As he becomes the UK’s first journalist behind the wheel of the Scania 770S, PowerTorque’s European Correspondent, Will Shiers, drives the world’s most powerful production truck, but can’t help feeling that it’s missing something.
While half the world’s truck driving population would give their eye teeth to be in my position, I’m totally indifferent. You see, while I appreciate the technical merits of Scania’s legendary V8 engine, and understand the incredible passion it evokes amongst drivers, I don’t like the whole razzmatazz that comes with it or understand why everyone that drives one feels the urge to announce it to the world.
It seems to be a prerequisite to wear the branded clothing, to cover the exterior with massive V8 logos, to ruin the slippery exterior with countless light bars, and of course to hang some tasteless 1970s-style curtains inside the cab. Some of them look like they’ve been covered in glue and driven through a truck accessory shop at full pelt!
And it’s with this attitude that I wait outside Cobham Services, a truck stop located on London’s M25 orbital motorway, for the new 770S to turn up. It’s the world’s most powerful production truck, but I’m fully expecting every driver in the truck park to realise that the second it turns up, after all, as it’s bound to stickered to that affect.
But I’m wrong! In fact, when it arrives, I almost miss it. It’s plain white, in fact, dare I say subtle? So, this is what they look like when they come out of the factory then?
While I’m doing my walk-round check, a Scania R580 pulls up next to me. The driver jumps out and walks right past my truck without even a cursory glance. I suppress a sudden urge to tell him it’s a 770S. I bet he’d have noticed if I’d been wearing a baseball cap!
Instead, I take a closer look at the exterior, and soon realise why the R580 driver failed to clock what he’d parked next to. Other than a discreet ‘770’ badge, the only other tell-tale signs, as to what this is, are a tasteful stainless-steel strip above the visor, and a dark grey (Epic Black) grille, instead of the usual brilliant black one that features on lesser V8s. Of course, it has the usual V8 enhancements too, like a chrome exhaust pipe, chrome door handle, V8 mud-flaps and a V8 badge on the grille.
Having climbed the four well-staggered steps, I discover that the discretion continues inside the cab too.
Entering a Scania S-series is a bit like opening the door to a 5-star hotel room. You know you’re in something special. The cab is dominated by high-end, soft-touch, dark plastics. Whereas the latest Volvo FH16 gets splashes of garish orange, the S-series’ interior is punctuated by red piping and stitching.
Not even the 10 V8 logos I spot in here (including the key fob) detract from the grown up, feeling of sophistication that this serene interior exudes. Even the illuminated red V8 on the back wall is small and discreet. Whereas an FH16 screams ‘look at me, I’m a flagship truck’, this S-series gently whispers the same message into your ear.
The dashboard design is cool and classic, yet at the same time modern. And unlike in the latest Mercedes-Benz Actros, you don’t need to play with games consoles, to immediately decipher how the dials and controls work.
Photo credit: tomlee.gallery