4,147,000 km and counting

4,147,000 km and counting

When you travel enough kilometres with a truck, it starts to feel more like an old friend than a vehicle. That’s the kind of relationship Leif Eriksen enjoys with his Scania 142.

Built in the 1980s, the 14-litre Scania V8 has clocked up an astounding 4,147,000 kilometres, most of them with Eriksen at the wheel. While that distance is the equivalent of five return trips to the moon, Eriksen says it’s been almost entirely trouble-free driving.

“It is getting along in years, but I’ve never had any problems,” he says. “There are no guarantees, of course, as it’s travelled so many kilometres. But it’s had no repairs, apart from regular maintenance.”

Eriksen, who is from the town of Hadsund on Denmark’s Jutland Peninsula, spends his Saturdays washing and attending to minor repairs on the classic truck. Having spent so long in the vehicle, he knows exactly where its sweet spot can be found when he’s driving. “I drive nice and easy at 80 to 85 kilometres an hour,” he says. “That’s just the right speed, about 1,500 revs per minute.”

Having enjoyed a satisfying career, including transporting malt for Danish brewer Carlsberg, Eriksen is now ready for a rest. “I’ll be 70 in October, so it’s about time to retire,” he says.

In the rear-view mirror

These pictures are from a product brochure published in the early 1980s. At that time, Scania was already utilising a wind tunnel to obtain as low a drag as possible. By tilting the windscreen 20 degrees on the then new 142 R series cab, Scania achieved the lowest drag on the market.

Bedtime reading. A driver gets comfy in the back of the 2-series cab.

A 2-series scale model undergoes wind-tunnel testing in the late 70s.

A 2-series scale model undergoes wind-tunnel testing in the late 70s.

V8

When Scania unveiled the 350 hp V8 engine in 1969, it was Europe’s most powerful diesel truck engine, and it remained so for many years. Scania has been continuously refining this engineering masterpiece ever since.Read more