In International Truck Stop, July 202111 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineAugust 19, 2021

Take a tour with us through this impressive collection of rare European trucks (plus three Macks) spanning the second half of the 20th century.

It’s almost hard to know where to begin describing Jan Lewiszong’s spectacular collection of classic trucks, which numbered 40 when I called to see him in March 2019.

Although not from a transport background, Jan developed an interest in trucks from an early age, a passion that hasn’t faded over the years. The young Dutchman began by driving trucks off- road on weekends before he even had a licence. He even bought his first truck, a Reo tipper, while still at school, which he used off-road on building projects in his native town of Druten in the east of Holland.

Although the Reo was his first truck, his first “official truck”, as he describes it, was a Fiat 690, bought because it was cheap and used on international work. Another Fiat followed as a replacement before Jan switched to DAF trucks, running three 2600s and a 2800. He continued as an owner-operator up until 1988 when he began to expand the business.

The DAF 2000 DO sleeper cab was Jan’s dream truck.

The Fiat 690 reminds Jan of his first official truck.      

In partnership with his son Joep, 38, Jan runs a fleet of 20 DAF XF and two Scanias on mainly domestic work, providing cartage for companies such as Curries of Dumfries. The DAFs range in horsepower from 440hp to 480hp – perfect for the flat terrain of the Netherlands. However, the Lewiszongs prefer the highest-powered motors from their respective generations when it comes to the classic collection.

Joep has inherited his father’s passion and is currently restoring a tag-axle Streamline 143 Scania, which is being fitted with a Netherlands-made Esteppe high-roof conversion. An R-cabbed 144 530 is also at the paint shop, while a second 530, this time a 4×2, sits outside.

Scanias feature quite prominently in the collection, with the oldest being an LB 76 from 1963. However, one of the most impressive Scanias is a 1973 140 4×2 model with an interesting history. As Jan explains: “The 140 was sold here in the Netherlands before it was exported to Italy, where a tag axle was added for special transport. It then returned here through the dealership of Companijen, which sold it to a truck driver who ran out of money before he began the restoration.”

Visser Truck Restauratie carried out a nuts and bolts restoration of the Ford.

The engine had been replaced with a 141 engine, something Jan rectified by fitting the correct 140 engine. The restoration, handled by a specialist, took two years to complete and was only finished in 2018. Other Scanias in the collection include a tag axle 141 and two 142s; one a pre-intercooled tag version, the other a rare intercooled model converted to twin steer configuration by Beers, the Scania importer at the time.

Of particular interest to those fond of 1990s trucks is a T-cabbed 143 with a custom interior, which the Lewiszongs have owned for 19 years, and which was once an integral part of their haulage business. Jan explains that his driver at the time was hellbent on altering the inside. “I’m not a fan of those interiors and told him he could pay for it himself if he wanted it. I regret allowing it to happen at all.”

The big Ford Transcontinental towers over the Scania 140.

One of the rarest trucks in the collection is a Ford Transcontinental, which Jan bought unseen from Norway. Although the truck looked good in the photographs, the cab was quite rotten, and the whole truck underwent a complete restoration by Visser Truck Restauratie in North Holland, costing somewhere north of €100,000 (about $170,000). The truck, built at the Ford plant in Amsterdam, is powered by a 350 Cummins engine and is the only tag-axle Transcontinental in Holland. As with some but not all of the fleet, the truck is painted green and white. Although Jan never had this scheme as his fleet colour of choice, it was adapted from a 111 he bought and perfectly complements his classic collection.

Naturally, DAF trucks are plentiful, with one of Jan’s favourites being a 1964 DAF 2300, although he says his dream is to own a sleeper- cabbed model. All of his trucks are on the button, starting the first time and bringing a broad grin to his face as he savours the distinctive engine note of each. He confesses to preferring tag axles and says his 2600 is the only single- wheeled tag left in existence, and he’s been swapping parts from his 4×2 model to keep the tag axle in top condition.

Pre-intercooled Scania 142 tag-axle alongside the Volvo 495.

In the corner of the shed is a first-generation 2800 DKS, which dates from 1980 and was imported from France. The truck is 100% original, with a 13-speed Fuller gearbox. Another 2800 of similar vintage, a 2800 6×4 rigid, was built for the South American market, although it never actually made it that far and had spent its life in Holland on a potato farm. Back in the workshop, a second-generation 2800 is undergoing restoration.

Two of the first models of the Super Space Cab – a black DAF-powered 95 360 and a Cummins-500-powered model finished in factory yellow – are also rare items.

Scania Vabis sic-cylinder engine sounds great, according to Jan.

It’s perhaps not common knowledge that DAF also built trailers until 1979, and it’s fitting a DAF tilt trailer should feature in the collection.

In terms of Volvo trucks, there is everything from a 1964 495 model, which Jan’s cousin previously owned, to an ex-German F88, a very early ex-Norwegian flat-topped F10 from 1977 with only 85,000km on the clock, an ex-French F16 500 (he’s owned seven F16s in total) and three v1 FH16s. The XL-cabbed model came from Poland, while the two relatively unusual flat-cabbed, tag-axled models are one-owner Dutch trucks, driven by a father and son team who used them to pull flat trailers equipped with steering axles.

The interior of the Scania 140.

Some of the more obscure trucks in the collection include a 1978 Leyland Marathon. The left-hand drive truck was sold in the Netherlands and has a Fuller nine-speed gearbox. “Joep tells me to sell it, but I like it too much to sell.” That said, Jan likes to mix “a little bit of business” with his hobby and may part with some of his collection once the price is right.

Similarly, a 1973 Pegaso 2080 holds a special place in the collection as Jan proclaims to love the sound of its engine. Given that he sold the truck in 2004, only to buy it back again, I certainly cannot doubt his enthusiasm for the Spanish- built truck.

The Leyland Marathon left hooker is rare indeed.

Another rarity is the 1980 Magirus model. Given that the V12 model was only sold in Italy, Jan bought his truck from that country and does not know of another V12 tractor unit in existence anywhere else.

It is only natural that the collection should feature a Dutch-built FTF (Floor Truck Fabriek) truck, especially seeing as the former production facility is only 10km from Bergharen. Jan’s 1988 model, which he bought in 2000 when he also purchased the T143, emits a distinctive note from its V6 Detroit two-stroke engine. But that’s not the only Dutch-built brand here, as there is also a Perkins-powered Hogra. Hogra trucks were built in Ravenstein, just 11km from the Lewiszongs’ base, from 1954 until 1959, and Jan can recall driving one in his childhood.

There are also three Macks in the collection and, of course, a Fiat 690 T2, which was Jan’s first ‘official’ truck. The right- hand-drive vehicle, imported from Italy, is in beautiful condition inside and out.

Thanks to Jan and Joep Lewiszong for taking the time to share their amazing collection of trucks.

Twin-bunk Ford Transcontinental was ahead of its time.