The first Scania V8 truck was delivered to Henrik Olssons Åkeri, a haulage firm in Edsvalla, Sweden, for use in forestry work.
Henrik Olsson, today 72 years old, remembers very well his introduction to the Scania V8 engine.
“When we found out about this new engine, with 90 more horses than anything else we had, I decided on the spot to buy one,” he says. “In our forests there was a great need for extra power. After bodywork, the truck, an LBT140, began operating on two shifts. Soon it was joined by another LBT140.”
It was a learning experience. Olsson remembers especially how calmly the clutch needed to be handled.
“It grabbed hold immediately, so it wasn’t entirely easy to make a smooth start,” he recalls. “The engine was a bit powerful for the drive shaft, and on a couple of occasions we needed emergency care at the Lecab Scania workshop in Karlstad. One of the reasons why we stuck with Scania was that not only was it a good truck, but the service was also outstanding. We always got help when we needed it.”
A total of 12 people worked at the haulage company. In addition to four forestry trucks, its fleet included excavators and crane trucks.
Olsson ran the company until 1987. After 20 years in the business, he switched careers and became an official of the Värmland province hauliers’ association. He was quite happy representing hauliers in their dealings with politicians and public authorities. He remained in this position until his retirement.
So what happened to the first Scania V8? After four years and 600,000 problem-free kilometres, it was replaced.
1969 Scania V8 took the competition’s breath away
Development work had been under way since 1962. Three years of tough laboratory and highway testing confirmed that it would be a success. When Scania unveiled its DS 14 V8 engine at the 1969 international motor show in Frankfurt, it gave competitors a knock-out punch.
At 350 hp, it was the world’s most powerful diesel engine for trucks, and journalists were interested. It had been many years since a truck-related product triggered so many questions and positive comments.
Denmark’s Motor-magasinet wrote: “There is no doubt that the new Scania engine will meet future needs for trucks with substantially higher output than today. In this way, the natural tensions between slower commercial vehicles and faster car traffic can be smoothed, a more uniform traffic rhythm achieved on the heavily used road network, and the traffic capacity of roads can be increased.”
Scania’s Swedish customer magazine MIL elaborated on the V8’s expected traffic characteristics: “The new engine gives the 140 series both transport economy and road safety advantages. High tractive power provides more even speed with large loads. When climbing hills with more than a 1 percent incline, you can count on 30 percent higher speed for a fully loaded long-haul rig. Better acceleration enables the truck to adapt smoothly to increasingly dense highway traffic.”
After the 1969 launch, Scania’s LB140 models with a V8 engine quickly won acclaim in the transport industry. High output combined with a torque curve emphasising low engine speeds were a pleasant and effective combination in a heavy vehicle.
A legend was born.
In 1969 the V8 driver…
… was listening to Elvis Presley’s comeback album From Elvis in Memphis and maybe also the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine. At the cinema, Midnight Cowboy featured a young Dustin Hoffman. And mankind had just landed on the moon.