NZ Transport Imaging Awards

 
There’s love in the livery

There’s love in the livery

NZ Transport Imaging Awards

 December 2019   

A love of trucks, a passion to show them off at their best….and a tribute to family members tragically lost on the highway are heartfelt factors in the presentation of Gisborne transport operator Tim Greaves' trucks.

Greaves reckons he loves trucks and was only ever going to become a truckie…..just like his Dad Ali: He "grew up in the passenger seat," he says, of his "old man's Mitsis" – the stock trucks he owned from 1979-1991. 

Through a few years as a driver and then, since 2005, as the owner of Greaves Bulk Haulage, Tim's always wanted to have his trucks looking good: "Presentation is huge for me."
And having them look something like his Dad's trucks – with their blue, white and black colour scheme. 

For a long time he nursed the idea of combining his love of trucks and trucking with one special truck – a Kenworth K104 cabover. Or, as he puts it, "THE best truck ever built."


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A love of trucks, a passion to show them off at their best….and a tribute to family members tragically lost on the highway are heartfelt factors in the presentation of Gisborne transport operator Tim Greaves' trucks.
Greaves reckons he loves trucks and was only ever going to become a truckie…..just like his Dad Ali: He "grew up in the passenger seat," he says, of his "old man's Mitsis" – the stock trucks he owned from 1979-1991. 
Through a few years as a driver and then, since 2005, as the owner of Greaves Bulk Haulage, Tim's always wanted to have his trucks looking good: "Presentation is huge for me."
And having them look something like his Dad's trucks – with their blue, white and black colour scheme. 
For a long time he nursed the idea of combining his love of trucks and trucking with one special truck – a Kenworth K104 cabover. Or, as he puts it, "THE best truck ever built."
K104s are, he reckons, "probably the last of the good, honest, solid trucks, you know. They just don't age. They're built to last."
In early 2018, in the wake of a terrible tragedy for his family and business, he decided that it was time to make his dream truck a reality….
As a tribute to his "best mate," brother-in-law and longtime employee Aaron McDonald, and Aaron's truck-mad son Cruz – both killed in a company truck in an unexplained late-night crash a year earlier.
Putting it on the road in mid-2018 – with an airbrushed mural of Aaron and Cruz on the back of the Aerodyne cab and dedicating "Dream Maker" to them – has been one bright spot in a sad, brokenhearted three years for the Greaves and McDonald families.
The truck, he says, is "100%" inspired by them and dedicated to them. He even had Kenworth badges modified, with the names Cruz and AA on them, for the sides of the sleeper cab.
Aaron, 37, had driven for Greaves Bulk Haulage for 10 years, but was much more than a loyal employee and a brother-in-law: "He was actually the brother I never had," says Tim.
He adds that "Cruz idolised his Dad and loved trucks" – and "was born to be a truck driver." His school holiday trips with his Dad in his Kenworth were "what he lived for."
The tribute truck – a 2007 K104B bought from Maskill Contracting in the Manawatu – was kept a secret from Aaron's wife Anah and their little boy Rome, while Tim, his company mechanic and another driver converted the 8x4 curtainsider into a dropside tipper over six months. 
Tim says that Anah and Rome were "blown away" when the tribute truck was rolled out in mid-2018.
Sadly, there's been no closure for the McDonald and Greaves families in the wake of the crash – as the cause of it remains a mystery, with the family told the police investigation remains open.
Tim and Anah said publicly after the crash that they suspected another vehicle had been involved. Aaron, they pointed out, was a safe and careful driver – who'd done nothing worse than "rip a mudflap off" in 10 years of driving for Tim. It would have been completely out of character for him to have been speeding or driving tired.
Tim added: "We remain convinced there was no way Aaron could have caused this to happen by himself."
He still believes that – and explains: "Things just don't add up. The speed the truck was doing…he was very capable of going around that corner at that speed, you know. 
"We've got a very strong suspicion there was a car involved – but they're not going to come forward."
The family's love of trucks has now "trickled down to my young fulla, Jackson. He's six years old and he just can't get enough of them." Like their Dads, Jackson and Cruz were also "good mates."
Tim reckons that the diesel mechanic's apprenticeship he started as a teen "was like killing time till I got my licence."
After a few years of driving for wages, at 24 he bought a forestry roading business – with Mitsi metal trucks and diggers….that just happened to be blue and black: "That was always my old man's colour scheme. Not exactly the same….but the bones of it were pretty much the same."
Funnily enough, Ali Greaves had also inherited the colour scheme for his trucks through a family connection: He bought his first truck – in the blue and white of Te Awamutu's Osborne's Transport – from distant relative Marty Greaves, then an Osborne's OD (and later the owner).
Over the last 14 years – as the forestry roading and then logtruck work was sold off – the Greaves colour scheme has slowly moved to a lighter blue. It's ended up with the Cobalt Blue that's shown off to good effect by the DAF CF85 that's on this month's PPG Transport Imaging Awards poster, and on his beloved Kenworth K104. 
The simple silver stripes on the DAF, which was painted by Transvisual in Auckland, have been modified on the K104 – with arrowhead stripes and detailed scrollwork. The paint on that was done by Andrew Harvey Spray Painters in Gisborne – "who'd be one of THE best truck painters around," Tim reckons.
Presentation isn't only key for him – it is "very, very important for the business. Presentation does come second to maintenance…but it's very close, you know."
The difficulty in finding drivers who care about the gear is one reason why he's downsized his fleet to his current four trucks: "I'm not really interested in having… just bums in seats. I'd rather have a small group of good guys, than a big group of average ones."
The 2014 DAF, with a flatdeck and a Transfleet swap tipper body, and the 620hp Cummins-engined K104 are currently the only two trucks in full company colours – with two other Kenworths running for Weatherells Transport.
Tim reckons he gets comments on how good his Kenworth looks "almost daily. A lot of people ask me if it's a new truck." 
He's proud to say that it's done 1.3million kilometres: "I love that truck."  

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