Love at first sight is not small between Roland van den Bogaart and the BN-LG-36. Nevertheless, 47-year-old Astenaar drove his Mercedes-Benz Axor for 2,105,364 kilometers.
The two first met when a Roland DAF 95 Space Cab succumbed to a faulty drive shaft and ended up in the garage for repair. The tractor had 1.6 million hours in that time, not bad mileage either. “It was a very good car”, recalled Roland. Space, the car has a lot of space. “And he drives really well,” he said thoughtfully. He could still miss the car, so to speak.
While DAF was in the garage, Roland had to drive a different truck for a while. “Get the Axor tomorrow,” the planner Beks told Roland at the time. The car was diverted to a transportation company from Leede after the job in front of him disappeared. Beks had bought it new in 2003 to travel between the Netherlands and Switzerland, but that stopped after six months. Since then he has been used for all sorts of things, most notably in the substitute role. Nobody in Beks wants to drive it. At that time, the Axor only covered 365,000 kilometers.
Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months. His DAF 95 disappeared from the scene and there was no sight of another truck. And when his boss did offer another tractor, Roland didn’t want to part with his Axor again. That’s how he was put together. “Once I have something, I keep it,” he said. It took at least a year for Roland to embrace Axor, but it happened. The biggest difference between his DAF and his current car? “I switched from a spacious cab to a Vito cab,” he said. It even became a true love, partly due to German reliability and increasing mileage. Now the DAF man in the Mercedes shirt and with the Mercedes hat on his head behind the wheel is completely happy in the comfortable cabin.
Roland’s choice of the new Actros, which just shipped, proves that the love for Mercedes and especially love for the cramped cabin is genuine. This is his first new truck in his more than twenty year career. At his explicit request, it was a cabin with a narrow cabin. It did have a fridge on board. Roland didn’t need to bring a bottle of frozen water from home in a warm summer, though he would probably miss it very much.
The impending farewell to Axor was a must, Roland said. These are Euro 3 cars and due to increasingly stringent environmental requirements they are being given less and less space on Dutch roads. Therefore, his boss wanted to get rid of him. Goodbye would be painful, he already knew, because there was nothing wrong with the eighteen-year-old car itself. Everything still works. “Thanks to the dedication of our mechanic Jacky, it should be mentioned”, says Roland. He also hopes that the car will be sold soon. “I can’t bear to see him rotting in the corner of the site.”
Text: Jasker Kamp