– Lavishly painted semitrailer tractor is the star of Aachen’s Shrove Monday carnival procession;
– Truck featuring airbrushed design depicts the origins of mankind;
– Seven weeks of manual labour, 35 litres of paint and 65 litres of clear varnish have transformed the Actros into a history lesson on wheels.
AACHEN, Germany —— A new Mercedes-Benz Actros 1845 owned by freight forwarders Josef Schumacher is taking to the roads as a history lesson on wheels thanks to a brightly coloured paint finish depicting the origins of mankind. On 16 February the truck named “The Cradle of Humanity” will be bringing some additional colour to the Shrove Monday carnival procession in the city of Aachen.
“The Cradle of Humanity” Actros left the paint shop of airbrush artist Walter Rosner in Mitterteich in Bavaria at the end of January to become an eye-catching addition to the fleet of vehicles operated by freight forwarder Josef Schumacher, located in Würselen near Aachen. It belongs to a whole series of highly colourful semitrailer tractors which have been created in cooperation with model manufacturer Herpa, featuring paint finishes depicting topics from history.
The story begins on the driver’s side of the GigaSpace cab of the Actros 1845. The setting is the primeval African savannah, where a gorilla sits gazing across at its relatives, who are already walking upright. Two chimpanzees in a tree are also watching how the ancestors of modern man embraced the use of tools made of stone and, stretching across the length of the refrigerated semitrailer, how Australopithecus subsequently continued to evolve. On the co-driver’s side, early man is seen discovering fire, learning a variety of hunting techniques and guarding against the sabre-toothed tiger during the Stone Age. Walter Rosner’s naturally includes artists in the story, too. He shows them busily creating cave paintings to leave behind to posterity. Across the entire vehicle onlookers can also discover numerous other small references to key highlights from the history of the birth of mankind: the theory of evolution versus religion, the emergence of the intellectual awareness in the guise of philosophy, or the first great discoveries such as the sundial. The back of the trailer also features an overview in facts and figures.
“Of course designing a nice overall theme is one of the requirements,” says Walter Rosner, explaining his intentions, “but it is with such vehicles as this that I especially like to use lots of details to make onlookers curious about the whole story and perhaps even enable them to learn something in the process.”
Work on the Actros and semitrailer took about seven weeks, since there were a few tasks to complete, particularly on the tractor unit, before the entire rig could be turned into a rolling canvas. Even though the base colour was already white in this case, everything still had to be dismantled and plastic parts in particular sanded and primed several times to provide a firm substrate for the colour paint – and all this work was completed by hand. After preparation, it was a case of putting everything back together and then creating, free-hand, the overall colour theme with its many exciting details, based on just a few pencil sketches on paper by way of reference. Finally this was followed by yet another process of disassembly to enable repeated sanding and application of a number of coats of clear varnish. By the time of its completion, the vehicle had used approximately 35 litres of colour paint and around an additional 65 litres of clear varnish.
Actros impresses with fuel efficiency and service
A brushed banner above the windscreen reveals to which garage the gem of a vehicle belongs: international freight forwarders Josef Schumacher in Würselen boast a fleet comprising some 160 semitrailer rigs, half of which are Mercedes-Benz vehicles. The latest arrivals are all new Actros models with GigaSpace cab.
“We are impressed in particular by the fuel efficiency and enhanced technology of these vehicles. The after-sales service is equally impressive, and we enjoy a well-established level of cooperation,” says managing director Josef Schumacher Junior, explaining the reasons behind his decision to opt for the Mercedes-Benz brand.
When it comes to drivers, “The Cradle of Humanity” is in the best of hands with Norbert Nawe. Not only has he been working for freight forwarders Josef Schumacher for many years, but he is also totally at ease with the colourful appearance of his company vehicle and the associated attention it generates out on the road. He has already driven a fully painted Actros semitrailer rig on previous occasions, since in addition to the “regular” Mercedes-Benz tractor units there are currently nine further brightly coloured flagship vehicles in operation at Schumacher.
A tradition of specially designed Actros vehicles at freight forwarders Schumacher
“It all started with our “Aachen Truck”, a Mercedes 1848 SK,” explains Josef Schumacher Junior. Since then it has been followed by “The Dinosaurs” (Actros 1846 Euro V), “The Gold Rush” (Actros 1846 Euro V), “The Crusades” (Actros 1846 Euro V), the “Emotion Truck” (Actros 1846 Euro V), “The Constellations” (Actros 1845 Euro V GigaSpace), “The Aviation Truck” (Actros 1845 Euro VI GigaSpace), the “Mega Truck” (Actros 1845 Euro VI GigaSpace), “Charlemagne” (Actros 1851 Euro VI GigaSpace) and the “Cologne Truck” (Actros 1845 Euro VI GigaSpace). Although Josef Schumacher unreservedly refers to them as true collector’s items, all of the vehicles are used for normal freight forwarding operations and undertake national and international food transport deliveries.
But they also have one special operation to carry out during the year: in addition to his love of exceptional trucks, Josef Schumacher Junior is also a big fan of the carnival. He is a dedicated member of the eleven-man carnival committee of the Carnival Association of Aachen. And it is a matter of pride that the unmissable, colourful Schumacher Actros vehicles – after a busy weekend of preparation work at the company’s workshop – will be on display for all to admire next Monday as the towing vehicles for the city of Aachen’s Shrove Monday carnival procession.
[Source : Daimler]