From the Ashes

4 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineMarch 17, 2018

Diesel Mechanical owner Susan Howlett wanted to lift the company‘s profile by giving the company Scania a total makeover. With help from Bryn Rees and the staff in the workshop, the team have achieved exactly what they set out to do and more.

This V8 450hp Scania 6×4 tractor unit started its life new to Night Trans running under contract to Falcon Freight Ltd out of Auckland. With a little over 100,000 kilometres on the clock it was sold and picked up by Rentranz in Papatoetoe, and used for container cartage around the Auckland area before it moved south of the Bombays to Hamilton in October 2014.

The repaint when the refurb was properly underway.

The Phoenix on the back wall of the cab 
along with the twin stacks.

New front flaps add to the look.

Susan Howlett took over sole ownership of Diesel Mechanical in 2009 and employed Bryn Rees to manage the workshop. The company struggled through the global financial crisis, so a business plan was put together to improve the company‘s profile.

It would be fair to say that Bryn was the only person who could see potential in the Scania when it was purchased to replace the old Mitsubishi yard truck, and it‘s also fair to say he copped a fair bit of flak about it from the rest of the team. Initially the Scania was brought up to COF standard, enabling Diesel Mechanical to hire it out to one of their valued customers until February 2015.

After the truck had been returned, Bryn and the team stripped it down, taking everything off the chassis they could. Apart from one head being removed for attention and general maintenance, the DSC14 engine had hardly been touched since it was new. Dylan from Fleet Image got to work sandblasting the chassis and helped Bryn with the paint selection. All the panel and paint work was done in-house at Diesel Mechanical‘s workshop with the help of Bryn‘s father, Mike, who worked on the cab. A trailer coupling was fitted to the rear of the chassis for a pull trailer, and then the reassembly began.


The inside will be a nostalgic trip for many.

Once the assembly was complete the Scania was sent to Nikki at Green Frog Sign and Display in Te Rapa, and with her expertise and Bryn‘s vision they came up with the design. The Phoenix on the back of the cab is symbolic of both the Scania and the company. The truck was named UR Askan, which translates to ‘from the ashes‘ in Swedish, which is a nice touch.

Back at the workshop the stainless guards, twin exhaust stacks and LED lights were added, and the V8 Scania was put to work in July 2015 towing customers‘ trailers for COF and maintenance work, along with some salvage jobs.

Diesel Mechanical‘s goal of a having a workshop vehicle they built and were proud of has definitely been achieved.

In Sue Howlett‘s words, “you can‘t buy the marketing that this truck does for us.”