As I mentioned in my previous post, my wife, a couple of dear friends, and I just returned from a short trip in which we made our way from France to Ireland, via London. My fascination with motorized vehicles of all sorts was stoked continuously with the sight of all sorts of cars, trucks and two and three-wheeled machines that you don’t just see over here.
In contrast to the soft, romantic lines of the tiny Vespa scooter I shot on a Paris sidewalk and published here a couple of days ago, I present this Volvo semi tractor (“articulated lorry”) slumbering with three wheels on a sidewalk on a gritty side street in Dublin.
Obviously, the Guinness livery drew me to this particular rig. I am hardly an expert on semis (or “artics”), but I was compelled to do a little research and found that these “cab over” Volvo trucks are not sold here in the U.S. They’re used in European countries because it’s easier to maneuver them through the narrow city streets. Volvo trucks are sold here, but only what the Brits call an “American cab”, where the driver sits behind the engine and its phalanx-like hood.
(This comes under the almost-certainly-more-than-you-might-want-to-know category, but have you ever wondered why you see trucks with wheels that are not touching the road, like the middle ones on this truck? It’s called a lift axle -those four wheels can be raised when loads are light to save tire wear and fuel, and must be lowered when the truck is fully loaded to distribute the weight on the road and for increased traction. Also, notice the adjustable wind deflector on the roof, which should be down without a trailer and up when one is attached.)
(If for any strange reason you find yourself becoming fascinated by trucks of the U.K., you must set your browser to this site: BigLorryBlog. Yes, it’s a British blog about diesel-powered trucks. Enjoy!)
I was struck that virtually every semi tractor I saw in Ireland was equipped with enough candlepower across its roof to melt Irish crystal at a kilometer away. I never did any driving through the countryside after dark, but these things must look like flaming dragons flying over the hills and into the deep green valleys.
All words and images copyright 2009 Jeffery Blackwell