But it’s Ray Hingley’s love of trucks – Scania in particular – which sets this firm apart. Ray’s collection of vehicles is unique, not least because his latest acquisition is a Golden Griffin. One of just 50 examples built to celebrate Scania’s UK Golden Jubilee, Ray’s Golden Griffin is special; it’s Number 1.
Ray regards every vehicle he owns as part of the family. And he has a close relationship with his local dealer, Keltruck, too. He’s a great personal friend of Keltruck founder Chris Kelly, and together they’ve shared their passion for trucks over the years. Mike Kelly, Keltruck’s long time Sales Director, is also close to the Hingleys.
Ray’s truck collection includes several historic British vehicles. But for him, the stand-out truck is LGK 3D, the very first vehicle imported into the UK by Scania.
‘LGK’, as Ray calls it, is an LB76 tractor unit. Fully restored to as-new condition, it’s been in the Hingley family for many years. While Ray was rebuilding it, his wife Tina would take him Sunday lunch in the garage. The children grew up with it too. LGK is an integral part of their lives.
‘Side by Side’ is the song Ray hums to himself when he stands LGK 3D next to his Golden Griffin. “When I heard Scania was to launch a Limited Edition range of 50 individually-numbered Golden Griffins, I just couldn’t resist it,” he says. “I had to have one – but for obvious reasons it had to be Number 1.”
Side by side
Scania operator and transport enthusiast Ray Hingley is planning a unique celebration to commemorate 50 years of Scania in the UK
“Remember the old song, Side By Side?” enquires Ray Hingley. “Well, that’s exactly what I’m going to do when my Golden Griffin arrives – stand it side by side with my other treasured Scania, LGK 3D.”
As anyone who has met Ray will know, (and he’s appeared at countless shows and events over the years, so we’re betting many readers will be familiar with Brierley Hill’s most famous transport son), he is the proud owner of the very first truck ever to be imported by Scania Vabis (Great Britain) Limited into the UK.
Ray invariably refers to his historic Scania Vabis LB76 tractor unit by its registration number, and for him LGK 3D is as much a member of the family as every other one of the Hingley clan. So much so, in fact, that Ray has had a king-size patio window installed at home so that he and wife Tina can spend their evenings gazing out at their prized possession. And, yes, Tina is a fan too: “I cannot thank Tina enough for all the time she has spent polishing and looking after LGK 3D; without her, that truck certainly wouldn’t be what it is today,” confirms Ray.
Scania in general, and LGK 3D in particular, have figured in Ray Hingley’s life for the entire 50 years that Scania has been in the UK. “That’s part of the attraction for me,” says Ray. “I remember LGK 3D even before she was registered. She came over in 1965 and B&W Motors of Pensnett in Dudley (one of Scania’s original three British distributors, see article page 16) had her as a demonstrator. They ran her on trade plates for a year, during which time Commercial Motor tested her (see page 34).
“The very first company to try her out was Webb Ivory, the picture postcard people. Local operators William Hays and Jubilee Transport also had her and the salesman who eventually sold her was Billy Wright – not the Sir Billy of Wolverhampton Wanderers fame, although both of them came from the same area.
“The first owner – in fact LGK 3D’s only other owner – was Rounds Transport of Hockley Lane, Dudley. They ran her until the end of her life and then parked her up in the yard. A while later, Jim and Joe Round split up. I decided I would love to restore her and asked Joe if I could buy her. He said it wasn’t just up to him and that I’d have to get Jim’s OK as well. So I went off to see Jim and asked him to sign a letter agreeing to the sale, which he did, and for which I am very grateful. I then went back to Joe, gave him the letter, and the deal was done.
“That was more than 30 years ago. We then set about taking her back to showroom condition. And yes, it did become something of an obsession for us; LGK 3D even appeared on my 40th birthday cake!
“Keltruck, my local Scania dealer, were involved in the restoration, and I have to say a massive thank you to Chris Kelly and the team at West Bromwich for all the help, expertise and encouragement they have given me over the years. They even went as far as sourcing some of the parts I needed from New Zealand for me – and you can’t get much further away than that!
“We did the mechanical restoration of the chassis ourselves. Keltruck did the paint, both the chassis and the cab, and reassembled her for me. The engine has never been touched. It’s got well over a million miles on it and it still sounds as sweet today as it ever did. The gearbox too; it’s all original and has never needed restoring. Fifty years old – you have to take your hat off to build-quality like that.”
The engine fitted to the LB76, and its evident quality, played a key part in Scania’s early UK success. Designated DS11, the unit was a six-cylinder, direct injection, turbocharged diesel which developed 220 horsepower. Drive was by way of a ten speed gearbox, and the truck was equipped with the luxuries of (for the British market at that time) power steering and dual-circuit air brakes.
The vehicle’s short ‘bulldog’ style forward-control cab was designed with the international length limits of Scania’s increasingly important export markets in mind. With a gross weight of 16.5 tonnes for the UK, LGK 3D was one of 22,717 LB76 (four-wheel) and LBS76 (six-wheel) models built by Scania between January 1963 and February 1968 at its factories in Sweden, and from 1964 onwards the Netherlands, where the Scania assembly plant in Zwolle is also celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2014.
While the LB76 already has plenty of company back at the Hingley home – Ray has also restored a Guy Big J, an AEC Mandator, a Leyland Comet and an eight-wheel Atkinson – the Golden Griffin mentioned by Ray at the start of this article is now set to take pride of place alongside LGK 3D.
“I just couldn’t resist it,” says Ray. “I already own the UK’s Scania No. 1, and when I heard Scania was planning to launch a numbered series of 50 Golden Jubilee anniversary trucks, I had to have one…but it would have to be Limited Edition No. 1. It turned out to be a bit of a struggle, as I know plenty of other people wanted that number too. But in the event, it was offered to me and I jumped at it – and the thought of No. 1 standing next to No. 1 is why I can’t stop humming Side By Side to myself!”
While the modern day No. 1 will be equipped with a 730 horsepower Scania V8 engine and appointed with an extensive range of luxurious extras and fitments, we somehow suspect LGK 3D will continue to hold the No. 1 spot in Ray Hingley’s affections.
In tribute to him and his pioneering truck, we now reproduce over the following four pages that original road test which Ray remembers from his early days in the industry. For the permission to reprint it, we are indebted to Will Shiers, today’s Editor of Commercial Motor. We’ll leave it to the elder generation to unravel the joys of tons and hundredweights for the benefit of their younger colleagues, but we’re sure all will agree with us that this earliest of tests makes for fascinating reading.
And if you’d like to read more from the Commercial Motor archives, simply follow the archive link at www.commercialmotor.com.