I passed my medical first time, and sent off for my provisional licence. Received that back, all good.
Checked with the Instruction School, personally I chose to use Dave Robbins Transport Academy (https://www.transportacademy.co.uk/) because one of the senior driving instructors at work who I trust recommended him. He was really helpful and the price is £1,231 inc vat for a four-day intensive course beginning on a Monday with test on the Friday. First available training course would be about six weeks away.
Prior to lessons I had to undertake the Hazard Perception test and the Theory test. Because I had gained my car licence prior to 1st Jan 1997. Although that gave the right to drive C1 (up to 7500kg) I hadn’t taken the two non-practical tests.
Then there was a breakthrough. A big one. A five metre one to be more precise. One of the box manufacturers contacted me after I spoke with them and offered me a cancelled order. A part-built box that was designed to fit a MAN truck and could be easily put on an HX60. Because it was part built, I could jump the queue and make a saving. Now my ears were pricking up! That word is music to my professional procurement ears.
The manufacturer www.motorcraftconversions.com is at the time of writing the premier box builder in the UK, and on par with some of the German builders. I had already looked and an empty box including fitting to the chassis was €30k, but without a door or windows.
The deal suggested was fitted to my chassis, improved capture springs over the existing (or torsion free at extra cost), hab door and five windows built and ready for me to do the interior. I promised not to reveal the price at this stage, but suffice to say it was a bit more than my original budget, and a lot less than the German price. The spec was also higher (and the experience greater) than that of the builder Paul had used that I was considering using.
I made arrangements to visit Ian and drove to sunny Donny (Doncaster) to look at the box and discuss a deal.
The box amazingly was being built to fit a MAN HX. It specifically had the shape I was thinking of doing to make use of the spare wheel holder area (moving the spare to the rear).
The box is 5m on the short side, 6m on the long, 2.5m wide and 2.4m high. Motorcraft fabricate using a unique floor system that I’m not allowed to show but it finishes in a very clean underside with proper routing for cables and pipes.
Construction is using 3mm GRP bonded to 10mm marine ply exterior, plus 60mm insulation and 1.5mm grp interior which is all bonded in a single sandwich panel. Floor is 100mm and roof is 80mm.
The box is constructed in layers, and a steel reinforcing cage fitted inside (no cold bridge points) for box strength.
I talked to Ian about a reinforced ceiling and some other ideas for the roof which matched with some of his thinking and a dropped door well to aid entry and all could be achieved.
The other trucks in the workshops were huge, dwarfing my Rosie, even though she is a big girl to me. Some of the engineering Ian was doing was amazing, with fantastic level of invisible chassis lengthening and builds. Nothing is out of the question and I felt that my particular build would be a bit boring for them.