As James S Hislop celebrates 25 years in business, Trucking finds out more about its immaculate DAF fleet

By Dougie Rankine

Without doubt, James S Hislop runs one of the smartest fleets in the country. Its immaculately liveried, spotlessly clean trucks have won awards over the years with their instantly recognisable red-and-blue paintwork and gold lettering.

2013 sees the company celebrate 25 years in business, so Trucking paid the firm a visit at its Kelso HQ in the Scottish Borders. The company was formed by James Hislop in 1988, after driving for 20 years with A&R Gold of Greenlaw. The desire to run his own vehicle saw his purchase of a C-reg Volvo FL10 (one of the earliest examples of the model), and it was put to work on general haulage and bulk.


Next generation
James’s son Alan later joined the family business after serving an apprenticeship as mechanic with a Peugeot garage. He began driving a Leyland DAF 45 7.5-tonner, and when he turned 21, progressed onto artics. The second truck on the fleet was another Volvo, this time an F12 from Wishart’s of Kirkcaldy. While the FL10 was finished in the original James S Hislop livery of white with red and blue stripes, the F12 was in Wishart’s colours of red and blue.

James wanted to change it to white, but the painter said the red and blue would show through. The solution was to change the shade of blue, and so from there was born the distinctive livery which remains to this day – the blue and red with gold lettering and pinstriping is now a true classic! New trucks are supplied from the factory in red, with the blue being applied by local DAF dealer JE Douglas and Sons of Duns.

It could be said the fleet is unmissable, but our cover star this month – the Roxburgh Piper – was actually run into at Gretna Services by a lady when it was parked up and the driver was taking a shower! How she didn’t see a truck as striking as that is one of life’s mysteries.

Steady growth followed over the years. Although Volvo was the truck of choice to begin with, a disagreement in 1996 with a dealer over the specification of a new FH saw a move to DAF. James remembers it well. “The price of the Volvo kept going up and up – everything was an optional extra and it started to get expensive. DAF was able to supply a truck with everything included as standard.” The fleet has been 100 per cent DAF ever since.

July coverRead the rest of this feature in the July issue of Trucking. Buy the magazine here