Abbey Upholsterers & Specialist Joinery ticked nearly every box on the Mercedes-Benz Actros options list when specifying what must be one of the most impressive 18-tonners on UK roads.
The long distance Actros 1836 is an LnR variant with ultra low frame height. The truck is also fully air-suspended while its wind-cheating StreamSpace cab features a factory-fitted four-man bench seat, which means it can carry a crew of six in safety and comfort.
A third-generation family business, Abbey Upholsterers & Specialist Joinery is based in Carrickfergus, County Antrim, and purchased its new flagship from Newtownabbey Dealer Mercedes-Benz Truck & Van (NI).
The truck’s bespoke body was built by Drumack Coachworks, of Ballymena, which also fitted its roof fairing, cab collar and side skirts. The specialised box incorporates a system of adjustable bars which drop down from the roof and give the operator the flexibility to add a second deck at the optimum height for the job at hand.
A real head-turner, the truck wears an eye-catching livery with colour-coded bumper and mirrors, set off by Xenon headlights, a roof-mounted light bar and airhorns, Alcoa alloy wheels and a grille-mounted three-pointed star that can be illuminated at night. Design flair is also evident inside, where the optional Style-Line interior employs chrome-effect trim and other enhancements to give the cab an up-to-the-minute ambience.
Abbey Upholsterers & Specialist Joinery was founded more than 90 years ago by George Devlin. Today, his son, also George, is Managing Director, while grandsons Paul, Des and George Junior also work for the family concern.
The company, which also runs a number of Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans, specialises in the manufacture and restoration of furniture and serves retail, hospitality and leisure industry clients – among them Belfast’s prestigious Titanic Centre – as well as the residential sector.
The Actros spends much of its time in London, where Abbey is extremely busy after completing a series of high-profile projects, including one at the former Olympic Stadium, which is now home to West Ham United FC. Next come corporate box contracts at Wembley Stadium and Arsenal FC’s Emirates Stadium.
Paul Devlin explained: “We’re working with top-end clients so it wasn’t enough for the truck to be fit for purpose, it also had to look the part. When you’re parking outside Harrods, or in residential Belgravia, image is all important and must be spot on.”
Mr Devlin said the company had “future protected” itself as far as emissions legislation was concerned, by investing in the latest, Euro VI engine technology. A full suite of cameras giving the driver a 360-degree view and proximity sensors linked to audible alarms also meant it was fully compliant with the requirements of FORS, the Freight Operator Recognition Scheme.
“The crew cab is a huge asset,” continued Des Devlin. “It means we can fly a team over to London, pick them up and transport them directly to a job site. Each individual has a seat belt, the vehicle’s low working height makes life easier – and also safer – for operatives when loading and unloading, and we’ve also fitted attack alarms. Again, therefore, we’re fulfilling our Duty of Care to employees.”
The Actros is powered by a state-of the-art 265 kW (360 hp) straight-six engine which is paired with a Mercedes PowerShift 3 automated transmission. “We received a first class service from Mercedes-Benz Truck & Van (NI)’s sales executive Paul McCrory,” added Des Devlin. “The Actros is a joy to drive and very comfortable, and represents a real statement of intent as far as our growth ambitions are concerned.”