West Midlands haulier Adam Jones Group knows all about the virtues of Mercedes-Benz vehicles – its fleet includes a magnificent replica of a rare and historic 1930s SSK sports car.
Mercedes-Benz only built 40 SSKs, more than half of which were racers, and only a handful of complete originals survive. When one came up at auction in 2004, it sold for more than £4 million!
The Adam Jones car still has a fascinating history, though, having begun its life in South America 20 years ago. Now it has been joined in the Halesowen-based operator’s fleet by two modern vehicles which also wear three-pointed stars.
Supplied by Kidderminster dealer Mudie-Bond, both are 6×2 Actros 2546 tractor units with range-topping, flat-floored MegaSpace cabs.
Adam Jones Group runs 72 trucks, with Mercedes-Benz the predominant marque, and 100 trailers. However, the latest arrivals represent a departure from the company’s recent buying policy.
"These are our first new Mercedes-Benz vehicles since 1996," explained Managing Director Roy Jones. "Over the intervening years we’ve bought many more trucks, but they’ve all been top-quality, pre-owned models supplied by Mudie-Bond under the Mercedes-Benz Approved Used scheme.
"We decided the time was now right to invest in some brand new units, and the fact that these Actros were available at such a competitive rate certainly made the decision easier."
Both vehicles are the subject of comprehensive two-year contract hire arrangements with Mercedes-Benz Financial Services, which include replacement tyre cover as well as maintenance. They are being serviced and inspected overnight in Mudie-Bond’s Kidderminster workshop, ensuring that downtime is kept to an absolute minimum.
"Mudie-Bond have been supplying and maintaining our trucks for many years and we’ve always been very well looked after," added Mr Jones. "We also know from long experience that the Actros is an extremely reliable and fuel-efficient vehicle, as well as being well liked by our drivers."
The SSK, meanwhile, is now in the care of Mr Jones’s brother, and fellow Director, Clive. It is based on one of a small number of highly-accurate replica chassis with bespoke stainless steel body panels, built around 20 years ago by Automoviles Torrelardo, in Uruguay, South America.
It was discovered by Clive’s and Roy’s late brother, John, in a barn in Herefordshire and built up into a complete working car over the next two years.
Clive Jones recalled: "John spent many hours on that car. He would work on it almost every evening, long into the night, while his wife brought mugs of hot soup out to the garage to keep him going. He used to say he got through about 700 tins of soup during the restoration!"
The car was built using only genuine Mercedes-Benz parts, including a 2.8-litre straight-six engine from a 280SL sports car, and is virtually indistinguishable from the real thing.
"It’s our pride and joy," added Mr Jones. "It’s a great mascot for the company and an example of the superb design and engineering of Mercedes-Benz vehicles of the past; the very same values that our new Actros typify in the present."