K Mackin’s ‘Warrior’ steals the show!
K Mackin Transport’s lovingly refurbished R Series 620 Longline Scania dubbed ‘The Warrior’ proved to be the star attraction at this year’s Full of the Pipe Truckshow. We touched base with the Mackin family to explore the story behind this unique and spectacular truck.
K Mackin Transport has come a long way since managing director Kevin Mackin started out with one artic in Banbridge, County Down back in 2000. Today, the industry-leading family business – which Kevin runs alongside his wife, Carol - is renowned as the complete transport company, with a stunning modern fleet covering the roads of Ireland, the UK and Europe on a daily basis.
As well as delivering the goods on the road itself, K Mackin Transport’s trucks also turn heads at truck shows all over Ireland. For example, their newest flagship show truck, The Warrior, enjoyed a busy and prize-laden month in July, taking home the ‘Best Truck From Northern Ireland’ Award from the Full of the Pipe comeback show in Punchestown at the start of the month before making an equally major impression at Assen Truckshow on July 30th and 31st.
‘The Warrior’ was painstakingly upgraded to its current glorious state over a number of years, with virtually all of the work carried out in the Netherlands. “There’s serious interest in the Longline and we Kevin has been invited to bring it to shows all over Europe,” confirms Dessie Mackin, Kevin’s brother and the man who found the lorry on behalf of K Mackin Transport.
“It’s a 2008 model and only three of them exist. An Irish lad in England had them specially produced by Scania – one 620 and two 580s. It was sold on and was doing container work when we discovered it and Kevin decided to buy it and refurbish it. Today, one of the 580s is in London, the other is in Ashbourne and we have the 620.”
The lorries were originally 4x2s but Kevin felt that with such a big body, the 620 didn’t look great in that format, so he had it stretched and converted into a 6x2 tag axle. That was just the beginning of a long process that would see the Longline Scania completely transformed over the next three years and more…
First port of call was Seamus Coyle, who sprayed the chassis, then it was on to the well-known Van Winkoop body repair shop in the Netherlands (specialists in repairing truck damage and truck spraying), where the truck spent six months. The old lights and aerials had been removed so the lorry was stripped down, all the holes were filled, and the body was sanded and painted white in preparation for the next step in the overhaul.
“Kevin then went to Stefan Van Kessel at Van Kessel Truckstyling in Holland, who designs stacks,” Dessie continues. “The idea Kevin had was for American-style stacks over the wheels and Van Kessel did all the metal work and pipe work for him and that took between nine and twelve months.
“Next he went to MW Designs, the famous truck designer and paintwork specialist in Holland, who are well known for designing all the major award winning trucks in Europe. The lorry was there for six months getting painted and rubbed down. Needless to say, he was delighted with the results.”
It was now time to get the interior transformed... “So he went to M&M Truck Design, again in Holland, who specialise in cabin trim and design. They did the upholstery and then she went back to Van Kessel for some finishing touches on the lights, etc.”
Dedicated to the late Gerard Taggart – known as ‘Goose’ – the stunning Longline was unveiled in June and made an instant impact at Full of the Pipe the following month. It is one of no fewer than 16 units in the spectacular and ever-growing K Mackin Transport vintage truck collection, the latest addition being a ‘nearly new’ 2000-reg 144 530 which had less than 100 km on the clock when acquired!
“That one had been stored for over 20 years and was a great find.” Dessie enthuses. “It’s a one-off and is unique. Kevin bought it as is and put the company name on it and brought it home. The date – December 4th, 2000 – and all the stickers are still on it.as she came out of the Scania factory. Scania in Holland also invited Kevin to bring that one over to their stand at Assen [Truckstar Festival 2022]. It was a real honour for him to be asked to bring the two new show lorries over. The last time was in 2013 with the Centurion. To be asked for the second time is amazing.”
The K Mackin Transport vintage fleet was already one of the best in Europe even before the new Scania Longline and 144 made their first public appearances in the summer of 2022. Let’s not forget that – as one of Northern Ireland’s premier haulage operators – the Banbridge-headquartered family business also operates 23 working trucks, collecting and delivering full or part loads and containers all over Ireland, the UK and continental Europe.
Experts in specialised or abnormal loads, their fresh and immaculately-maintained fleet is manned by experienced drivers and satellite-tracked 24/7. Even a cursory glance at one of their show trucks should be enough to confirm that the Mackins are true truckers at heart!
“Kevin had to build a new shed to accommodate the vintage trucks a few years back and then, not so long ago, he had to build another one!” Dessie concludes. “He was the one who designed the Longline – he came up with the idea of ‘The Warrior’ and the Indian theme and Carol had her input in the interior.
“We were delighted to dedicate the truck to ‘Goose’, as he was a great friend of Kevin’s and also our cousin. He used to come to the truck shows with us and spend a lot of time cleaning our vintage trucks. He had a great interest in them and he actually came up with some of the ideas for the Longline. He also came up with great ideas with the lights on Carol’s T Cab when she was launched back a few years ago.”
As anybody who has had the pleasure of laying eyes on her will testify, ‘The Warrior’ truly is a fantastic-looking lorry which embodies Kevin Mackin’s great love of all things trucking!
K Mackin Transport Ltd.,
7 Killaney Lane,
Tel: 028 4067 1755
Mobile: 077 1495 1416
Email: [email protected]
First published in Irish Trucker magazine Vol 25 No 5, October 2022