McGill drives north with new depot and new DAFs
Delivery of eight new DAFs driven by a hand-picked team of newly-recruited drivers and based out of a new 20,000 square feet depot in Manchester, marks a significant northern expansion by Bristol distribution company I J McGill Transport.
Also a first for the family-owned firm is the choice of factory-fitted curtainsider bodies on the new DAFs.
Ian McGill, who founded the company over 30 years ago, said he has been delighted at the high level of co-operation he has received from DAF and the team at the Leyland Assembly Plant in support of his expansion plans.
“They demonstrated a very strong ‘can do’ attitude throughout that resulted in high quality trucks and bodies that exactly meet our requirements and which were delivered in time for our new Manchester operation to really hit the ground running!” he said.
“This left me and my people free to focus on finding suitable premises and recruiting drivers and staff. Now we have a superbly located base in Manchester’s Trafford Park from which we can serve our customers throughout an area encompassing the North West of England up to the Scottish border, North Wales and West Yorkshire.
“With this fleet of reliable and fuel efficient trucks we can now provide both existing and new customers in the North and South West with a dependable daily delivery service between and within both regions. This is being supported by a night trunking service between our Bristol and Manchester sites and on to our Tavistock depot.”
Specifying the maximum 6.5 metre wheelbase at which the LF55 is offered has enabled 8.54 metre curtainsider bodies to be fitted. With a width of 2.54 metres and a height of just over 3.0 metres, these provide over 66 cubic metres of space. Fully-opening rear doors and a 1.5 tonne tuckaway tail-lift enable easy and fast loading and unloading. The trucks left the factory fully liveried and ready to immediately enter service.
“To be able to purchase complete vehicles in this way is a major benefit to us,” says Ian McGill. “It means that we have only one point of contact for all aspects of the vehicle and body specification and build right down to details like applying the livery, fitting the hands-free ‘phone kit, and putting the registration plates on. Our own drivers went to Leyland to collect them and they were in service the very next day. As we go forward we will also have only one place to go on warranty issues, should any arise.”
Power for the LF55s is from the 6.7 litre DAF GR165 Euro 5 engine producing 220 bhp (165 kW) at 1900 rpm and 850 Nm of torque between 1200 and 1700 rpm. This is matched to a six-speed AS Tronic automated gearbox, with an 11.5 tonne single reduction drive axle completing the driveline. At 18 tonnes this gives a power to weight ratio of 12.2 bhp/tonne, which combined with the engine’s flexible torque characteristics will enable the trucks to cope easily with hilly terrain across northern England and Wales.
The LF55 is a model with which McGills is very familiar, with a number already in their 58-strong fleet. “We find the LF55 to be ideally suited to our work with the narrow cab making it easier to get into places with restricted access. It’s also particularly good on fuel, which is very important with today’s high prices. We buy them at a competitive price, find that parts are readily available at sensible costs, and we get a good residual value when we move them on,” explains Ian McGill.
“Service support through the DAF dealer network is first class too. In Bristol we have technicians from Imperial Commercials – the dealer that supplied these new trucks – working on site in our own workshop to ensure fast response to our needs. And in Manchester we will be using Chatfields DAF, who are just around the corner and who provide a collection and return service for inspections and servicing that they do out of hours so that we have optimum vehicle availability.”