A lot can happen in 10 years, and in the world of trucking a lot of mileage can be racked up. However, the New Zealand Trucking class of 2009 seems to have done quite well in that time. We‘ve tracked them down to see how they‘ve gotten on, and what they‘re up to now.

The arrival of 2009 for the business sector was broadly restrained. It started amid the onset of a prolonged hangover generated by the Global Financial Crisis (GFC). This destructive vortex began spinning in September of the previous year thanks to the subprime crisis in the USA. This had many battening down the storm hatches in preparation for a rocky financial ride ahead. Barrack Obama was in the process of taking office after winning the presidency race; he was probably also reaching for the medicine cabinet to help ease the pain upon realisation of exactly what he had just inherited. Fortunately, Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis had us in stitches laughing at another kind of Hangover.

Nationally, sales of new heavy vehicles continued to plateau throughout 2009, and were aligned with global trends post- GFC. It is only now 10 years on that we understand the impact and fallout of the GFC, and it‘s fair to say it‘s only recently that the industry has regained momentum, with sales figures again touching pre-GFC levels. March of 2009 brought forward the announcement from the then Transport Minister, Steven Joyce, of how the National Government had identified the first seven Roads of National Significance. These roads were singled out as essential routes that required priority treatment. Terms like ‘reducing congestion‘, ‘improving safety‘, ‘supporting economic growth‘ and ‘nationally significant‘ were used in Joyce‘s address – clearly words chosen wisely with an understanding of how our fair nation moves. While some of these projects are still under construction, most are now fully operational and have been extremely well received by our industry, although some now already await maintenance budgets from the incumbent, who, at the time, were in opposition.

Within the industry we were enjoying the horsepower race, with both Scania and Volvo hitting the magical 700hp (522kW) mark. Offering performance figures on a scale that only ever existed in our dreams, we now find them fast becoming standard specification. Emission control equipment in various guises continued to leave operators parked on the side of the road, and sent diesel mechanics back to the classroom to drink percolated coffee and eat mints while they attempted to make head and tail of the chemistry experiments they had become unwittingly involved in. Throughout 2009 we certainly visited a colourful spectrum of new rigs in varied applications. Chasing them down, we are pleased to say most are still operational and continue to turn a wheel. We also found nearly half of our subjects are proudly with their original owners. It is time to welcome back the New Zealand Trucking Class of 2009.


Volvo FH16-660

Then: BAAA – Farmers Transport Now: Transport Waimate Ltd

When we tested the Farmers Transport FH16-660 for our first issue of 2009, it was one of the world‘s most powerful trucks. The outright muscle of its 660hp (492kW) was a driving factor in its purchase by owner-operator Peter ‘Cookie‘ Cooke – and so it was for Transport Waimate Ltd. “A 660hp truck isn‘t at the top today, but it‘s still pretty strong,” says BAAA‘s current driver, Ken Clunie. Ken‘s boss Barry Sadler bought it off Cookie at around 270,000km during 2011 and kept the rig on a stock run. It was fitted with a bigger 37-foot, 5-axle trailer, running Delta Stock Crates, though. Today, Ken has run the FH16 all the way to 1.3 million kilometres without the motor being touched. Transport Waimate takes care of day-today maintenance, with anything major seeing the truck sent off to Truckstops in Christchurch. That said, the only real speed bump in a million-odd kilometres has been a broken shaft in the I-Shift transmission that put the truck out of action for a day. “This is a very good truck. It has big horsepower, and typical of Volvo it‘s comfortable to drive and handles well,” he says.


Mercedes-Benz Actros
3 2648LS Euro 4

Then: ERF863 – Mercedes-Benz NZ demonstrator Now: BELL3 – D. Bell Distributor

Having just scooped the 2009 International Truck of the Year award, this test was an important one and we were happy to jump into a demonstrator unit being trialled by Hilton Haulage at the time. ERF863, as it was at the time, was fitted with the OM501LA 11.9-litre V6. This unit was Euro 4-rated but went the route of Daimler‘s BlueTec SCR emissions system that mandated the fitment of an 85-litre AdBlue tank. It offered up 350kW (470hp) and a respectable 2300Nm (1635ft/lbs) and drive went through Daimler‘s 12-speed Powershift transmission. Records indicate that this unit clocked up around 30,000km in two years as a demonstrator, but more than that, we can‘t really tell you as the current owners declined to comment… Still, good to know the truck is still on the road and in use.


Kenworth K108

Then: EQZ979 – Clinton Waipahi Holdings Now: Same owner

It‘s hard to believe that the Kenworth K200 has been in the market for the better part of a decade now, but before it hit the market, SCR and all, there was the K108e – with EGR – and the K108 – the last of the classic K-cab look. “Clinton Waipahi shied away from ordering the Cummins with EGR […] The engines in their next Kenworth will most likely be SCR, but […] at the very least, they‘ll have leapfrogged the EGR issue” we wrote when we featured EQZ979 and its sister truck ELJ323 in April 2009. EQZ979 was the cover star of that issue, so gets the follow up now… And, it would seem, the company made the right decision all those years ago. “It‘s done around 900,000km with only a little work to its motor, common for Cummins‘ engines of the time,” says Bruce Robertson of Clinton Waipahi Holdings. “Kenworths are rugged, reliable and strong. They‘re good trucks. nice-riding, and have only gotten better with each model generation,” he says of the brand. Only now coming up for replacement, EQZ979 has done livestock transport – with a bit of milk here and there – its whole life, and Bruce says the truck is still as tidy today as it‘s ever been. “It‘s a credit to the drivers,” Bruce says.


Iveco Stralis AS-L

Then: ESB66 – Freight Lines Now: Agtrans Ltd

Testing the Freight Lines Iveco for the May 2009 issue, the Stralis name had been in the market for four years already. However, what made the test of this 417kW (560hp) unit unique was the switch to Euro 4 and – just as importantly for the Stralis – an all-Euro design. Since its time in the green and white livery of Freight Lines, the Stralis has worked in the fleets of two other companies, the latest of which is Agtrans Ltd of Hawera. Phil D‘Ath, director at Agtrans, says that the Stralis was originally purchased for use in heavy haul work because of its 90-tonne GCM. “It originally carted on an overweight permit and still does some of that now,” Phil says. Most of the transport the Stralis undertakes today is driven by the cranage work Agtrans is contracted to do, mostly around the North Island, centralised around Taranaki. “Coming out of a big transporter to work on gravel roads for a number of years, it‘s handled that very well despite being a highway-oriented truck,” says Phil. “It‘s easy to drive, the most comfortable truck in our fleet, and still a neat-looking truck.” It would seem to be reliable, too. Having just clocked 1.2 million kilometres and maintained in-house, Phil says it‘s just flown through its most recent COF. “The kilometres are high but the truck is robust. We‘ve just had a couple of electrical issues, like having to replace the gearbox ECU.”


Scania R480 LB6x4MNA

Then: R0CK52 – Winstone Aggregates Now: JJK285 – ???

The first of two trucks that would prove enigmatic and elusive in our search for its whereabouts a decade after featuring it, the Winstone Aggregates Scania R480 6×4 that appeared on the cover of the June 2009 issue appears to have disappeared without a trace. Or, at least, the company that apparently owns it has… The Scania had clocked up more than 600,000km on the gravel shift before being reregistered JJK285 and sold off by TR Group (from whom Winstone leases all its vehicles) in September of 2015. One reason this unit was initially put into action was its 6×4 configuration, which allowed it to more easily work in tighter conditions than an 8×4. The DT12 17 6-cylinder lump put out 353kW (480hp) and achieved Euro 4 compliance with the use of EGR. If you have any info in this truck, we‘d love to hear it.


Sterling LT9500

Then: ETN102 – ATL Haulage Now: Same owner

Our July 2009 test of the ATL Haulage Sterling LT9500 was a bittersweet one. At the time of the test, the Sterling brand had just reached its demise as parent company Daimler Trucks North America focused its operations on the Freightliner and Western Star brands. Just 12 years prior Daimler-Benz had bought the marque from the Ford Motor Company. Since new, ATL‘s LT9500 has covered 964,738km running the same daily linehaul route from Alexandra to Christchurch, as well as more recently some local metro work in Christchurch, and the odd linehaul run to Central Otago. Routine maintenance has been undertaken by Transport Repairs Cromwell and HDPS Christchurch. “It‘s been nicknamed by the ATL staff as ‘old faithful‘ as it‘s never let us down,” says owner and general manager of ATL, Paul Rait. High praise for a vehicle we summed up as one that‘s “a fine truck and an example of classic American engineering. And as a casualty of an economic crisis, that is still remapping the world.”


MACK SUPER LINER – first look
Mack Super Liner CLX

Then: SUPRDG – Pokuru Farms Now: Wilson Brothers Earthmovers Ltd

Our test of the Pokuru Farms Mack Super Liner back in August 2009 was our first look at the new bulldog, and we were eager to see if it would be just as iconic as the original model that launched 32 years earlier. A decade later and we think it‘s safe to say the Super Liner has proved itself, and the current proprietor of SUPRDG, Harry Wilson, couldn‘t agree more. “Out of all the American trucks, Mack Trucks has been our preferred truck; this one running the Cummins Signature engine and 18-speed gearbox.” Harry says the truck is still in the same spec and was put to work on the roads of the central North Island, either transporting with a 5-axle MTE widening transport trailer or doing some bulk metal cartage in forestry work. The truck‘s clock is currently showing more than 800,000km and its 448kW (600hp) EGR motor just recently (773,148km) had an in-frame rebuild by East Coast Heavy Diesel, which should ensure the ks keep clocking up.


Mitsubishi Shogun HT530

Then: EQZ970 – McKey Distribution Now: ???

Appearing in the September 2009 issue having already completed 142,000km in service with McKey Distribution New Zealand Limited, this particular Shogun proved to be yet another enigma when it came time to compile this feature. Some digging indicated that it moved on through the hands of three other operators between December 2015 and August 2018, however the one who was reachable (the most recent apparent owner) indicated having never owned or operated the vehicle. Sources suggest that it clocked up just shy of 1-million kilometres in operation with McKey, but records seem to stop around July 2018. Bizarre stuff! Like the Winstone Scania, we‘d love to know what happened to this unit … if you have any knowledge of this truck, feel free to get in touch! It ran the last of the Euro 4 engines, before the switch to Euro 5; its 13-litre 6M70 High Torque motor putting its 390kW (523hp) through the infamous 16-speed Fuso INOMAT M200S16 automated-manual transmission.


Western Star 4900 FA Stratosphere

Then: JRL55 – Jennings Roadfreigh Now: FJH575 – Odlum Plant Rental Limited

Now in the custody of its third owner, FJH575 has clocked the 1.1-million kilometre mark, indicating that it was worked pretty hard in its previous two applications (both linehaul). Nonetheless, according to its current minder Daryl Trotter, workshop manager at Odlum Plant Rental Limited, Morrinsville, it‘s still as strong as it ever was. Odlum Plant Rental bought the truck from Trucks and Trailers a year ago and uses it for in-house transport of plant equipment. It “rolls around diggers and drills”, says Daryl, on a triaxle gooseneck low bed, generally in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty regions. Mileage, therefore, has been kept pretty low over the past year. “It‘s been pretty bloody good actually. It‘s relatively comfy to ride in, a nicelooking thing,” he adds. With its 410kW (550hp), 14-litre Series 60 combined with an Eaton Fuller and Meritor drive train, the 4900 FA has proved reliable and easy to take care of, Daryl says.


Iveco Stralis ATi450

Then: EYB17 – Aratuna Freighters Now: JAR694

At the time of this main test Aratuna Freighters already had 11 Ivecos in its fleet, most of which were fitted with the 13-litre Cursor rated at 373kW (500hp). They were all performing well given the extreme terrain of the West Coast, so the arrival of the ATi450 with the new 10-litre version of the Cursor at 335kW (450hp) certainly raised a few eyebrows. However, 10 years on and with 1.2 million West Coast kilometres on the clock, the ATi450 is still proudly wearing its original colours. “The ATi450 has done all that we asked of it and more,” general manager Andrew Havill is quick to comment. At 600,000km it had an engine rebuild and now at 1.2 million it is currently in the workshop being rebuilt again. “Unfortunately the main front seal let go before we could get to it,” Andrew says. Otherwise, apart from a few front diff niggles it has needed only routine servicing. The tractor unit now spends its days in semiretirement; alongside general yard duties it has a regular run down to Hokitika delivering bulk chemicals to Westland Milk Products. The Iveco product has certainly proved itself in the Aratuna fleet and JAR694 has played its part.


Mercedes-Benz Actros 3 2660

Then: EUF131 – Courier Post Now: MEGMVR – Hanham Transport

Our second test of the Actros 3 in 2009 upped the ante with V8 power and 448kW (600hp); this 26-tonne 6×4 had recently been put to work in the South Island by CourierPost. Our opening lines read that this unit was expected to “clock up a million kilometres in the first 33 months of work”. Indeed, in the first three years of its life (2009 to end of 2011), EUF131 covered approximately 823,000km on the courier run down south from Christchurch. From there it went to Southern Commercial Vehicles (Prestige) before being picked up by Christchurch-based Hanham Transport. While its new role would not see it covering the same kinds of distances (it‘s only done 76,000km since), it was beefed up for some heavy lifting. “Kim Harris at Prestige had the GCM uprated to 90-tonnes and added an oscillating turntable for use in the heavy-haul side of our operation,” explains Grant Hanham. Incidentally, that‘s where the new rego came from – MEGMVR is a play on the Actros Megaspace cab name and a reference to the large loads Hanham Transport specialises in moving. MEGMVR is mainly used for occasional out-of-town work and Grant says it‘s still like new inside, and it‘s had no real issues to speak of.