MAIN TEST – A tragedy

In Tests3 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineJuly 27, 2018

The New Zealand Trucking magazine of March 2000 said this about the first Argosy test:

“The Argosy is one of the most important American trucks to reach New Zealand in recent years, because it represents Freightliner‘s bid to revive the cabover configuration.”

Photo: A loyal servant to Kiwi trucking. Rob Tonkin and Rex Tamm drive the two newest additions to the Riordan & West fleet. The company‘s Freightliner Argosy story has a way to go yet, and for good reason.

Sadly, that never happened and the badge was removed from the US market in 2004. But it was its departure from South Africa in 2014 that would have set our destiny in motion behind the closed doors of corporate decision-making. We‘ve been reminded once again that although we often proclaim to punch above our weight on the global stage, we are in all reality just one of the world‘s great coat-tail jockeys. It‘s tragic we‘re losing the Argosy in a couple of years. Freightliner is the US cabover brand. Freightliner should always have a premium cabover available, for Freightliner was founded on cabovers by a man who named his creation after what it was he was hell bent on doing – moving freight, as much freight as possible. Leland James would be spinning in his grave if he could see what‘s happened to long haul trucking in the US. Where once there was margin, now there are bonnets, and chassis rails. The agony is made worse by the fact that when it comes to shifting freight, we‘re a cabover country. Had there been another 200 million of us there‘s a chance the Argosy would have been safe – maybe. The last new US-designed cabover, its arrival in 1999 was met with mixed reaction. It had softer lines both inside and out than the FLB it replaced, arguably the staunchest looking US cabover ever made, with its ZZ Top lookalike windscreen and outrageously cool interior. But we soon adopted and adapted and in the succeeding two decades the Argosy has proven its worth to many time and time again. It‘s been through a couple of facelifts, the most radical being the current incarnation with its famous cheese grater grille. It took a deep breath and open mind to embrace it, but we‘re used to it now…it‘s an Argosy. Trucks and Trailers have done an outstanding job of backing a product they believe in to the core. That won‘t change one iota. Their association with the brand is not just a commercial one. Freightliner is part of the Wright family story, and every single Freighty, up to and including that very last one, will be too.

Return to, Still a good turn of the wheel left yet