Volvo Trucks celebrate 50 years in the UK with the launch of the ‘Ailsa’ truck

Volvo Trucks is celebrating its 50th anniversary in the UK with the launch of its ‘Ailsa’ truck, which commemorates the duo who brought Volvo to the country.

Scottish entrepreneurs Jim McKelvie and Jim Keyden launched Ailsa Trucks in 1967. But the company name was only ever applied to the locally-developed Ailsa Bus. As a result, Volvo’s new truck is the first to carry the Ailsa name.

Instead, McKelvie and Keyden introduced the Volvo F86 to the market. Not only that, they focused on sales and aftercare – putting the dealer network and training in place before the trucks arrived.

Douglas, Jim Keyden’s son, said: “The choice of the name Ailsa honours the memory of my father and Jim McKelvie in their vision to succeed with Volvo, from the earliest days with the F86, by looking after their customers. Fifty years ago, they were one of the first to focus on helping their customers keep their trucks on the road and earning. To my father and Jim McKelvie, through the reliability and safety of the F86 and subsequent trucks, Volvo delivered value. What is more, the customers, distributors and employees were ‘family’. I don’t think you can do better than that.”

The F86 (the ‘F’ stood for ‘Forward Control’) with its steel-framed tilting safety cab, laminated windscreen, six-cylinder TD70A diesel engine developing 185/195bhp (DIN/SAE), 9-speed synchromesh gearbox, full air brake system and all new ‘System 8’ driveline, was ahead of its time – and available for delivery much more quickly than other makes – and all for a purchase price in 1967 of around £3,500, backed up by a 12-month parts and labour guarantee.

Volvo Trucks’ ‘Ailsa’ Edition has a limited production run of just 50 black on gold – or gold on black – FH 4×2 and 6×2 tractor units. The ‘Ailsa’ Edition focuses on Volvo’s class leading technology and safety equipment in the FH16-750 and the FH, which is equipped with the 13-litre engine rated at 540hp. With Dynafleet Services, with messaging included, this truck meets driver and fleet needs.

Each ‘Ailsa’ Edition has a custom interior upholstered in black and gold leather that complements the exterior with luxurious detailing that includes gold stitching and the specially designed 50th anniversary ‘Ailsa Edition’ logo.
Floor and engine tunnel mats are finished in gold too. Drivers get Volvo Dynamic Steering, I-Park Cool stationary Air Conditioning, I-See Predictive Cruise Control, TomTom navigation and the latest Media Package for streaming, as well as a range of home comforts such as a microwave, television and fridge freezer, together with the Personal Protection Package, which includes a security box, laminated door glass and an alarm.

Volvo Trucks’ head of product management, John Comer, said that the ‘Ailsa Edition’ black and gold design harks back to the days of Team Lotus in the 1970s and Swedish drivers Ronnie ‘Super-Swede’ Peterson and Gunnar Nilsson. The ‘Ailsa Edition’ door badge shows the Swedish and Union flags.

“The ‘Ailsa Edition’ project started back in summer 2016 and was driven by Cab Product Planner Peter Lindgren in terms of supply and the agreement on the use of the Ailsa name as part of the Volvo brand canon,” said Comer. “With its overwhelming importance on what would become Volvo’s future customer and driver focused direction in the UK, there was really only one name we could choose for this 50th anniversary truck and that was the ‘Ailsa Edition’.”

We hope you enjoyed this article! For more news, views and reviews on all aspects of the truck driver’s life subscribe today.