1988 Volvo F16 Globetrotter


Trucking hitches a ride in a classic Volvo F16 – and it makes all the right noises


By David Humphries
PHOTOGRAPHY David Humphries

When Trucking received the invitation to come and have a ride in Collins Earthworks’ 1988 Volvo F16 Globetrotter 470 6×4, it was an offer eagerly accepted. The classic Volvo is a hard-working truck, hauling the company’s extensive range of plant and machinery to customers all around the UK. It was also a prudent move as the F16 was soon to go into semi-retirement, to be replaced by a Volvo FH16 700 XXL.

We joined the F16’s regular driver and man in line to drive the new XXL 700, Andy ‘Johno’ Johnson, for a very welcome early morning cuppa, accompanied by lots of pre-work ribbing and banter from the other Collins drivers and fitters. Then it was off to work for the day – collecting two Volvo A30F articulated dumper trucks from Volvo Construction Equipment in Immingham, which were to be replacement vehicles for two other time-expired dumpers in the Collins plant fleet.

But first we had to deliver a Volvo EC210CL crawler excavator to a site near to J28 of the M1 – literally just a few minutes’ drive away from the Collins HQ, built on the former Bentinck coal mine in Nottinghamshire.


Turbo call
Finishing our tea, we headed towards the pre-loaded King low-loader trailer and its classic traction, only to hear the distinctive whistle of the turbo through the F16’s twin Eminox stacks. Johno’s knowledge of the truck’s workings is extensive, as he began his working life as a mechanic. “I always fire the engine up and let it run for a good few minutes to get the engine oil nice and warm before it’s subjected to any load.”

With vehicle and load checks done, Johno completed his tacho chart, packed away his large flask filled with tea, then somewhat disconcertingly stuffed his ears with motorcycle-type ear plugs. “The F16 isn’t particularly noisy, but it can get a bit obtrusive over the course of a day’s drive, so this procedure does help.”

Up at junction 28, under a breaking dawn, the crawler was swiftly driven sideways off the trailer and after a quick brush-down of the low-loader, we were on the motorway for the first of our two trips to the East Coast.

“The low dash gives a great forward view, and there are plenty of cubby holes for pens, etc,” says Johno of his F16. “The view through the side windows is just as good too, aided by the slim A-pillars and mirror arms.

“Another thing I like are the substantial internal door grips, which are great to hold onto when I’m on exposed and very windy sites. On other makes of truck, the wind has literally torn the door from my grasp as soon as I opened it, often damaging the hinges. The switches are all chunky and positive in action, and the seats – though not the originals – are very comfortable.”

june coverRead the rest of this feature in the June issue of Trucking