Truck Stop Classic: Mid-Seventies Scania L85 Dry Bulk Truck – My Weekend And Holiday Grand Tourer

I did a double take when I came across this picture on a website for local historical affairs. This is one of the trucks my dad drove frequently, back in the seventies. It must have been brand new here, as it still has a temporary license plate. Not to mention the pristine exhaust pipe.

We see the Scania L85 dry bulk truck at its home base, the feed mill, receiving a load of chicken feed from above. Speaking of chicken, the picture (on both doors) with the hen and chick was hand painted, so was all the lettering.

These conventional Scanias featured a cozy interior, with a bench seat for the passenger(s). The truck had a five-speed transmission and was powered by Scania’s naturally aspirated 7.8 liter inline-six diesel engine, delivering 163 horses. The turbocharged version of this power unit was good for 205 hp.

Just like the truck itself, the silos at the farms were filled from above. An example of such a silo can be seen in the picture, it’s behind the main building. The long pipe, resting on top of the truck’s bulk tank, was raised -naturally it could also swing sideways- and then the front end was placed into position, right through the silo’s opened hatch.

For the unloading process, the sliding hatches at the bottom of the bulk tank were pulled out and a set of screw conveyors was put to work. After a while, a rubber mallet was used to batter on the tank’s side panels, just to be sure that all the feed slid down to the lower screw conveyor. It was also a sort of soundcheck to confirm that the compartment was empty. All in all, quite the noisy job. Wearing ear protection? Well of course not!

At that time, this type of dry bulk haulers for delivering animal feed was already on its way out. They were replaced by trucks and semi-trailers with a round bulk tank and a pneumatic conveying system, while a hose connects the pipeline to the silo at the farm.

Something like this state-of-the-art big rig.

Sitting in the passenger seat of a big diesel truck, exploring the world (in my mind at least), that was my favorite out of school activity in the seventies. By a very wide margin. What a pleasant surprise to see one of them again, about 45 years later!

In the meantime, a completely new and much bigger feed mill was opened around 1990. It’s still operational, yet not in the Netherlands. Dad’s employers (two grandsons of the founder) moved the whole company to Bulgaria in the late nineties, the mill included.

I can’t tell how old this picture from Bulgaria is, but that Scania 3-series tractor from the nineties and the semi-trailer look mighty familiar…