Middle East Trucking memories on Biglorryblog thanks to Peter Symons and the DAF ‘Super Continental’!


Calling all Middle East veterans! Does this ring any bells with you? I am greatly indebted to my old mate Peter Symons, industry veteran and (way back in the past when we were both a lot younger) product marketing man at the ‘old’ DAF Trucks in Thame. BLB bumped into him at last night’s Iveco bunfight and we got talking about blog content….”There’s too much really old stuff on it!’ he said. “Well,” I replied, “what I need is more classic ’80s trucks–like the old DAF 3600 and 28000…” “Oh you mean like the ‘Super Continental’ tractor we created?” “The what…? Send it to me!” And Peter’s been as good as his word and so for all long-haul drivers and classic Cloggie fans click through here to find out all about it!  


“No sooner said than done…” says Peter who takes up the story. “Here are pages scanned from DAF’s in-house magazine – the DAF Trucks Magazine, issue 1 for 1976. This was produced by Eindhoven, but with some UK market-specific pages included….”

“As you’ll see from the copy, the SuperCon (as we knew it internally) was effectively a conversion put together by DAF GB (under the auspices of the then technical supremo, Neville Grandison) to meet the needs of Middle East operators. Most were left hookers, although a couple of RHD’s appeared too. The internal work was done mainly by Devon Conversions, who were caravan converters, and the external work was done – I believe – at Marlow where it wasn’t done ex-factory. Certainly the shots here were all taken at Marlow – I recognise the buildings in the background.”


“The copy tells you what was included. Looking at the cab interior now, it amazes me we were able to get so much into such a small space! – and to get the additional weight under 250 kgs! Love the splashback guard for cooking – the fan behind the passenger seat – the white controls for the Webasto air conditioning by the driver (aircon unit on the roof, ilo a roof rack) – the old Bostrom seats (height of luxury in those days) – no driver headrest! – no carpets – the enormous DAF steering wheel – the wonderful 13-speed Fuller gearknob too …”

“We’d taken an order for some 25 from PIE (Pacific Intermountain Express), who were based up near Heathrow somewhere – and they were instrumental in helping spec the trucks in the first place. Their Fleet Engineer was a man called Mike Guy. I worked closely with Neville when I joined DAF’s Service Department as a student in April 1977, and went to see PIE with him on a service visit that summer. Most of the problems they had were springs breaking from going across the desert too fast apparently! Never quite sure their drivers appreciated the SuperCon interiors they way they were designed! For sure, the basins were used for other reasons in several cases – less sure what that did to the warranty!”

“BRS Overland had a long-loan SuperCon prepared for them too. Their driver came down to Marlow for a day’s training on the truck and pranged it (not too badly) in Fieldhouse Lane, within 0.5 mile of DAF Marlow on the way home! Another owner-driver had one to deliver fridges to Kabul, bringing back carpets. He used to keep a knife stuck into the dashboard for easy access in foreign parts.”PS5.jpeg

“As an added extra! – the above might bring back memories too, Lesley won the first (and only) ever Lady Trucker contest, organised by the late lamented Mr Kennett and TRUCK magazine, sponsored by DAF GB. She then joined us as a demo driver, working for CTS alongside our other demo driver Keith Atkins. She’d previously been driving a Buffalo, I believe!”

Well I certainly remember Lesley Peter,  as I am sure some operators did too–especially if they were expecting some bloke called ‘Les’ to turn up with a demo truck and instead got a stunning petite blonde lady instead! The first truck I ever drove in anger was a DAF 2500 at Chobham with Lesley showing me what to do…ahh memories and great stuff on the Super Continental too!

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