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Feature Article

Cutting a New Path

When Matt Lusty was handed the keys to his new Freightliner Coronado 114 logger, complete with a Patchell body and 5-axle trailer, he also took control of his own destiny.

Northland born and bred, he’d worked in the forestry industry for the past 23 years. The past four often found him in a 40-tonne tree-felling machine, tethered to a bulldozer by two 22mm cables, 400 metres down a bank. It’s not work for the faint-hearted and, while that wasn’t Matt’s motivation to buy his new steed, life is certainly a little less precarious.

“I grew up driving farm machinery and started in the bush when I was 17, but I always wanted to do something for myself,” said Matt from behind the wood and leather-bound steering wheel of his new office. “I’d looked at a couple of trucks and was pretty keen on a European one, but that fell through. Then, on the day I was going in to sign up for different Keith Andrews truck, this one came up.

“I contract to Aztec Forestry Transport Developments and they heard about the truck and said I should have a look at it. I’m glad I did, I’m really happy with the way things turned out.”

With a Detroit DD15 engine, generating 560hp and 2,508Nm, coupled to an 18-speed Roadranger, the Coronado 114 has plenty of grunt for pulling out of steep skid sites and hauling a max 32,260kg payload from Northland forests to North Port.

“I’m pretty pleased with how it goes,” he says. “It keeps up with most other trucks on the hills.”

“It did take me a bit to get back to driving a Roadranger,” says Matt. “It’s just a matter of getting the hang of it again.” With 47,000km on the clock in five months, on tight, hilly, and often broken Northland roads, he’s giving it a good nudge.

Even with the variable terrain, the new Coronado 114 is currently achieving 59.4L/100km, which Matt expects will improve as the DD15 loosens up.

“I normally get two to three loads into the port each day and I’ll pick up a weekend load every now and again. Everybody seems to think I got it for a pretty good deal and my accountant is pretty happy with how the numbers are stacking up.

“A few months back, I ran out of hours and a mate of mine, who’s been driving trucks for about 20 years, jumped in and drove it out for me. He really liked it, especially the layout for radios and scales. There’s not a heap of room in these day cabs, but the seat’s pretty comfortable and the visibility’s good.

“I also get a lot of comments about how good it looks, so I couldn’t be much happier really. The guys at Keith Andrews and at Daimler Financial Services were great to deal with, so now it’s just a matter of paying it off and seeing where we go next.”