Original and best
Truck & Driver|August 2021
There are few trucks which have been customised to the level of the Scania 143, but let’s not forget that the standard product was pretty awesome just as it left the factory, like this rare 420
Paul O'Callaghan

Individualism is what makes the world such an interesting place. The very fact that we often disagree on “what looks well” in terms of truck styling ensures that not all trucks look the same. Furthermore, if we all drove plain white trucks, the world we inhabit would be a very boring place indeed.

A perfect case in point is Danish haulier Guldagers’ latest Volvo FH Art Truck 2, painted by Ray Hill who was inspired by Dutch artist Piet Mondrian, considered one of the greatest artists of the 20th century.

The bold design divides opinion – you’ll either love it or hate it. However, when it comes to classic trucks, there’s certainly a lot to be said for keeping it completely authentic. After all, for many of us these trucks are about nostalgia and reminding us of our youth.

The Scania 143, produced from 1988 until 1996, is held in very high regard and arguably nowhere more so than Ireland, where a large number have been restored. Although there are some fine examples on the island, many feature accessories or shiny wheels which weren’t around when these trucks were new. One truck which purposefully retains the primary look however, is the highly original example featured here.

“There’s nothing on the truck which it wouldn’t have had in the ’90s,” claims its owner Conal O’Sullivan from Dunshaughlin, County Meath, better known as Freddie [Obviously – Ed]. “Well apart from the Parrot handsfree kit” he adds. Although I think we’ll let him get away with that.

But originality aside, what really sets this 143 apart is the fact that it’s a working truck, in daily use at the O’Sullivan family’s truck repair garage, either bringing trailers for testing or recovering stranded vehicles, among other tasks.

Family business

Commercial Repair Services was established by Freddie’s father Donal O’Sullivan way back in 1970, repairing all makes of trucks and trailers, although Scania seems to have been the most prevalent make in the workshop, which in part explains Freddie’s love for the brand. Perhaps more fortunate than many of us, through his contact with the workshop, Freddie along with his older brother Garrett – who also has a 143 and works in the garage – had access to continental trips some of us could only have dreamed of as a child.

Early learning

“My first trip out was at eight years of age, when a friend of the family Anthony Conlon took me to France in a brand new Daf 95XF Super Space cab, where I then swapped into a version one Volvo FH12 with his brother Brendan Conlon and headed for Germany,” recalls Freddie.

Other memorable trips for the truck-mad youth included Fuengirola in the south of Spain with Dara Graham in a 1995 143 Streamline with a refrigerated trailer, very similar to our featured vehicle. The trucking bug had certainly bitten and there was no going back now!

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