Feeling Blue

Truck & Driver|August 2020

Feeling Blue
Kevin Charles went looking for a show truck project, and when he saw this 144 460 T-cab it certainly had a deep impact on him
Dougie Rankine
This immaculate, under stated Scania 144 V8 T-cab was one of the best restorations of 2019. For owner Kevin Charles, buying and restoring the truck completed a narrative arc that began with mechanics and progressed through rally cars and becoming an ownerdriver. He explains: “I ran my own truck for a few years, and I even kept hold of it for shows when I moved on to something else. Someone offered me good money for it so I had to let it go, but then I soon realised I didn’t like being truckless!”

Kevin moved from Ellesmere Port to Cumbria back in 1999 to follow a career in motorsport. He’s had a lot of interesting jobs over the years including looking after the Ford World Rally Team’s cars and driving the Bridgestone Formula One Test Team’s trucks. “I got into it by word of mouth; there was a Ford dealer in Widnes where I started as a YTS mechanic. A friend of a friend worked for a company called Rally Engineering and Performance and I got in there.”

The first rally team Kevin worked for had a Leyland Roadtrain artic, and Kevin was drawn to it.

For his 21st birthday his mum put some money towards getting his Class One licence and Kevin put in the remainder. “Truck driving and rallying are the perfect combination,” he grins. It’s certainly worked out that way. He’s spent three months in Spain on a test, pulled hospitality trailers, worked on the mechanic team for Jimmy McRae and his Sapphire Cosworth and even had a crack at rally driving himself. “I’ve done the Isle of Man, Mull, the Jim Clark; there’s nothing else like it, the atmosphere is fantastic,” he enthuses.

When the motorsport work became quiet, Kevin would often go out driving trucks. “I had an itch to have a go as an owner-driver that I wanted to scratch, and the opportunity came up to sub for local company Tyson H Burridge” he tells us. He bought an ex-Roy Gill Daf 85CF with the high-roof Hatcher cab and ran it for 18 months, followed by a Daf 95XF Super Space from KT Parker.

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August 2020