29 April 2024


Whilst many trucks these days have notably high specifications, just a few are genuinely iconic – and one of these is Ray Bartram’s brand new DAF XG530. For HARSH, this truck was the perfect opportunity to really finish it off with the best possible tipping kit installation.

Based just off the A10 at Southery near Downham Market in Norfolk, ‘Purple Haze’ is destined for a high mileage general haulage life pulling either tipping trailers or fridges. Ray wanted a truck that not only looked superb but was also carefully specified to deliver optimum performance in both these applications.

“Choosing HARSH for the hydraulics was easy” says Ray, “their wet kits are fully proven for reliability, low weight and speed of operation, with their Peterborough branch also offering outstanding service across our area. 

But this time I wanted HARSH to go further by providing a bespoke catwalk and chassis infill solution as well. This would be the final finishing touch to the whole truck.”

As Ray wanted, so Ray received, with a full width / full length ‘top cover’ chequerplate floor that gives driver Dave Broker easy and safe walkaround access to all areas behind the XG’s cab. This solution is also a perfect visual match for the truck’s smooth painted side skirts running between the front steer and drive axles (thereby effectively hiding the mid axle with its smaller 17.5” wheels). Whilst the truck may look like a long wheelbase 4×2, it is nonetheless a 6×2 capable of maximum weight 44t operation.

When working as a tipper, coupling the oil pipe to the trailer is simplicity itself – one coupling comes out of a fixed position through the chequerplate floor with the other going to the base of the trailer’s tipping cylinder. Nothing else! Meanwhile, easy access to the truck’s fuel and hydraulic oil tanks are made through lockable flaps in the floor. “We just wanted everything to be as simple and safe as possible” says Ray, “and for that HARSH has done an outstanding job. Their work complements the rest of the truck perfectly.”

‘Purple Haze’ also has some other surprises as well. Besides the awesome cab colour (chosen by Ray’s daughter), the tractor unit’s huge specification also includes full air suspension with a raise / lower device, 55 Series low profile steer axle tyres and Alcoa Dura-Bright aluminium wheels. Ray comments that “Whilst the full air suspension gives a far superior ride quality, the system’s raise / lower system optimises the truck for fuel economy on motorways (using the lower position) yet also provides good ground clearance when working off farms (using the raised position). Operationally therefore, it’s a real ‘win – win’.”

The exterior of the XG cab also features DAF’s digital mirror system, along with LED headlights and cornering lights, sun visor and twin air horns, whilst inside there’s a full leather interior with air suspension seats, electric roof hatch, top spec DAF audio system, built in microwave cooker, wireless charger and an extra comfort mattress.

Out on the road, the desired results are already showing. With fuel monitoring being done by local DAF dealer Chassis Cab of Cambridge, the three – week old truck is already returning 9.2mpg, with a 10mpg target seemingly within easy reach once the big XG has bedded down after a few thousand kms on the road.

Currently the fifth vehicle in the fleet, Ray has had a good few DAF tractors in the past, starting off with a 3300 before moving through the later models such as the 95 and XF105. “The trucks of today far outclass anything that’s gone before” he says, adding “who would have ever imagined that you could have a 530hp, 44t truck delivering up to 10mpg on general haulage work?

Right now, it doesn’t really get better than this.“