The worst truck I've ever driven

By: Scotty Douglas

Full-time driver and some-time contributor Scotty Douglas reflects on the worst big jigger that he’s ever driven

The worst truck I've ever driven
Scotty Douglas remembers his worst experiences.


Okay, so this is probably more of a company driver thing than and owner-driver thing. If you own the truck you most likely drove it or one like it before you forked out some cold hard cash for some working wheels. And if you bought a piece of junk well, buyer beware.

But as an employee driver you can periodically find yourself having to drive another truck against your will due to a break down or just because you pissed off the boss.

I’ve had this happen on quite a few occasions and when I look back there were a couple of memorable experiences. You see I’m quite truck proud, so while the outside may get a bit dirty during a week away I figure that the bit where you drive and sleep should be spotless.

I’m not obsessive in a Howard Hughes kinda way but I do like to work and snooze in a clean and hygienic environment.

Some of the experiences I’ve had over the years range from a rather suspicious looking old towel floating around in the sleeper to a complete and utter gross-out moment that had me choking back my burger.

I’d just arrived back in the depot in the wee hours after an interstate produce run at the wheel of a Mack that was usually driven by another fella. Being the considerate type I though I’d do the right thing and give the cab a wipe out after removing my bedding, fridge and other gear.

Trouble was that there was no rag or cleaning spray under the seat. So in the darkness I rummaged around in the locker box for a rag then, bingo! My hand alighted on some dark fabric.

I mentally cried Eureka and held the rag aloft triumphantly. I must’ve looked like a gold medalist on top of the podium! It was then that I realised that I was actually clutching an old pair of men’s undies that were coated liberally in fossilised poo.

Yelling in horror I turfed them into the bush and jiggled on the spot waggling my hands in the air squawking "yukyukyukyuk" for a couple of minutes before calming down.

It seems old mate must’ve had a little gastric accident up the road and forgotten to dispose of the evidence. I reckon I was in the shower for about an hour when I got home.

But, the award for the worst truck I’ve ever driven has go to an ancient half-clagged Detroit-powered Sterling that I was thrown into after the C16 in my regular ride spat a turbo.

The stale French fries littering the footwell could not prepare me for the horror within. It smelt as if a Mastiff had whelped a litter of pups in the sleeper and no manner of armour-alling and air freshening could remove the obnoxious fug.

Five pine tree air fresheners later, with the windows down and the promise of a motel room in Sydney, I rolled out of the depot. Ye Gods what a sh*t heap!

The gear stick chattered and rattled as I drove accompanied by the hiss of a slow air leak from the splitter. There was barely any clutch and the clutch brake was non-existent. Bits of plastic rattled in every corner of the cab and the mattress in the bunk looked like a crime scene after the body has been removed.

Underneath the clattering bonnet the 13-litre Series 60 powerplant sounded as if it was going to grenade at any given moment and it wouldn’t pull a sailor out of a bar.

Just to clarify, it did stop and steer okay but that’s about all it did.

The hole in the dash where the stereo used to be gaped like the maw of a gap-toothed croc. Trying to use the mirrors made me cross-eyed as they vibrated and flopped on their brackets.

Using the jake brake brought out a half-arsed groan from the well-flogged donk and that’s about it. There was little if any braking effect to be had.  

The single stack chuffed like an old steam train yet it was nothing compared to the fumes emitting from the breather pipe underneath. I stopped for a wee at a rest area off the Hume Highway and was horrified by the chemical cloud that erupted from under the truck at idle.

Yet the old banger continued to rattle, clang and roar it’s way up the road with a single trailer (thank god).

I got there in the end after enduring one of the worst night’s I’ve ever had behind the wheel. So much so I refused to take it back on the next leg.

Once the boss had actually sat in it he finally relented which saved me an airfare at least!  

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