09 October 2020 12:40
I currently drive a 1989 1617 that has been partially restored and improved.
If anyone is interested I can provide some photos.
Craig Grant’s father, Gary, has been a trucker most of his long life. In fact, some of Craig’s fondest memories are of when he accompanied his father, as a child, in an 814 truck, collecting items from recycled clothing banks throughout London, “I loved everything about it,” he recalled.
So much so, that although Craig didn’t follow in Gary’s footsteps professionally, he set his heart on owning a similar truck. In 2018 he came across a retro 814 model for sale, which had previously been used by a tiling company in Bradford, a farmer in Newark and another driver. He decided now was the time to fulfil a wish from his childhood – to have a truck of his own, “It was the right place, right time and I bought it.”
Following the sale, Craig soon realised he needed to make some changes to the retro vehicle. Initially, he dismantled the body, taking it back to a flatbed. During this process he discovered that the floorboards weren’t in the best condition (on account of carrying cattle!) so they also needed to be stripped back and new wood fitted which was then stained with special paint for protection.
Craig was fortunately able to drive the truck straight away as he holds a HGV CAT C Class 2 Licence, something he acquired a few years ago when his carpentry work was quiet and he considered the driving profession. He actually never got around to using it, until 2018 of course!
“It’s a very reliable and simple vehicle. It’s also nice to look at – a nice-looking machine and it feels great to own one.”
- Craig Grant
The truck is very much a hobby for Craig, however it has come in handy when he and his family moved twice over recent years. He fashioned a cover out of tarpaulin and wood, so their furniture was safe and protected from the elements; since then, various family members and friends have called on him for removal services! In the past it has been used to transport garden waste and even a concrete sectional garage, proving after so many years on the road, it’s still a strong, robust truck.
When asked what he likes most about the model, Craig enthuses, “It’s a very reliable and simple vehicle. It’s also nice to look at – a nice-looking machine and it feels great to own one.”
The 814 has been the recipient of plenty of praise on its many journeys, “If I pull up around other drivers, they often ask me about it and say “You don’t see many of them about” or “You’ve got something rare there” which is always nice.”
His local mechanic is also a fan and has told Craig on a few occasions, “They are great machines, they’ll go on forever,” which is naturally reassuring.
Craig would like to continue tinkering with it and eventually take the vehicle to truck shows; he’s also set his sights on other models from the same era!
However the important question is, what does his father think of it? “My dad came with me to collect it from Newark and I definitely saw a twinkle in his eye, I think it brought it all back. That’s the main reason I bought it, to make my dad proud. Keep the flame alive.”
The RoadStars team love hearing about classic trucks – if you’re a proud owner of a vintage vehicle or currently restoring a model we’d love to hear from you. You could even feature in a future article! Share your story along with photos in the comment section or via direct message.