Viva Espana!

In November 2023, International Truck Stop7 MinutesBy Niels JansenDecember 21, 2023

Intimate gatherings of interesting trucks and enthusiastic drivers often make for the best truck shows.

Mega truck festivals like those in Britain or The Netherlands are not held in Spain. That’s not because the Spaniards don’t know how to organise such an event – Southern Europeans are always up for a good party. The problem is that owner-operators are nowadays rare, and transport companies have been forced to standardise their fleets due to tough competition. So, no-frills commercial vehicles rule. Eight out of 10 wagons passing by on the road or parked at a truck stop are plain white or, at best, painted in standard factory colours.

Some 25 years ago, commercial vehicles were still as brightly painted as the sub-tropical surroundings. In recent years, several modest events were organised across Spain, in which mainly local truck owners participated. These festivals, with classic and modern commercial vehicles, are called ‘concentraciones’, freely translated as ‘get-togethers’. They usually last a weekend and are modest in our eyes. The number of participants varies from a few dozen to about 150 vehicles. Most of these venues are only announced at the last minute, which makes it difficult for truck enthusiasts to visit them – mainly because distances on the Iberian Peninsula are great.

Earlier this year, we visited the ‘Concentracion de Camiones’ in Torrebaja, a small town some 130km northwest of Valencia. On a hot day, some 40 old and new vehicles had gathered on the outskirts of the village. Food and drinks were available in an adjacent building and a band played for entertainment. Also, the owner of a very aggressive-looking hot rod gave burnout demonstrations that blinded the sun for many minutes. This Ford-powered contraption, called Rat Rod, was based on an Ebro lightweight truck chassis. The crowd loved it.

Small event or not, the enthusiasm of the participants and the public was high. The line-up of vehicles consisted of classics, young-timers and modern trucks. As is often the case at European truck festivals, big American prime movers drew in the crowds. The ones that made it to Torrebaja looked awesome, and the owners all took the time to show their gleaming rigs to the interested mob. There were Class 8 examples of Freightliner, International, Kenworth, Peterbilt and Volvo VNL trucks.

American cabover models are less popular in the show circuit, but they stand out among the long noses, exactly as the immaculate, brightly liveried International 9000-series Eagle of owner Conchi Aparicio did.

The blue Kenworth W900L of Gruas Dotahur SL was not just for show. It pulls a low-loader daily for the Torrent-based crane and heavy-haulage contractor. Likewise, the gleaming black Volvo VNL conventional of Alvatrans SL, which came all the way from Madrid, pulls a bulk trailer daily together with a second similarly equipped VNL.

With a long bonnet and huge sleeper cab, the blue Peterbilt 379 owned by Bar Restaurant Las Horcas in Alcanez was a nice example from the 1980s/1990s. To the delight of the spectators, all the (mostly elderly) owner-drivers of these Yank trucks had their big Cat and Cummins diesel engines idling a lot of the time.

Several neatly decked-out European trucks made it to the festival too. An owner-operator with the curious name Inaki had brought his modified black Volvo FH tractor along. He had christened his workhorse Siémpre Fuertes (Always Strong), and it sure looked up to its task. Spanish drivers have always liked to name their trucks. Sometimes they refer to family members, but religious sayings are also popular. Juan Carlos had adorned his Scania 500S tractor Virgen del Tremedal. The latter refers to a shrine (Hermitage) near Teruel. This haulage operator also brought a bonneted Scania 124G 470 to the event.

RS Reparación from Zaragoza is active in coach building, repairing and selling truck parts and accessories. Two of its drivers, Ricardo and Silvia, had taken a bright green Renault Magnum of 1998 vintage to the show. Powered by a 400hp Mack diesel engine, it normally pulls a van trailer throughout Spain. The couple, keen hardrock and metal fans, attracted a lot of attention, not only with their heavily customised Magnum but also because of their appearance. Like most Spanish drivers, they were very friendly and keen to talk about their truck and work.

Of course, several painstakingly restored older commercial vehicles could also be admired. Local firm Transportes Aparicio was present with a 1960s Ebro B-35 diesel truck. The red and blue vehicle was only partly restored. Ebros were built by Motor Iberica SA, which started in 1956 with license production of the British Ford Thames normal-control trucks.

Another attention grabber was the 1964 Pegaso Comet 3020 rigid belonging to Carlos Hernandez from Los Santos. Only 70 of these rare 4×4 models were built. It looked superb in its new orange livery.

The so-called ‘Chinese Six’ rigids, with two axles up front and 6×2 drive, could be seen in quite large numbers on Spanish roads in the 1970s and 1980s. Bloy Artero from the Zaragoza area had used his 1979 Pegaso 1083 ‘Chinese Six’ until recently. It was nice seeing a non-restored, working truck among all the shiny wagons for a change.