For Sam Beldom, the acquisition of a new tipper has as much to do with the heart as it does the head. The owner-driver knows exactly what he wants, which explains why his new Mercedes-Benz Arocs eight-wheeler was specially built to meet his requirements.
Sam operates from the village of Horton, near Windsor, and followed his father into the business at the age of 16. Over the last 33 years he has driven most types of truck, but his muscular Arocs 3253K is the first to wear a three-pointed star.
Prior to delivery by MBNI Truck & Van, the 32-tonne GVW Arocs was modified by the manufacturer’s Custom Tailored Trucks (CTT) division, which is based at Molsheim, in Alsace, France.
“A friend runs half a dozen Arocs and he strongly recommended it,” recalled Sam, who trades as Beldom Tippers, and undertakes a variety of work, much of it involving the transport of compost, fertilisers and aggregates. “I liked the look of his trucks and the Dealer has bent over backwards to get me the vehicle I really wanted.”
The Mercedes-Benz Arocs range was purpose-designed for construction-related applications. Operators of eight-wheeled variants typically choose ClassicSpace or StreamSpace cabs, which are available in varying widths, lengths and heights. None were roomy enough for Sam, though. He preferred the flat-floored BigSpace sleeper version more commonly seen on long-haul tractor units, which offers almost two metres of headroom and exceptional storage capacity.
Customers can order an 8×4 chassis with BigSpace cab direct from the factory, but it comes with an additional sub-frame. As a tipper operator for whom a significant reduction in payload capacity would be reflected in a loss of income, Sam could not afford the weight penalty which would result from fitment of the sub-frame.
It was CTT’s expert engineers who provided the solution. They flitched (strengthened) the truck’s chassis, so Sam could have the cab he wanted, while retaining a competitive payload of more than 19 tonnes.
Fitted with an aluminium tipping body by Wilcox Commercial Vehicles, of Peterborough, the Arocs is powered by a top-rated, 390 kW (530 hp) version of the state-of-the-art, 12.8-litre OM 471 straight-six engine, which is paired with a 12-speed Mercedes-Benz PowerShift automated transmission.
The vehicle is also equipped with upwards of 40 optional extras – “I don’t think there were many boxes on the list that I didn’t tick,” laughed Sam. They include a twin-plate clutch in place of the standard, single-plate item, for extra driveline durability, and a high-performance engine brake.
The truck’s appearance is enhanced by its eye-catching metallic silver paintwork and grey chassis, Kelsa light bars top and bottom, air horns and alloy wheels, while interior features include leather seats and a leather-trimmed steering wheel, an uprated entertainment system and satnav.
“I love my new Mercedes-Benz,” enthused Sam. “It looks fantastic, and goes really well. The engine is amazingly quiet, so much so that you can easily forget you’re in a truck. It’s also very responsive, though, with plenty of power when I need it, while the transmission is impressively smooth and easy to use. These are still early days but the Arocs is already returning nine to the gallon, and that’s a figure I’m certainly happy with.”
He added: “The cab offers all the room and storage I could possibly need, and is beautifully put together. In fact, everything about this truck says ‘quality’, which makes it a real pleasure to go to work each day.”
The subject of a two-year Mercedes-Benz Repair & Maintenance Contract, the Arocs is now being inspected and serviced at the Aldershot workshop of Rossetts Commercials, a sister company to MBNI Truck & Van. Sam has also extended the manufacturer’s warranty cover into years three and four.