Kenny Wilson reckons the hills are disappearing from New Zealand’s highways. “Especially in the North Island – it seems like they’re taking the hills away,” he says with a grin.
Most other Kiwi truck drivers may not have noticed sudden changes in the topography. But then, they don’t have the keys to the most powerful series production truck on NZ roads!
Driving for Brett Marsh Transport, Kenny moved into a new Scania S-Series 6x4 powered by the Swedish marque’s new ‘top-of-the-line’ 770-horsepower V8 engine, in late-November.
Literally the King of the Hills, the new 770 S resets the benchmark for series production horsepower figures. It is, after all, the world’s most powerful production line truck.
But Kenny says the strengths of Scania’s flagship and the benefits it offers to drivers and owners extend beyond the headline numbers and the bragging rights of a V8 badge.
This new Scania 770hp S model is the first of its breed to hit the road anywhere in the Southern Hemisphere.
If you have been living under a rock for the past decade you mightn’t know the horsepower race has been a leapfrog contest between Volvo and Scania. Scania came out with its 730hp V8, then Volvo jumped them to take the horsepower title with 750hp. Now it’s Scania back on top again with this 770hp powerhouse.
There was plenty of anticipation ahead of catching up with the first of Brett Marsh Transport’s two brand new 770 S units.
For regular driver Kenny to get home on a Friday and have the weekend off we arrange a meet at Taupiri and head for Taranaki. I take the wheel down to Te Kuiti with a route down State Highway 1 and 3 because bridge repairs at Ngahinapouri have taken Highway 39 out of commission for heavy traffic.
At first the climb into the cab looks like a challenge, with the truck being so high. But it turns out to be easier than some of the smaller trucks I have tested lately. Four cascading stairs with well-placed grabhandles and a wide-opening door makes the vertical climb a breeze.