Simon Loos Museum

In International Truck Stop, August 20227 MinutesBy Paul O’CallaghanSeptember 11, 2022

Simon Loos is one of the Netherlands’ largest transport companies, with 650 trucks and 750 trailers. It’s also home to one of the most spectacular collections of classic and vintage trucks, rarely seen by the public.

The Loos headquarters at Wognum has a Mercedes-Benz dealer situated on the same site. It was the company’s 1000th Mercedes-Benz, a rare example of customisation combining the rear section of a GigaSpace cab cleverly moulded into the lines of a Big Space front, that acted as the gateway truck on our journey to the invite-only, private museum that occupies a far more anonymous warehouse nearby.

Upon being greeted by Marjan and Piet Loos at the door, we followed the Dutch protocol of first sitting in the guest area and accepting an offer of ‘koffee’. Through a series of hand gestures and smiles, we managed a conversation until the arrival of a translator in the form of employee and lifetime friend P.J. Heddes, who filled us in on the history of Simon Loos.

The story begins in 1938 when Simon Loos Senior established his delivery service between Alkmaar and Hoorn in the North Holland region, north of Amsterdam. His first truck was an Albion; the second was a Guy. He then moved on to the Henschel brand, with a Thames Trader included in the mix.

Indeed, Simon Senior’s love for the German-built Henschel is demonstrated by the fact that there are no less than seven in the collection, including a rare underfloor-engine rigid and drag model in the colours of P.A.M. van Berne. Although most vehicles in the group are in the traditional Loos colours of red, white and yellow, some have been left in the livery of companies that were either absorbed into the Loos organisation or simply ceased to exist for various reasons.

Nowadays, the primary products Loos transports are food and beverages, mainly within the Netherlands but also throughout Europe, with a particular focus on the Benelux area. The company even operates LNG-powered trucks for city-centre deliveries, a solitary gas-powered Benz in the collection bearing testament to the eco-friendly approach.

But back to the old stuff. After inspecting the Henschels, Piet Loos insists we look at the rear of his Bedford TK with a beautifully crafted wooden body, where we are dumbfounded as to why it has no rear door on one side. P.J. comes to our aid by explaining that the truck was used to deliver baguettes in Amsterdam, which were simply thrown out the back of the truck.

However, the following line-up of trucks is more of our era and sets our tongues wagging. No less than 10 Mercedes-Benz trucks are featured in the collection, outnumbering any other marque. Six are Actros of different generations from the original MP1 to the MP3, while there is also a pair of NGs and SKs, respectively. It should also be pointed out that all the vehicles are coupled up to trailers, with artics and drags, making it all the more impressive.

As if that wasn’t enough, P.J. drops the sides on a FTF articulated combination to reveal a load of precast concrete, added to provide ballast in the rare event that any of the vehicles are actually taken for a drive. There are three stunning examples of the now-defunct Dutch truck brand in the collection.

Another German manufacturer in the collection is Magirus Deutz, with two tractor units – one conventional and one cab over – while a tilt-bodied rigid and drag also looks resplendent in the blue and white colours of W. Van Maanen, as per the two tractor units.

Unsurprisingly, there are four DAFs in the collection, including an ex-DAF Trucks XF Super Space Cab four-axle rigid with a hospitality body fitted. The most recent is a new-looking XF Space Cab in Bavaria Beer colours, which was driven straight from service into the warehouse.

Scania fans will not be disappointed to see a customised T111, an ex-Loos fleet T113M with a Dutch Esteppe high-roof conversion, a T500 Highline and, of course, the ubiquitous R143 model in the popular Dutch power rating of 420hp. An R500 Topline artic coupled with a skelly trailer completes the Swedish brand’s presence. That’s not forgetting that there are an additional three vehicles from the Vabis era.

5) From left: P.J. Heddes, writer Paul O’Callaghan, and Marjan and Piet Loos.

From Volvo, the solitary F88 narrow-grille rigid and drag with tilt bodies is astounding, although an unusual eight-wheeled version 3 FH tractor unit adorned with forestry artwork has also joined the collection in recent times.

Other rarities include a brace of German-made Krupps and Bussing, a Dutch Kromhout and a steam-powered Citroen.

Today the company is run by Piet Loos’s son Simon, the third generation involved in the business. Simon shares his father’s love for old trucks, and it’s a passion they can enjoy together, explains the very hands-on Marjan. Running such a large fleet is a stressful business and what better way to unwind than with this amazing collection of classics?