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Mitsubishi & More Excavator Memories (Top Blogs Re-Visited)

by Nick Drew  |  Mon 27 Sep 2021

Mitsubishi & More Excavator Memories (Top Blogs Re-Visited)

Back in the mid 1980’s I myself spent some time on Mitsubishi excavators, operating an MS 140 for Brian R Wilson of Portchester, and later an MS120 for Kinsella Contractors from Dorset. At the time here in the UK, these machines were being sold and serviced by Caterpillar dealership H. Levertons, so there was little doubt that they would be a good quality piece of kit.

From my memory they were a lovely machine to operate, as smooth as you like on the hydraulics and for the time they had a reasonably comfortable cab. The only downfall I could see with them was that as they aged, the control linkages became badly worn, which resulted in a lot of movement, and much banging of knuckles on the side windows of the cab. Eamonn Savage set up his plant hire and contracting business in Northern Ireland back in 1983, with his first machine being a Mitsubishi MS110, which was supplied by the then Caterpillar dealer for Northern Ireland, McCormick MacNaughton, who also supplied Eamonn with 5 Cat 428 backhoe loaders at a later date. This smaller machine was later joined by another “Mitzi” as they were affectionately known, an MS180 model as seen here in this old shot .

Trading as E. Savage Plant Hire, most of Eamonn’s work in that first year of trading was hire work for local builders and farmers. It went so well that he turned over 45k at the end of that year. Eamonn became so busy he needed to add a second machine, and with the new Korean Daewoo machines coming onto the market at a very keen price, Eamonn opted for a DH130 model, leading on to him employing his first full time driver on the new machine. Around this time Eamonn started to price work for a number of local authorities, including forestry, water and roads departments, with a majority of the contracts being in the civil engineering field.

From 1987 to 2001 the company was awarded some very large contracts. During that period the business expanded rapidly employing 35 full time employees and a considerable number of sub-contractors. During this period, the company changed its trading name to E. Savage Contracts & Plant Hire Ltd, with turnover having grown from the first years £45k to around £3.5 million. Then, out of the blue in 2001, the water service, the company’s main employer at the time, decided that anyone with a turnover of less than 20 million could no longer tender for water contracts. As a result of this Eamonn became a sub-contractor to some of the bigger company’s overnight!

Eamonn Savage is seen here in this clipping from a local newspaper, signing the contract for the Carlingford Sewerage Improvement Scheme, with members of Louth County Council.

Following this, Eamonn went on to form Easy-Dig-Down Ltd, working for some of his good friends in the property business, becoming the main sub-contractor for all their groundwork’s, including site clearance, foundation and drainage works until the bubble burst in the property crash in 2007. 


During Eamonn’s time in business, he ran a mixed bag of plant including Mitsubishi, Komatsu, Hitachi Samsung, Dresser, & JCB tracked machines. But he still has the fondest memories for those Mitsubishi excavators that were so well respected in those days. 


With wheeled 180 degree backhoe loaders represented by Caterpillar, JCB and Fermec. The comprehensive haulage fleet included lorries by Bedford, Daf, Hino, Leyland, Scania and Volvo. Sadly the business was lost in the recession of 2009. One of thousands of companies in Northern Ireland at the time with in excess of 30,000 lost jobs in the construction industry. These days Eamonn is taking it easy, simply buying and selling the odd machine, 4x4 or lorry.

We thank Eamonn for sharing his story and photos here on the Digger Man Blog.

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