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Chappell’s notches a double first with mighty Mercedes-Benz Actros Titan

The UK’s first Mercedes-Benz Actros Titan heavy haulage tractor unit to be equipped with a groundbreaking new transmission and fitted with a MegaSpace cab has entered service in the colours of Hampshire operator Chappell’s of Stubbington.

The 8×4 Actros 4160S is powered by a 600hp, 16-litre V8 which drives through a Mercedes PowerShift automated gearbox that works in conjunction with Voith’s new VIAB Turbo Clutch. This new combination replaces the previous manual ‘box and torque converter clutch, which required a separate retarder.

The VIAB Turbo Clutch features a powerful integrated retarder for additional braking, so an external retarder is no longer needed. Being both smaller and lighter, it frees up chassis space and increases payload capacity.

The Turbo Clutch is also wear-free, more fuel-efficient, and offers finer control characteristics when pulling away and during low-speed manoeuvring under heavy loads. It is capable of handling and delivering some 3,000Nm of torque, significantly more than a traditional torque converter.

The use of the 16-speed Mercedes PowerShift automated transmission means that operators can now specify a Mercedes-Benz Titan heavy haulage tractor unit with a spacious, flat-floored MegaSpace cab.

Fareham-based Chappell’s purchased its new flagship from neighbouring dealer Pentagon Commercials, which arranged a programme of product-specific driver training.

A family firm founded in 1959, Chappell’s operates four other heavy haulage tractors. Its first Mercedes-Benz is now transporting plant and machinery used by customers working in the construction and demolition industries, at gross weights of up to 150 tonnes; however, the truck is capable of operation at 250 tonnes gcw.

Director Mark Harris declared: "The automated PowerShift transmission with Turbo Clutch is superb, and gives us the best of both worlds. When pulling away and working at low speeds the Turbo Clutch is extremely sensitive and makes the truck very easy to manoeuvre.

"And once you’re up and running the automated Mercedes PowerShift is a lot smoother than a manual, while also leaving the driver free to concentrate on the road rather than worrying about which gear he’s in."

The new truck is being driven by another Director, Sam Chappell. "Most of our work is done in southern England, but we also travel much further afield," continued Mark Harris. "Sam’s already been on several longer trips that have entailed nights away and he’s delighted with his big, comfortable cab, which we believe will also prove a wise investment in terms of the vehicle’s resale value."

And he added: "We wanted a factory-built eight-wheeler rather than an aftermarket conversion, and Pentagon Commercials came up with a package that combined the right product, at the right price, and with the right back-up.

"The dealer took us over to the Mercedes-Benz Titan factory in Germany, where we were able to witness at first-hand the build process and highly impressive quality of these vehicles. The attentive and proactive support we received from Pentagon’s Truck Sales Executive John Sunderland from specification through to delivery was also exceptional."

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