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Feature Article

Fuso Fighter FN2428 - Neville Brothers

Low tare weight, fuel economy and dependability put Fuso Fighters at the top of the list for Neville Brothers – with driver Dave Cassidy calling them "unstoppable" off-road.

Kelvin Neville, Neville Bros managing director:

Yeah, Dad and his brother started up in October 1926. Their first job was shovelling metal off Arkles Bay beach onto the back of the truck, and I used to work before school and drive at the weekends. But then Dad took crook, I came over to the business about 55 years ago.

We mainly just do livestock and bulk haulage and metal.

Dave Cassidy, Neville Bros driver:

My name’s Dave Cassidy and I work for Neville Brothers in Silverdale. Yeah, I’ve been working in the industry since I was about 18. Done pretty much everything, tried everything. Was an owner-driver with Mainfreight for 11 years doing general freight and now I’ve been with Neville Brothers for four years.

This unit carts metal all day from the quarry. It’s specced with a larger sized bin so I can cart sawdust, firewood, mulch and bulk products, but pretty much its primary job is to just cart metal out of the quarry.

The reason that Kelvin specs the Fuso Fighters is the fact that they have such an amazing tare weight. There’s very few trucks out there that we can get a 12-12.5 tonne payload on a six-wheeler still running us at a 21-tonne sticker.

There’s a lot of trucks out there that can run a 12-12.5t payload, but they’re running a 23-24-tonne sticker. The other reason that Kelvin specs the Fusos is because of the fuel economy. We’ll do 500, about 520km to a tank of diesel.   

Kelvin Neville, Neville Bros managing director:

They’re 280 horse power, and they seem to go everywhere – and narrower than the 430s or 470s were, and you find them a lot easier now with the cross-section selling. 

You’ve got a 2.6m gap to go down beside a house; well the amount of people that ask you, “can you send one of the Fighters to do the job?” We’ve had a good run out of them, and they’re light and you can put a 12-tonne payload on them.

Dave Cassidy, Neville Bros driver:

I mainly run local work, but we will travel anywhere from the Bombays right up to Whangarei. I find that 280hp is more than adequate for what we do.

They’re turbocharged and intercooled, but it will haul all day. The Eaton transmission is well matched to the truck, it’s probably no different from driving the family car, but just four more gears.

I can’t fault the turning circle on it, it’s pretty sharp to be honest. We do a lot of home deliveries, a lot of really difficult sites. Anything you can’t put a big truck in, we get sent for it.

There’s a lot of places that I can put this truck that you just daren’t take another truck in there because they’d sink like a rock. We do a lot of rural work on farms and, off-road, they’re unstoppable. You know, there’s places I’ve put this Fighter that I would have been scared putting my Hilux.

You put the diff-lock in this on and just take your time, and it will climb in and out of anywhere.       

Kelvin Neville, Neville Bros managing director:

1973 we put our first Fuso on the road. RFL got one to try, and Winstones got one to try when they first bought them out in 72’. Been dealing with Brian Gill, then he got the dealership with Fuso, so we stayed with Brian.

Once we bought our first Fuso, at one stage I think we just had all Fusos.

 Dave Cassidy, Neville Bros driver:

I think there’s currently about 35 trucks. Kelvin keeps all of the trucks mobile. There’s a very rare occurrence that one’s off the road, unless it’s major work or renovation.

The steering seems to smooth out all the bumps, it’s not like some of the older ones that we’ve had – you’re literally hanging on for dear life. When it’s loaded, it rides really nice.

It’s got a pretty high-spec Isringhausen seat in it, which smooths out the bumps – before you tended to get trampolined off your seat. I spend sort of – it can vary – 10 to 12 hours in this driving around Auckland and I can just step out of the truck at the end of the day, and just go home and still have enough energy to do an hour’s gardening or mow the lawns.

Days gone by, you sort of literally hopped out of your truck and you were a broken man at the end of the day. But I must admit this seat that they spec in these Fighters just makes a huge difference.

I like the Fusos for the styling, to be honest. I like looking at the truck, it’s aesthetically pleasing to look at. It’s reliable, it runs 21 tonne every day, they just don’t let you down. They start every day, they run every day. Apart from oil changes and greases, they just keep going.    

 Kelvin Neville, Neville Bros managing director:

You get something that you like and your mechanics know all the ins and outs of it, then why change?