In 1987, owner-driver Jim O’Doherty bought his first ever truck – a Volvo FL10 fitted with a Thompsons body. 

Now, 35 years later, another 18 Thompsons-bodied Volvos have just joined his business, J.O’D Group. 

A dozen of the trucks will join the company’s core haulage business working out of Edmonton in North London.

The remaining six, therefore, will run with subsidiary company Widdington Recycling Ltd based in Essex.

The new additions might appear similar to their predecessors, but a closer look at the Thompsons body highlights the advances.

For example, the original Loadmasters included double–skinned steel side panels and front cornerposts. 

However, these features are now largely unnecessary in Thompsons’ latest product updates. 

Meanwhile, advanced materials technology makes the steel used in today’s Loadmasters harder and stronger. 

As a result, body specifications can be improved and unladen weight reduced.

For J.O’D, all these benefits have come together in their own examples of the top-selling Loadmaster Lite.

Thompsons joint managing director, Scott Burton, said the steels really make a difference. 

“Only for exceptionally arduous work is the double skinned Loadmaster now really necessary,” he explained. 

“J.O’D’s tipper bodies are a perfect spec to handle the whole range of everyday tipper work. 

“Not having the full length, inner side panels saves at least 250kg.” 

Continuing, Burton said there was a further reduction of around 120kg by omitting front corner posts.

All 18 of J.O’D’s Loadmaster Lite bodies are of identical specification.

Therefore, they all boast the Thompsons AutoLoc tailgate and heavy-duty cabshield.

Not only that, but there’s electric sheeting, PM Onboard 4-point weighing and Edbro front end tipping gear. 

Of particular interest, a bespoke ‘nice and tidy’ closing plate to the rear end of the chassis. 

It has been fitted with strobe warning lights, twin rear facing work lights and a reversing camera.