INTO THE 10S

In Iveco, Isuzu, DAF, Scania, Volvo, MAN, Mack, Freightliner, UD, November 2020, Western Star27 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineDecember 29, 2020

It is that time of the year again to look back a decade and roll call our feature trucks that made up our class of 2010. How have they performed? Where do they reside now? Let‘s find out! It is that time of the year again to look back a decade and roll call our feature trucks that made up our class of 2010. How have they performed? Where do they reside now? Let‘s find out!

The dawn of a new decade is always tinged with an atmosphere of excitement and anticipation, and with the financial stresses of the past couple of years brought about by the GFC fresh in our minds, we looked towards 2010 with new hope and in search of opportunity. The country was under the control of the National Party with Sir John Key midway through his first term as the leader and Prime Minister of ‘Noo ZeeLund‘. For JK the job throughout 2010 required all manner of bending over backwards and forwards. This included rolling out the red carpet for Warner Brothers and their $500 million dollar wallet and appeasing the rift between the actors and film-making technicians. This in turn ensured that Peter‘s mighty Weta could progress with the filming of longbearded vertically challenged people walking over the rolling paddocks west of Matamata looking for a ring. Other areas of film and media also found themselves making waves requiring the smoothing over of JK‘s diplomatic trowel as Paul Henry had us choking on our bacon and egg benny breakfast when he questioned the eligibility of the then Governor General Anand Satyanand because he did not look or sound like a Kiwi.

This had veteran protester John Minto immediately reaching for his placard and dancing at the doors of TVNZ calling for Paul‘s immediate sacking; fair to say the dull ache from that sacking is still radiating. Unfortunately, although we looked towards 2010 with new hope and opportunity, little did we know it had a couple of nasty surprises in store for us. It was the wee hours of Saturday 4 September where an overload of seismic energy that had formed under the Canterbury Plains reached its breaking point; the following magnitude 7.1 event was shallow and sharp, leaving a trail of destruction far and wide. The many aftershocks that followed left locals fearing another big event, and six months later on 22 February, this sadly became grim reality. Then as we had the festive season and summer holidays square in our sights, the South Island was rocked to the core yet again on 19 November. This time the West Coast took the brunt, in particular 29 families losing their loved ones to the Pike River mine explosion. Ten years on our hearts sincerely go out to those families who still await closure, and pray that this is not too far off now. Roading infrastructure projects were beginning to kick off early in 2010 following on from Steven Joyce‘s ‘Roads of National Significance‘ announcement the previous year. It was at the breaking ground celebration for the Te Rapa bypass where Joyce mentioned in his speech how he was excited at the prospect of a 35-minute reduction in travel time between Auckland and Tirau upon completion of the new Waikato Expressway.

We do wonder if he made allowance in his calculations for the speed reductions currently being rolled out countrywide over what are now our ‘Roads of National Disgrace‘. Throughout 2010 the transport industry saw conservative sales numbers that virtually mirror-imaged the previous year. Bill English‘s tax reforms and the increase of GST to 15% may have contributed here, but more likely the lingering recovery from the 2008 crash was still in effect. Our feature trucks for 2010 were again a varied cross section that was dominated by offerings from all corners of Europe, with six of them representing the EU, three from North America, and two out of Japan. Most have changed hands at least once, with only two remaining with their original owners as tested. Without further ado, we open the yearbook and check in on New Zealand Trucking‘s Class of 2010.

January/February
THE ARGOSY AND THE ECSTASY

Freightliner Argosy 8×4

Then: EWC615 – Glenwood Cartage Ltd Now: KB Haulage Ltd

We kicked off 2010 with one of the last Argosys to feature a touch of yellow under the cab, as Caterpillar decided at the time to kill off its on-highway engine business. The accountants at Caterpillar didn‘t see enough return on investment for the billions it would cost to develop the famous yellow engines to a level of compliance beyond Euro 4. Glenwood Cartage‘s 8×4, christened Comfortably Numb, ran the Advanced Combustion Emissions Reduction Technology (ACERT) on the C15, good for a solid 410kW (550hp). ‘Quiet and comfortable‘ was one description of the truck in our report, despite massive twin pipes exiting just ahead of the left-hand toolboxes. Current owner Trina Brooky, director of KB Haulage Ltd in Te Awamutu, says that the twin pipes have been replaced with a single-exit straight pipe, and that the CAT motor has been good as gold. “Sounds like an aeroplane starting up,” she says. Trina acquired Comfortably Numb (it still goes by that name) in March 2020 and the current mileage is over 1,176,000km. She‘s known of the truck for many years as a friend of hers used to drive it, and previous owner Huka Haulage (who temporarily changed its name to Ride the Lightning) took care of the engine and gearbox, so other than a few seals Trina‘s had to do nothing major. The Argosy mainly does farm deliveries of posts and timber for Trina‘s other company, Absolute Fencing Supplies Ltd, as well as bagged and bulk fertiliser, machinery, compost, hay, silage and the like.

March
AUSSIE TRUCK WITH A KIWI SPIN

Iveco Powerstar ADN560 8×4

Then: FDJ683 – Sorensen Transport Ltd Now: Same owner

By the time you read this, Sorensen Transport of Te Kuiti may or may not still own our March 2010 cover truck – at the time of writing the company had listed the Iveco Powerstar for sale on Trade Me. After completing nearly one million kilometres in the Sorensen fleet, the Powerstar was to be replaced by another Iveco, a new Stralis. Clearly, Sorensens knows how to get the best out of an Iveco … we reported at the time that the company ‘has an Iveco with over a million kilometres on its Cursor 10 and reckon they are on to a good thing with the brand‘. Stephen Andrew, who manages the company‘s maintenance division, says that the time came to retire the truck when diesel was found to be mixing with the coolant. The original 417kW (560hp) Cursor 13 E4 was extracted and a replacement motor fitted – and the decision to let go of the old girl was made. “Apart from that it‘s been a brilliant truck,” he says. The Powerstar has towed a 4-axle trailer all this time, and certainly lived up to its ‘Quiet Achiever‘ name.

April
FRENCH PREMIERE

Renault Premium Lander 440.26T

Then: FEG742 – Russell Carnegie (Mainfreight) Now: Blue Tui Distribution

“These trucks are underrated in New Zealand. I used to work in Papua New Guinea, we had 20 Premium Landers and I was very impressed with the way they handled the rough terrain over there. A lot of the roads there are unforgiving but the old Renaults handled things well. That‘s the reason I looked into it,” says Geoffrey McCaull, who acquired FEG742 in March 2019. Geoff and wife Tui “tidied it right up” with a new paint job featuring a ghostly effect of Elvis on the side of the cab and called it Moody Blues. And as for the mechanicals … “Mate! I‘ve had nothing at all go wrong with it, other than the radiator that was leaking when I first got it,” he says proudly. “It‘s a beautiful truck, good as gold. We may get another one.” Geoff bought it at 475,000km and in the hands of driver Rodney Gates another 65,000km has been added so far on port duties around the Port of Tauranga, moving “pretty much whatever‘s going”. Geoff says he‘d recommend these trucks to any small operator wanting a driver-friendly truck to start off with, which pretty much echoes our sentiments in the April 2010 test. At the time it ran in the challenging West Coast on a time-critical container run and we concluded that the Renault was not what we expected, was easy to underestimate, and had more than enough capability to handle whatever was thrown its way.

May
VOLVO STOCK HIGH

Volvo FH520

Then: ROSCOZ – Ross Parker (Stock Lines) Now: HFU339 – Ranfurly Transport

It was with high expectations that we featured the first facelift second-generation Volvo FH in the country on the cover of our May 2010 issue. In its Stock Lines colours the FH520 sure looked evolutionary, prettier, and with a more modern cockpit – but had ‘lost not one iota of its considerable capabilities‘, we concluded. The Volvo is now pushing a million kilometres having spent the past few years in McLaren Transport colours. Ranfurly Transport‘s Richard Duffy has bought McLaren Transport and inherited the Volvo. When we spoke to him in October about the truck, Richard said it was at McCormick Motor Bodies in Dunedin being painted into Ranfurly colours and undergoing conversion to a freight truck. “It had been run out of central Otago, solely on stock. The crates were buggered on it so I‘m converting it to freight,” says Richard. Mechanically Richard says the Volvo is good, though he‘s not sure what McLarens might have done to it. Needless to say, Volvo‘s FH went on to achieve significant prominence over the years and though subsequent generations. Those high expectations were certainly lived up to.

June
UD LOGS ON TO FORESTRY WORK

UD Quon CG470

Then: FFT454 – R J Knight Ltd Now: Loadco Ltd

Our first Japanese test of the decade was a menacing black UD CG470 Quon 8×4 logger of R J Knight Ltd. Operating in the forests of the central North Island, the Quon was one of only three Japanese trucks in the company‘s colours at the time. ‘There‘s room for them in the logging industry‘, said company owner Roger Knight. Our conclusion of the test was complimentary: ‘It‘s not going to blow your socks off by being an outstanding performer in any one area, but is capable of being impressively competent of doing anything that is asked of it.‘ Indeed, this Quon has proved itself operating in the rough world of logging its whole life, recently in the Holmes Group, and for the past six months under the stewardship of Loadco Ltd. Loadco managing director Digby Cameron says it‘s used a lot as a spare truck for the company‘s operations around Tokoroa. With approximately 680,000km under its belt, the only mechanical change Digby‘s aware of is a replacement turbo that he had fitted. “It‘s going good, I don‘t put a lot of pressure on it, it‘s good back-up truck,” he says.

July
MAIN MAN

MAN TGA 32.430 8×4

Then: FDZ276 – AMC Transport Ltd (Mainfreight) Now: RL Denton Ltd

The older MAN TGA was perhaps not the most glamorous model in the company‘s lineup, that honour falling to the newer, more distinguished TGS and TGX models that replaced it in 2007. Yet in 2010 the TGA was still available in Aotearoa. We explained in the July 2010 issue that ‘the brand had had a chequered history in New Zealand‘ and it had been seen as ‘something of a boutique brand‘. Another Mainfreight truck on containers, the constructionspec TGA 32.430 8×4 we tested was the first of its kind on this type of work (and the first 8×4 TGA tractor on the road) – chosen at the time by owner-driver Tony Cutelli because ‘it ticked all the right boxes‘. In the mid-2010s it joined the RL Denton fleet, still on containers. Owner Bob Denton ran it to approximately 700,000km before it was removed from service. “It‘s currently parked up in the yard and looking very sad and very tired,” he says.

August
TORQUE IT UP

Scania R620

Then: HZAD0S – Haz Haulage Ltd (ChemCouriers) Now: HTE006 – Hemming Transport

The ChemCouriers Scanias run by Haz Haulage have always been distinctive – partly because of the sunglass-wearing Rottweilers looking to the horizon from their roof-top air deflectors, and partly because of their big-power V8s. The 8×4 R620 we tested in the August 2010 issue wore the famed HZAD0S rego – which can today be seen on our October 2019 Top Truck, a new-generation R620. For the last four years of its time with the company the original R620 ran the Auckland to Whangarei route. Haz Haulage ran it until August 2019. It was then sold to Hemming Transport in Tokoroa with 1.38 million kilometres on the clock. Lionel Hemming explains that in little over a year with his company the truck has run only 60,000km-odd, and has now been semi-retired due to problems with its rebuilt engine. “We bought it as well as an old Booth‘s trailer because we were doing some floating work for Booths into Rotorua. We had a bit of work lined up for it but we‘ve been limited with what we could and couldn‘t do with it. It does the job if we need a fill-in truck for a couple of days but I wouldn‘t put it back into daily linehaul, which is unfortunate because the rest of the truck isn‘t too bad,” he says.

September
ISUZU FILLS A GAP

Isuzu EXY400 Giga

Then: FGP996 – Isuzu NZ Now: Christchurch Ready Mix Concrete Ltd

The September 2010 test was slightly different from the norm, the Isuzu came direct from Isuzu NZ and hadn‘t as yet entered duty with its first owner. In fact, it was out-the-box new, with a mere 6000km on the clock. We hooked it up to a TR Trailer Rentals 3-axle trailer loaded up to its 39-tonne capacity, and took a trip through Auckland to Warkworth to see how the big Isuzu got on with its 294kW (400hp) 16-litre engine and 16-speed AMT transmission. We concluded that with the EXY400 Isuzu was ‘back on track with a model that is sure to keep the accountants happy, not to mention the driver‘. Chatting to Hayden Leach, general manager of Christchurch Ready Mix Concrete Ltd, it would seem we were right on the money with this one. Granted the Isuzu‘s first and only owner has a fleet of more than 200 trucks, and it may have only clocked up 261,000km in 10 years, but there hasn‘t been one issue on record with it. “It‘s been a reliable truck. No major issues at the workshop end at all, which is a really good sign. It‘s been a good performer,” Hayden says. Part of the company‘s transport fleet based out of its Belfast depot, FGP996 has moved aggregate around from quarries to processing plants and to customers. “We bought several new trucks just post-earthquake, and so with the larger H-plate trucks we‘ve had this doing more delivery work of late,” Hayden says.

October
SOLE STAR

Western Star 4964SX

Then: FHC6 – GJ Sole Ltd Now: Same owner

The second of two trucks to still be in operation with its original owner as tested, The Phantom is still a common sight on the logging scene in the greater Taranaki region. GJ Sole fleet #39, the big 8×4 Western Star is “still very much on the road, still logging like any other of our trucks,” we‘re told. Mainly based in Taranaki, it can be seen – still looking as new as it did on the cover of our October 2010 issue – in Wanganui and up to Te Kuiti too. This was one of two Western Stars powered by a 354kW (475hp) CAT C15 in the GJ Sole fleet at the time (along with a 600hp C16), and we quoted company owner Graeme Sole as saying that collectively ‘the Western Stars never had any issues‘ and they ‘haven‘t even had a door lock give trouble on them‘. Like others at the time, Graeme was really disappointed to see the disappearance of CAT engines. Those rock-solid mechanicals have proved their worth over the past decade, Graeme says he can‘t think of anything that‘s been done to the truck in the past few years (with nothing showing up on its records), though having clocked up only 368,000km it‘s barely run in.

November
ROCK CLIMBER

Mack CMM Granite

Then: FCA97 – Allied Now: KKW566 – Matiere Motors Ltd

One bonneted American was followed by another when we featured the Mack Granite 8×4 tractor of Allied Petroleum in November 2010. We were interested to see what this new-generation Mack had to offer as an 8-wheeler (we‘d earlier experienced a 6×4 tractor) with the Eaton AutoShift transmission mated to its 368kW (500hp) MP8 motor. It was already a year into its tenure in the Allied fleet towing a quadaxle fuel tanker and we came away suitably impressed, saying ‘as a fleet truck the Granite is astonishingly good‘. Following its tanker time, the Granite moved on to Clive Taylor in Paraparaumu for a few years, before finding its way into the hands of Rob Persson, who owns Matiere Motors Ltd in Te Puke. Under Rob‘s ownership the Granite has done all manner of work, including carting kiwifruit from local orchards, and a stint of eight or so months with his son, who put a bin on it and set the nose in the direction of Rotorua for some infrastructure work. Unfortunately, it‘s been parked up for the past four months, currently at DSL in Mt Maunganui. Rob says: “I was coming out of Napier and it blew up. We‘re waiting to get another motor in it.” But that‘s been the only real issue in 670,000-odd kilometres. “I like the truck, it‘s solid,” says Rob.

December
A MANUAL MAN‘S TRUCK

DAF XF105.510 RTLO

Then: WEHAUL – Alderson Bulk Haulage Ltd Now: HHJ431 – Pikowai Carriers Ltd

We closed off 2010 with a big blue DAF, an 8×4 XF105 Space Super Cab belonging to Alderson Bulk Haulage that had something very rare about it … it was one of only two we knew of at the time to be fitted with an 18-speed Roadranger – in the world! At the time it was already about 18 months in with Aldersons, having hit 240,000km. For the past two or three years the XF has been part of the Pikowai Carriers Limited fleet out of Matata. Pikowai Carriers owner Darren Jefferis says it‘s used for stock and bulk work all over the North Island. During that time the DAF‘s 380kW (510hp), 12.9-litre MX engine has had a rebuild, as has the Eaton RTLO, and a new radiator as well as a new water pump have been fitted. Otherwise, he says, it‘s in good nick and has clocked up 1,204,767km. “It drives pretty much just like a new one,” says Darren, who does the odd stint behind the wheel. “They don‘t really change much, the DAFs, that‘s why we like them.”