High-flying swede

In March 2023, Million Mile Club3 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineApril 12, 2023

Our first inductee into the Million Mile Club this month is the hard-working pride and joy of Leon Wech of Hibiscus Hiab. The mighty Volvo FH12 started life as a tanker in the Nelson Tasman area in 1996. Upon completing 1,300,000km delivering fuel, it was time for a new owner to take the reins.

Junction Road Transport, Palmerston North, was the next proud owner, fitting the crane and deck for their application. From here, it was a move further north, with the FH finding a new home within the Mason Contractors fleet of Warkworth.

In about 2009, Masons sold the Volvo, and it wheeled its way into the yard of Hibiscus Tanks at Silverdale. Leon was a staff member at Hibiscus Tanks when the Volvo arrived. In 2011 Leon purchased the business from his boss, and the Volvo was still an active line on the company’s asset register, where it remains today.

The Volvo has been a solid performer – with 313kW (420hp) on tap through a manual 12-speed transmission. As Leon put it: “Five plus five and two reverse with no AMT computer to be found. Bulletproof.” In 2012, the 12-litre engine was reconditioned, clocking a near-perfect 15,000 hours since, with just a new set of injectors last August. As for the diffs, they are original, with just the odd seal replacement here and there.

Leon has only praise for his old workhorse. “Yeah, I cannot complain. It is one of those trucks that just goes to work and does its job. Sure, it is a bit old and slow now by comparison. But, hey, it has 3,000,000km on the clock, so you have to give credit where it’s due. She has a matching four-axle trailer. So it’s fair to say she is still putting in a hard day’s graft. What’s more, she regularly gets her front wheels up in the air,” Leon says with a laugh.

“She’s a great truck and does an honest day’s work. She lives in a garage, so there’s no rust in the cab or the like, and no issues at COF time. You can’t ask for more than that.” We could not agree more, Leon. She’s a solid member of the Million Mile Club.