Strength of a viking

In October 2023, Million Mile Club3 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineNovember 23, 2023

This month’s first inductee into the Bridgestone Million Mile Club has well and truly earned its place at the table, with no less than 2,400,000km showing on the speedo.

The FH 520 Volvo started out as an 8×4 curtainsider pulling a matching four-axle trailer, Christchurch-based and running a courier freight contract throughout the South Island. The truth is, DUS105 very nearly made it into the Million Mile Club working that contract, clocking up just over 1,200,000km before it was sold on. Throughout its life in the South Island it proved reliable, needing only regular maintenance and the odd minor repair.

Upon entering the Graeme Wright Transport fleet of Puriri, just south of Thames, the Volvo had a drop-sider body and hoist fitted for its new role on rural transport duties. At this time, the sump was removed for the first time and an inspection carried out. Nothing untoward was found, and even though they were not required, a set of new main bearings were installed just because it made sense to do that at 1,200,000km. And with that, the sump was bolted back on. Since then, the mighty Volvo has soldiered on. Two clutches, three turbos and a few other bits and pieces have been replaced, but no other internal engine work has been needed, just regular maintenance. Another reliability milestone to note is the fact that both diffs and the I-Shift transmission have also never been touched. Just more solid routine maintenance that is kept up to date in the capable hands of the company’s own mechanics.


The Volvo as purchased in August 2011, with 1,200,000km on the clock.

Graeme ‘Gunner’ Wright, bestows immense credit on the FH. “It has been by far the best truck I have ever owned,” he explains. “Absolutely no internal engine work with nearly 2,500,000km on the clock. There really are not too many trucks out there that can claim that prize, especially on the roads and terrain that we have to contend with around the [Coromandel] peninsula.”

Jason Wright is the man behind the wheel of the big Volvo, working all corners of the peninsula, delivering fertiliser and peat, as well as collecting silage bales and the like – he loves it. And straight up, with a mechanical history like that, it is not hard to see why.