a fair distance from what I hear. What a treat for all the drivers coming the other way, 1980’s retro trucking at its best. The other this I hear is that the two of them were giggling like school boys with new BMX bikes oh and something else to do with no speed limiters but I don’t know what they are on about!!

    What a sight, even better with a little black and white. I’m not sure which one I’d rather be piloting, both great to look at, both big cans compared to the competition, both a drivers dream. For me restored trucks don’t get better than these two and I just wish everyone could afford to have a trailer with their tractor units, it just rings every bell on the old skool wall. For me I saw these two and as awesome as the scene is, it just reminds me in every way of two other famous trucks…….

    Truckstar Festival 2019 – The Social Part

    This years Truckstar Festival, well, what can I possibly say on here that would give you any idea on what this years show was like?! What I have thought of doing is making it a two parter, social part and trucks part, so here we go.

    It was hot, now I mean hot, 40’c Friday, 36’c Saturday and a little cooler on Sunday but still over 30. We arrived at the show a lot earlier than in previous years which was good because we got to see plenty of stuff arrive and we were actually in the first wave of old timers arriving. So early in fact that the V8 hadn’t even arrived, let alone be set up and serving like normal. My very good friend Anton Brouwer and his merry team, soon arrived. As you can see above Anton was keen to give me a beer, he did home delivery. The above photo taken by me sitting in my deckchair as the big 140 Super arrived. From this point on the show became what I can only describe as the most social truck show I have ever been too. More so than all 7 visits to Assen or anywhere else for that matter. Why?……. I have no idea, perhaps the heat and the sun? Perhaps everyone trying to get into the shade of the beer tents? No idea but it was awesome. The Dutch are just the best!

    I am sadly to young to have ever had the chance to get to Londra Camp in Istanbul, but like me I’m sure we all have a good idea what that place was like on a weekend, buzzing for want of a better phrase! To me this years Truckstar Festival made me think of Londra Camp. James and I met so many people we knew and have met before or not seen for ages, that we bearly managed to make one whole lap of the show truck area. Every 50 metres we met another old face, with who we shared a joke, a beer and had a catch up. Not only out walking the show. By the time evening came, the beer was flowing, old friends were dancing and drinking, then more people arrived at the V8 bar. Plenty more stories, plenty more cheers when the Danish contingent arrived. Then a little later a few more English, Irish and some Germans appeared. It was an endless flow of truckers from all over Europe, all meeting up for some time out, some beer and a good laugh. As with the big truck stops of the 70’s and 80’s some of these people I haven’t seen for a few years or even met before, but we all have a common interest and a common love of Trucks, beer and meeting new folk. It may be you won’t see them again, but that never seems to matter with trucking people. There is never any “ice to break” or any issue of who’s who, we are all there to have a good time. To me this is how I imagine the golden days of international trucking to be. If you’ve been lucky enough to enjoy such a night off in a far flung corner of europa, with a load of drivers you may or may not know, please please please let me know all about it.

    The Dutch have a great ability to make you feel welcome and to make sure everyone is included and having a good time. For those who have had the pleasure of visiting the V8 Bar in the Oldtimers section of the show, you will know this is exactly what Anton Brouwer and his team manage to achieve every visit. James and I are V8 bar regulars, but we were joined by the Van Der Nunn’s and also by trucking royalty, mr Mike Tasker. MWT is a proper English international owner driver, proper old school. A long time sub contractor to HC Wilson, there is no where in Europa Mike hasn’t been to with one of his V8’s, everywhere that is except for the Truckstar Festival. Apart from being like a kid in a sweet shop all weekend, Mike was a great example of the whole atmosphere of the show. Never been before, but after the first night at the V8 Bar, he has made some new friends and was chatting about all sorts with all sorts of people, drivers, operators and even farmers who just love old V8’s! GW your turn next.

    The Dutch have made trucking a pleasure to be involved with, if you have lost you way with trucks, your job, driving in the UK, then somehow get yourself across the water to, what has become for me anyway, Europe’s trucking Mecca. A few days of trucks in the Netherlands will soon make you realise trucking is cool and well respected everywhere apart from in the UK. Get yourself to Truckstar Festival and this message will be hammered home like Thor in the tool aisle at a DIY shop! There are hoards of youngsters wanting to be truck drivers, most look hardly old enough to drink let alone drive trucks. There are families there who have no ties to trucks or transport and when asked, they will tell you they just love trucks.

    Two Three things I have realised;

    1) I was born 20 years to late to know what real European trucking was like back in the golden days.

    2) I should be Dutch or at least living in the land of the wooden shoe.

    3) If you like trucks you should MUST get yourself over to Holland for the Truckstar Festival. If you don’t…… well……. no euro-pop, accordion, trance music for you! Oh or the best trucks and truck people in Europe.

    MB 817 still Going International

    After all the hype of the little MB814 I saw last week on my holidays, I was sent a few photos from various readers….thank you. Of course there’s always a Top Trump in the pack and it just so happens it was sent it by one of the original 814 pilots himself, Mat Ireland. Out and about in Austria last week on his way to Romania, imagines Mats excitement when his big DAF came upon this little #littlebigcabclub gold member! This is a Mercedes-Benz 817, sleeper with tilt body as you can see. Photoed in Austria heading eastbound, it was most likely heading home to Serbia judging by the registration plate. Another 1000km minimum added to the odometer if not more depending where it had actually been. I do wonder how many miles the old girl had in her but I guess that’s the age old question, I better get measuring that piece of string! Top Spotting Mat thank you.

    TBHQ – A Home for Anything Truck

    A few more bits added to the collection. A huge thank you to the one and only Paul Rowlands. I am now looking after these bits for Paul in TBHQ. For those who have read the book about Paul’s time out on the road you will already know of the job the photos and paperwork refer too. For those who don’t know what it’s all about then you need to get yourselves a copy of Paul’s book; It’s not All Sunshine and Sand – click the link to go straight to the Old Pond Publishing website and get your copy.

    Thanks again Mr Rowlands – I now need to find the Toleman photos I got from Toleman HQ back in the early 1990’s…..