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Digger Man Blog

by Nick Drew  |  Wed 03 Jul 2013

Classic kit rolls back the years at Demo Expo

A fine display of vintage machinery was assembled at Demo Expo, for young and old visitors to take a look back to a time when it was just throttle cables and levers, and on-board computers were just a pipe dream!

Classic kit rolls back the years at Demo Expo
As a digger man, I instantly made a bee-line for this Japanese classic, the Hitachi UHO63 hydraulic excavator. This machine, which probably dates from the early 1980ís, has been lovingly restored to its former glory, and I doubt that a finer specimen exists anywhere in the world! This machine still bears its Beazer Plant Sales inside the cab; Beazer, of course, being the main Hitachi dealers back in the day. The UH063 and other models in the UHO range were excellent machines to operate, and really helped to establish the brand as a leader in the UK market in those days. I was fortunate enough to spend time on earlier models, such as the UHO2, UHO4, UHO7 and latterly the UHO53, and loved every minute I spent on them. Indeed, many of those models I operated, had been refurbished by Beazer Plant Sales at the main UK depot in Bridgwater, which later went on to become the headquarters for the current dealer, HM Plant, before their more recent move to Hebburn, in the North East of England. SE. Davis & Sons, brought two machines along to the party, in the shape of a Caterpillar 977H traxcavator, and the big daddy of crawler loaders, the huge Caterpillar 983, which made such a big impact with visitors to the recent Plantworx show. Pre show rumour had intimated about the possibility of some seat time on these old classics, but sadly I never witnessed the opportunity to get on board on this occasion. Nevertheless, it was great to see these two classic Cats together in the iron! One item that was working, was the Ruston Bucyrus 22RB, rigged out with a demolition ball. Visitors could see how things were done back in the old days, long before the high reach machine became king of the demolition industry. This was one machine I was not too keen to jump in though, being vertically challenged, so I respectfully declined an invitation to take to the seat! Not sure I would fancy spending a 10 or 12 hour shift at the controls of the old 22RB, the old boys certainly earned their money back in those days! Amongst the fine display of commercial vehicles on display was the immaculate Scammell Routeman, which is owned and was fully restored by Reading based demolition business J Mould. Featuring the distinctive fibre-glass cab that was designed by the Italian designer Michelotti, these trucks were a common sight on the roads and building sites when I was a young teenager, back in the early to mid 1970ís. The vintage displays proved to be a popular section at the inaugural Demo Expo event, and it has inspired me to get along to one of the many working vintage plant events that take place around the UK, from time to time.  

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