What is it about trucks and tractors?

Something about old diesel soothes me. If I am struggling to sleep I think of the quiet hum of an arctic rig flawlessly heading down the M6; it works every time. For some reason it is a Mercedes truck in my mind as I imagine the shifting light as it waves over the front badge against the solid heavy mass moving though the air. It is a pleasure to see them, in their hordes, on the motorway as you pass them by. In the thousands upon thousand these trucks are running the country. If a truck is not moving then a country is not running.

Trucks have proven their rugged reliability and have comforted a huge population secure in the knowledge that whatever they need will be available. Each item in your house, office space and around you would have been on a truck at some point getting from one place to another. But like so many other vehicles in history they have fans as well as customers. The original mini is an example of a vehicle that was designed and developed as a solution to problem that quickly became a cult following and then a world icon.

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Speaking generally trucks have also managed to make this transition for tool to icon. Truck enthusiasts come in many shapes and sizes like the vehicles they admire. They are respectful of the importance of haulage and like to see ‘working’ trucks. No real fan likes to see wreak and ruin of old/new engines they like to see movement and productivity. Standing on any bridge over any major road you will see the constant rhythm of haulage. It is an exclusive steady rhythm that reinforces perception. People like to photograph, rebuild, buy and even drive these machines for work and pleasure. Going to shows to see the new greatest alongside the old workhorses is a special pleasure for a special few.

Something intangible but a combination of size, sound and engineering excellence could be the reason that people can enjoy individual or groups of trucks. A sense of awe and inspiration directed to the vehicle itself as well as what it represents could be an answer. ‘Trucking’ has always been associated with ‘a honest days work’ ‘hard graft’ or ‘long hours’. Haulage is a career that companies and individuals have to put the effort and time in and the trucks are the tools. Constant attention to detail and unwavering concentration are demanded on the roads, in offices and depo’s to keep the whole business moving. Which is humbling, no short cuts or getting rich quick is respected.

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For some reason this also extends to tractors and old farm equipment. Farmers can look at the machinery they use as constant source of support in a weather and economic climate that is unpredictable and unfair. This inception during the agricultural revolution has proven to a population of people that without these machines we would not have the availability of food and drink that we have today. When managing and manufacturing such critical items you have to rely on a firm base and that is the machinery/trucks and the people who put the work in – which is comforting and worth celebrating.

There is something about rugged machinery that speaks to people be it consciousness or unconsciousness. Tractors have a more dense knowledge following that your standard truck enthusiasts. If you really want to sink your teeth into specifics, get oily and have an all purpose machine a tractor maybe for you. A friend of mine (who owns a 1953 Massey) tried explaining to me that a tractor is a fantastic ‘cheap run around’ for getting around the surrounding villages. They are cheap, reliable, good on fuel and has a top sped of 18mph so wont get you in trouble. A stretch of a claim but for some the perfect machine.

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A fan of trucks and tractors is not guaranteed to be a man but the scene is male dominated. I have now asked five people ‘what is it about trucks?’ Each has replied ‘well you are a man, so it is natural’ – or something to that effect. Are we wired different to enjoy tools and big toys, is it that simple? All I know is that when I was able to I paid to do my HGV licence and have never used that licence professionally. I have been to truck and tractor rallies to see the machinery and am now am unofficially a spotter of sorts – I notice trucks and tractors but do not note them down. I am comforted but the sound and sights of trucks and respect those who make them and drive them. It is not an interest that I have ever developed but has always been there for a reason that is not clear to me.

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