Gabriel Badea wanted a long wheelbase to handle a highly specified body on a truck with only one drive axle, he was looking for a very specific truck. Paul Matthei speaks with him about his operation’s different requirements.
BODY///While the bulk of Gabriel Badea’s work involves delivering construction products such as timber and steel to building sites around the greater Melbourne area, he also does some longer runs to pick up timber from saw mills in the NSW and Victorian high country.
On those longer runs to pick up timber from saw mills in the NSW and Victorian high country it can be treacherous during the winter months. In spite of the icy and slippery road conditions, he says electronic braking on both the truck and trailer, along with the traction control on the truck and a careful driving style, ensure safe operation at all times.
“When travelling up the mountains near Tumut in the wintertime when the roads are icy and slippery I have never felt unsafe, both the truck and trailer just stick to the road like glue,” says Gabriel.
He looked at several European brands prior to his latest purchase, eventually choosing Scania due to a number of factors. He also stresses that it is currently the only brand to offer the 8×2 configuration in Australia.
Another drawcard, according to Gabriel, is that the this truck offers the longest wheelbase of all the brands, at 7.1 metres, straight from the factory.
“I didn’t want to buy a truck then spend a lot of money to get the chassis lengthened to fit the body length that I wanted,” says Gabriel.
Part of the reason for such a long chassis is to accommodate the rear-mounted Effer 315-8s (eight extension sections) crane with a massive 21.5 metre reach and 780kg lifting capacity at full extension.
This is a vital part of the outfit, given the bulk of Gabriel’s work involves delivering building products around Melbourne and surrounds on a daily basis. He is a contractor for Vic Mesh, the manufacturer of Rebar steel reinforcing bar and mesh used in concrete slabs, and also delivers timber and steel trusses for housing and other large timber and fabricated steel construction components. He also at times uses the truck to transport heavy machinery.
As an owner-driver for some 28 years, early in the piece Gabriel worked for some of the bigger companies and then started in his current line of work delivering building materials and steel around 14 years ago.
“When I started doing this work I was using Japanese trucks and with the longer distance work I knew I needed a more comfortable truck, so that’s why I bought my first new Scania in 2009,” says Gabriel. “Scania is the only manufacturer that offers full air suspension on all axles, and that really makes a big difference to the ride comfort.”
This time around, Gabriel went straight to the top of the range and ordered the flagship S Series complete with a 500hp 13 litre six-cylinder engine mated with the Opticruise 12-speed AMT.
Introduced in 2016, the S-series features a taller and all-round larger cab with the bonus of a completely flat floor. This was achieved by elevating the cab further above the engine and while the driver needs to negotiate one extra step to gain access, once inside there is far more room to move around, including greater head room.