A Trucking Time Machine

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It’s amazing how experiencing an older truck will take you back into trucking history and this Bedford TK truly is a trucking time machine. Recalling the seventies and eighties, the discomfort, the poor design, non-existent ergonomics and low power engines reminds us just how far we have come in the intervening years.

In this retro trucking video, Dave McCoid, a good friend of Diesel News and Editor of NZ Trucking magazine takes a spin in the TK and attempts to recreate the whole eighties experience. The NZ Trucking team do a good job of illustrating just how different driving a truck was, within the working life of many still working in the industry today.

Everything has changed. The truck has a petrol engine, the cab doesn’t tilt and there is no such thing as power steering. Just about every aspect of the truck’s design, fit and finish is unimaginable nowadays. 

Experiencing a truck like this will immediately set off the memories of those who worked in the industry at the time and remind them of all the unacceptable working practices which were acceptable at the time. The concepts of PPE, driver fatigue, occupational health and safety and all round visibility were all unknown.

The seat is bolted to the cabin, which is firmly bolted to the chassis. There are a lot of aching backs in trucks or in those who will never drive a truck again, still around today and resulting from this design feature. Spending the day on the road in a truck like this was truly fatiguing. Climbing out of the truck at the end of the day, the body was stiff and you definitely knew you had put in a shift.

Watching a video like this after getting out of a modern test drive truck reminds us just how far we have come. This week it was the new Benz prime mover fitted with mirrorcam, a trucking time machine, but in the other direction, but more of that in later editions, let’s get back into the bone rattling Bedford!


a trucking time machine