A three-month long competition to find New Zealand’s Toughest Hino has found its champion – Ross MacMillan’s Palmerston North-based 2007 700 series 5 axle.
In his entry MacMillan said that while his truck only has 180,000 kms on the clock, it has already marked up nearly 15,000 engine hours. Despite the stress of its large rear-mounted Palfinger, it still passes a clean COF every time.
“She’s able to pull 16 tonnes, or 2 tonnes at 20m, and regularly gets put through her paces strength-wise,” says MacMillan, whose truck is owned by Lift Haulage. “It’s a great truck that suits its purpose very well, and it’s good-looking too.”
The entries were judged by Hino General Manager Michael Doeg and Randolph Covich, an industry expert. Doeg says that there were three key criteria their winning truck had to fulfil – it had to be a daily worker, a truck that had been proudly cared for, and had to tell a story.
“We wanted something that has been a tough daily performer,” says Doeg. “Long service did influence our thinking – our second place winner has been in action since the 1980s – but it wasn’t the only thing. We also wanted a truck that was well maintained, as that is critical to keep a unit performing well.”
“Finally, we wanted to be able to tell this truck’s story – the details that tell you what ‘tough’ looks like on a daily basis. Ross’ vehicle delivered all of this in spades.”
Interest in the competition was very high, with entries received from all over New Zealand. “We’ve had such passionate engagement from the community – there were trucks sent in from Whanganui to Fairlie. It was great to see tough Hinos really are being used everywhere, for everything.”
As a part of his win, Ross has earned himself and his father-in-law, Shane, an all expenses paid trip worth $3,000 to attend the NZ Road Transport Hall of Fame Dinner. The event, is held at Bill Richardson’s Transport World in Invercargill, one of the best private automotive museums of its type in the world.
“I’ve always wanted to visit Transport World so I’m really excited. When the competition came up I said to the wife ‘Should I be cheeky here and give it a go?’ and I’m so glad I did, it’s paying off. It’s my favourite truck and I will definitely be in it for a few more years.”
Image: Rob V Collection.