Giti Tyres Big Test: Self-help Special
Canterbury logtruck operator Steve Murphy reckons that the reason he has so many makes in his fleet is largely down to longtime truck dealer Dale Greaves.
Over the past 37 years or so, Greaves has, at different times, sold new Fords, Hinos, Sterlings, Fusos/Mitsubishis, Nissans/UD Trucks, MANs, Western Stars, Freightliners and Mercedes-Benz.
And along the way SML (Steve Murphy Ltd) has bought a fair few of those makes from him - including 20 Fusos...starting back in 1999. Plus some secondhand Macks and Mercs.
To be fair, SML does also have Kenworths, Macks and MANs that it's bought elsewhere.
But Greaves, says Murphy, has been key: "He's been brilliant for us - and I've sort of followed him really, in what we've ended up with. What do they call it - 'a fruit-salad fleet.' "
These days Greaves' Nelson-based Star Trucks is an Iveco dealer - and, once again, SML's decision to make its latest self-loading logger one of the country's first Iveco Trakker 8x4s, "probably started off with the relationship with Dale."
Well that...and Steve's experience on an Italian visit "a wee while ago," when he was very taken with just how many Ivecos there were around the place and the variety of work they were doing.
It's not blind faith, Steve's quick to add: "The product's been good too... And it's due to Dale's attention to our business really - looking after our trades going out. And pretty much speccing the truck up, you know, like we want."
Pirelli Trevor Test
It seems like only a few months back that we tested an SML 8x8 MAN - but, in fact, it was back in September 2016. How time flies.
It's always great to catch up with Steve Murphy and his team, as he runs a very tidy fleet and has a great mix of brands. He and son Chris have some very clear ideas on the various makes they run and - along with driver acceptance - this forms the basis for their purchasing decisions.
The Trakker we're here to test is fitted with a Palfinger Epsilon Q170L80 enclosed-cab, self-loading crane and tows a three-axle trailer designed to be light