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JCB is still a king at Castle Motors

Tue 08 Oct 2013

JCB is still a king at Castle Motors

During 1984/85, I was operating a brand new JCB 805BT for a small groundwork’s company from Southampton, which was owned by a top Irish fella called Joe Smyth. Joe loved his JCB’s and had recently bought two of these 12 ton class models and a 3CX black cab model, to work on a large David Wilson Homes project in Waterlooville in Hampshire. Although slow and clumsy by today’s standards, the JCB 805BT was a pretty modern piece of kit back then and interestingly was one of the earliest adopters of the four cylinder turbo-charged engine concept, as opposed to conventional six cylinders that most other manufacturers were using. The Perkins engine was also mounted on the right hand side of the machine, with a large opening bonnet allowing good access for early morning checks from ground level. The cab on the 805BT was massive and a comfortable place to spend a shift, I could easily stand up in the cab, having said that when you are my size it’s not a problem to stand up in any cab! But you get the idea! There was plenty of room for operators of all sizes. The floor in front of the operator was clutter free too, with the track control levers being mounted down by the sides of the operator’s seat, as was the fashion back then. The only downside with that set up was you couldn’t track and slew at the same time, unless you used your knee to operate the left hand slew lever, in some kind of contortionist style, which I used to do from time to time! Another great feature I used to like on these machines was the “Powerslide” boom arrangement. The name would suggest that this was a powered function, but in reality it worked like the Hydra-Clamp function on the JCB backhoe loaders. The boom was released by operating a lever in the cab, once released the boom could be positioned anywhere along a distance of 3ft, by using the dipper to pull or push it into position, to suit whatever conditions you were working in. I always found this to be a very useful addition, especially when working in close quarters to houses. I was always puzzled as to why other manufacturers didn’t make their own versions of the powerslide, with the only one I know of being a fully hydraulic system which was made by French manufacturer Poclain. This particular machine, which dates back to the early 1980’s, is owned by the men behind Castle Motors, a large car sales business in Cornwall, who used to run a plant hire firm previously. They still have a number of items of plant left from those days, including a restored rare Case 850 tracked loading shovel, which Director Dean Flood was keen to show me and has invited me to view again when it is completed. That machine is actually going to be put back into work on the project they are developing, so it will be good to see the classic machine working hard again. Here’s how the JCB 805BT was promoted back in the day, featured in this sales pamphlet which I was given by a sales rep, who visited our site. In the meantime, the old JCB is still used on a regular basis loading hardcore for use around the ever expanding Castle Motors property, which is great to see. It was great to catch up with one of these machines again after all these years, and I’m sure this machine would make a great restoration project for the team in the future. I would like to thank Dean Flood of Castle Motors, for the warm hospitality I was shown on the day.          

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