Cover story: 1994 six-wheeler Mitsubishi Shogun

By: Lyndsay Whittle, Photography by: Lyndsay Whittle

Stephen Pengelly’s 1994 six-wheeler Mitsubishi Shogun clocks over one million kilometres

If you’re looking for any proof of the age-old adage ‘many a good tune played on an old fiddle’, then you need to look no further because we’ve just found it in the Hard Out Haulage fleet—Stephen Pengelly’s 1994 six-wheeler Mitsubishi Shogun.

This pair has been best buddies for 18 years

Digging a little deeper, DOW uncovered a number of other ‘old fiddles’ in Steve’s inventory, not the least of which is his 1998 Ford Louisville. Also worthy of mention are four
Canadian-built Pacific trucks that are at various stages of completion and compliance.
Steve says his love of the Pacific brand was born out of numerous trips he made around the central North Island in his younger days as a passenger in one alongside one of his mentors, Nigel Livermore of Livermore Trucking fame; more about that later.

True to his nickname, which is also the name of his company, Steve was hard-out with work, so he wasn’t easy to pin down long enough to get the goss on his trusty Shogun, however, he did stay in one place long enough for us to grab some pics of the Mitsi, his Takeuchi TB145 digger, and, of course, the man himself, all on a job at Narrow Neck on Auckland’s North Shore.

While taking what seemed like forever to travel along gridlocked Lake Road to meet up with Steve mid-morning on a weekday, it was obvious that one of the questions to ask him would be about turnaround times on a job in an area that only has one road in and out.

Naturally, it depended on the day of the week and the time of the day, however, Steve says he needed to allow between 2.5 and 3.5 hours for a round trip, leaving the person who asked the question wondering how on earth a contractor can plan a day’s work with variances such as that.

The job at hand on the day of our visit was to clear an old site (next to the golf course) of a pile of wood with tree trimmings, which were mixed in with a lot of topsoil, and load them into the trusty Shogun.

But typical of many of the jobs Hard Out is contracted to do, this wasn’t just a simple load-and-go situation.

The smart observer will notice Steve’s use of a rock bucket on the digger, performing a task that could be done more quickly by using a weed bucket, however, there was method in this apparent madness.

The customer had requested that as much topsoil as possible is left on site. Furthermore, the wood and trimmings were going off to a mulching firm that required the load to be clean in order for the load not to clog the mulcher, hence the use of the toothed bucket.


At work on the Devonport site

While the Shogun looked completely at home in its working environment, Steve says he’s had it booked in at his favourite panelbeater for a bit of a spruce-up for a number of weeks now; in fact, he still has the ‘before’ photos he took as a reminder of how it used to look. However, every time he goes to take it to the painters, the work keeps rolling in, so back on the backburner it goes once more until the work dies down. That being the case, it may never get its spruce-up.

While Steve admits that he’d much rather have had us do the story and take the photos of the newly-painted old-timer (the truck, not Steve), he conceded that if we waited for the work to die down long enough to get the truck into the paint shop for up to two weeks, we might be waiting a while.

Still wearing its original registration plates TC1892, the Shogun started its life as a tractor unit hauling general freight, however, Steve says he purchased it in its current configuration with 560,000km on the clock.

The faithful old machine has just clocked up 1 million, 5000 kilometres and the engine has never been touched.

Clocking over the magical one millionth kilometre

While it’s fair to say that with a carrying capacity of 10-and-a-half tonnes, its 400hp twin-turbo engine hooked up to a 13-speed Roadranger, it probably hardly ever works up a sweat. However, it must be said that with more than a million kilometres under its belt without touching the motor is a pretty good recommendation in anybody’s book.

Steve says the Shogun is his favourite truck not only because of the allegiance he has to the machine, given its 18 years of faithful service, but also because of its manoeuvrability around some of Auckland’s tight sites, which, he says, are getting smaller and smaller as the years go by.

The truck was bought from an operator who’d converted it from a tractor unit into the configuration it’s in today; he did this without lengthening the chassis, giving the truck its exceptional manoeuvrability.

Cubic capacity hasn’t been impeded, as although the bin is only 4.3 metres long, the shorter length is compensated for by the added depth of the sides of the bin.

A tidy-up would demand a new paint, but Steve says the Mitsi would sport the current colours—the other two trucks are painted in shades of blue—but with the Hard Out Haulage signwriting on the doors.

1999 KW T401—18sp Roadranger

"People have come to identify with the truck over the past 18 years and it makes sense to stick with what already works best for the business," says Steve.

When Steve’s not hard-out at ‘Hard Out’, you’ll find him busy working on one of his other pride and joy, his Louisville or a Kenworth or perhaps one of his four Pacific rigs.

Harking back to his rationale for painting the Shogun in its original colour scheme, it was only natural for us to ask if there would ever be the chance of seeing any of his other fleet wearing the same livery.

Well, we might have expected an individualist’s answer from an individualist type of guy because the reply to the dopey question was no.

"Each truck has its function so it’s more than likely that they’ll end up with different colours to suit each vehicle."

With around 15 trucks in his stable, there’ll be plenty to talk about when we catch up with Steve again at his Helensville depot to get the inside running on his eclectic collection of trucks later in the year. Stay tuned.

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