Bishop’s Move celebrates 165 years with specially liveried DAF

Family-owned removals and storage business Bishop’s Move has added a DAF CF 290 FA 4×2 box van to its fleet with a retro livery, modelled on the company’s fleet in the 1930s to celebrate 165 years in business.

The 18-tonne truck was part of an order for 17 DAFs supplied on lease through Channel Commercials in Ashford, Kent. They join a Bishop’s Move fleet that numbers some 150 vans and trucks, operating either directly with the parent company or through its franchised operations. The arrival of the new DAFs pushes the marque’s dominance among vehicles above 3.5-tonne to some 90%.

Neil Bishop, current chairman and a sixth-generation founding-family member, said: “We have been shifting across to DAF for the past four or five years, as aftersales care levels dropped badly with our former preferred choice. This has been no hardship though, as the DAFs have proved a much better package. They are better value for money – including running costs as the Euro-6 engines bed in – and, compared to the old brand, we find far less goes wrong with the DAFs. Plus, our drivers love them and the dealer service network is well-distributed across the UK and always available should we need support.”

The CF 290 FA, which has a 6.9m wheelbase, comes with a ZF manual gearbox, rear air suspension and a cab with twin-sleeper Hi Roof cab conversion built by SBR Specialist Coachbuilders. The cab itself has been specified with seating for a four-man crew when needed, with the arrangement also allowing a third crew member to sleep in the main cab area if required. Drivers and crew are especially important to Bishop’s Move, even more so than in traditional road haulage. Alongside detailed customer discussions, they also have to be experts in wrapping, boxing and getting heavy, often awkward loads out of properties and onto the trucks – and then off again and back into the ‘new’ property.

Along with the cab conversion, SBR built the special removal body for Bishop’s Move, which features fixed side doors on both near and off-sides of the truck as well as full side-skirts. Following a detailed brief by Neil Bishop, the bodybuilder produced the final design for the retro-livery as well, before applying it to the completed truck.

The average first-life term for a Bishop’s Move truck is about 10 years. The nature of the business is such that a truck might do no more than three or four miles a day for half the week, and over 300 for the rest. The net result is that, even after 10 years, the trucks will have relatively low mileage, and as Neil Bishop notes: “There are always buyers for good quality used removals vehicles. It’s an industry that spawns any number of one-and-two-man operations, and because everyone knows we really look after the trucks, we can move them on comfortably and confidently.”

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Dan Parton
Dan Parton
Dan Parton is a former editor of Truck & Driver, the UK’s biggest selling truck magazine. He is now writes for The Van Expert and The Truck Expert.

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