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High rise, high impact

When Gabriel Badea wanted a new Scania, he went straight to the top.

Scania’s NTG S-series was the all-new addition to the range in 2016 when the covers were pulled at the international launch.

It’s a larger, taller, bigger all-round cab with the added advantage of a completely flat floor.

The S-series does demand the driver climbs an extra stair to gain access, but by elevating the cab further off the engine, once inside the occupant or occupants have far more room to move around, more head room and greater insulation from the engine and gearbox.

Long-time Scania owner-driver Gabriel Badea was taken with the idea of the S-series cab and ordered one teamed with the very successful 500 hp 13-litre six cylinder.

His configuration included an 8x2 rigid chassis with a 21.5 m Effer crane on the back that can lift 780 kg.

The truck is used largely to deliver building products around Melbourne and surrounds on a daily basis, but can also be used to transport large, heavy machinery as well.

Gabriel is a contractor who does a lot of work for Vic Mesh, manufacturers of rebar used for all manner of building, while he also delivers trusses for housing and other large wood and fabricated metal construction components.

“I wanted a nice big and comfortable European cab, and that’s what I have got,” he says of the striking all blue S 500. “It’s like being in a mobile office, which is what I wanted.

“I have had people crossing the road in front of me stop and take pictures. I think they like the chrome and the lights. It does look different from the run-of-the-mill truck.

“It is beautifully built and the doors shut with a very soft but solid feel, like a luxury car. I opted for the premium leather seats and the wood-rimmed wheel and the dashboard with the chrome trim. I like how the new design has the controls and switches closer to the driver and the extra USB ports are appreciated,” Gabriel says.

Gabriel searched the web for additional chrome trim to enhance the look of the big Scania cab, and found a supplier in Italy who could deliver high quality bespoke trimmings. Some parts came from another supplier, Metec, based in Estonia. For the mirrored stainless-steel panel at the rear carrying the indicator, tail and running lights Gabriel fabricated that himself and had the light slots laser-cut. For Gabriel the customisation was a labour of love.

“I love how it looks, especially at night with all the running lights illuminated,” he says.

“The view from up in the driver’s seat is excellent which is good for enhancing safety and also looking out over the top of the traffic.

“I have found the truck very comfortable to drive and it handles very well out of town on country roads. I have air suspension all round which not only improves the ride quality but gives me the ability to manually adjust the vehicle height for off-loading at the site.

“The nature of the task is that I will delivery to many different sites in a working week, and possibly all for the first time. So you need to be able to figure out quickly the best place to position the truck for the safest off-loading. There’s a decent reach with this crane, and builders are always happy if you can deposit the load as close to where they need it as possible,” he says.

“I had a Scania 8x2 previously, an R 420 rigid curtainsider pulling a pig trailer that covered 615,000 km. it was ultra-reliable. I never had a problem with it, never had a breakdown and never got stuck. It was a good workhorse that could pull a 27-tonne payload up hills without complaining because it had so much torque. It was amazing on fuel as well, returning 3.1 km/litre on average regularly.

“After driving it for 10 years people thought it was almost new because I kept it clean and was careful where I drove it. It is easy for construction site vehicles to get damaged, but if you take care …

“I’m not travelling huge distances and I am not carrying very heavy loads, but this truck has more than enough power and capacity for whatever I might have to do,” he says.

“I have the truck on the 5-year/500,000 km service included Scania maintenance programme. I haven’t done many km in the new truck yet but so far we’re seeing 2.7/2.8 km per litre in stop start city traffic. I’m driving it in Economy mode because it doesn’t need Standard or Power modes.

“One of the best changes is the upgrading of the gearbox with the new layshaft brake. The shift quality is so smooth and fast it’s incredible how it changes gears for a truck of this size.

I couldn’t imagine being able to change gears manually as smoothly or as quickly.

“The designers have also adjusted the A-pillars and the mirror positions so there’s even better visibility now. I would say with the changes to the driver’s seat position and these other changes it’s 10 times better for the driver,” Gabriel says.

“This S 500 is a magnificent example of how Scania allows its customers to tailor a truck to meet their exact needs,” says Rowan Bouwmeester, New Truck Account Manager for Scania based at Dandenong.

“Gabriel knew what he wanted and we were able to configure an 8x2 with the cab he wanted, the chassis length he needed, and we added on a number of features that he liked, such as the six large Cibie Oscar driving lamps on the top of the cab.

“Gabriel has compete peace-of-mind with the Scania service contract, so he is free to focus his attention on delivering for his customers.

“The S 500 is a very impressive looking piece of kit and it is not surprising it is turning heads wherever it goes,” Rowan says.