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Pain, pleasure and passion

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While a mechanically problematic truck might spell imminent replacement, it’s often a more emotional decision with private vehicles.Trucking: ask anyone in the game and they will tell you, in no uncertain terms, that it’s not an emotional business. Yet, one can argue that, to make it in the trucking business, you need to have a passion for it …

Trucks exist to make money, to keep the shelves stocked and the economy running. When you buy a truck, you need to make the best logical, rational, and even scientific decision for your business.

When listening to the radio on my way to work, on the day I was to pen this column, I heard an interesting discussion on the etymology of the word “passion”. Wikipedia says that, in the modern English sense, the word means an intense emotion, compelling enthusiasm or desire, yet it derives from the Latin word patere, meaning “to suffer” …

Therefore, it could be argued, said the chap on the radio, that when we have a passion for something, we will inevitably go through some sort of strife in our pursuit of the personal rewards that that passion brings us; it is a motivator.

I found this interesting for a few reasons: the main one being that I am passionate about motor vehicles – specifically my motor vehicles, which have caused me much suffering …

I could (and maybe should) write a book about my motoring exploits, but allow me to share the short sob-story about my recent “fleet” of dinky toys. Exactly two years ago, my daily runaround – a Peugeot 206 GTi 180; the fun-to-drive, “special” one – broke down for the fourth and last time. It was for the last time, because, at the time, I didn’t have the money to fix it … again.

And so it earned the dubious title of “a lovely garden ornament” – only taken out every now and then to visit the odd mechanic in the hope that they could solve this malady.

As I needed a vehicle, shortly thereafter I bought a terrific Honda Prelude from a fastidious colleague. Although it was lovely to drive and in really good overall condition for its age, the Prelude suffered from the odd bout of “old car syndrome”. But that’s what I loved about it – it kept me on my toes; kept me interested; kept me busy under the bonnet …

In amongst all this, my brother had been driving my other oldie; an E30 BMW 316i. It was the most reliable car I had owned – until one day, this June, when it dropped a valve through one of its pistons.

My mechanic wanted to buy if from me and fix it up for his son; so, with a heavy heart, I said good-bye and set aside the money from the sale to finally fix the Peugeot.

A while later, that car was booked in with yet another, highly recommended mechanic when, later that very day, my brother crashed the Prelude. With my eyes welling up (literally) the decision was taken to write off the old girl.

The Peugeot is now fixed and ready to be traded in (yes, with a heavy heart). So the end of this year will bring about some car shopping. I’m looking forward to embracing a new passion for some sort of special car with, hopefully, a little less suffering …

Truckers? Well, they’re not generally emotional about their vehicles. Sure, you get the odd operator who will keep the first vehicle he bought for the sake of nostalgia, and others who choose to run older fleets of vehicles. Generally, though, a truck that fails a serious operator in any aspect of the job will be replaced with a different one that promises to be up to the task.

The professional trucking community is, however, big on passion! So, while operators may, too, fall victim to bouts of automotive suffering every now and then, it’s the tough competitiveness of the market; (very) poor public perception of the professionalism and safety of the industry, its vehicles and drivers; and the rising costs of doing business that are really cause for concern.

But, the passion will live on; the truckers will keep on trucking, and, hopefully, I can start filling my garage again. Wishing you a safe, prosperous, passionate 2015.

 

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