Coun­try life

25 years as an owner-driver has con­vinced Tony Nesci that coun­try runs are the way to go

Owner Driver - - Front Page -

TONY NESCI lives at Tay­lors Hill, 25 kilo­me­tres north­west of Mel­bourne’s CBD.

And he has spent 25 years truck­ing on the city’s busy roads. But he prefers coun­try driv­ing, and he’s al­ways man­aged to sup­ple­ment his city work with runs to re­gional Vic­to­ria and in­ter­state. That’s why he loves cart­ing freight for Amart.

“It’s a bit of a mix of lo­cal and coun­try,” Tony says.

Trad­ing as Nescorp, Tony is an owner-driver who carts pal­letised flat-pack fur­ni­ture from Amart’s Somer­ton ware­house to sub­ur­ban stores in­clud­ing Dan­de­nong and Nu­nawad­ing. He also de­liv­ers to re­gional stores at Bal­larat, Gee­long and Shep­par­ton.

“They’re a very good com­pany to work for,” Tony says of Amart. “You pretty much run your own race, within rea­son. You need to get your stuff de­liv­ered, but you can have a break and grab a cof­fee. I can just do things at my own pace.”

Af­ter all these years, Tony still loves driv­ing: “I just en­joy the free­dom that it gives me.”

He was driv­ing a 2006 Sca­nia R500 when he started with Amart in 2013. It was soon ob­vi­ous he didn’t need a 90-tonne B-dou­ble-rated truck to cart flat-packs.

“It was just too much truck for the work that I was do­ing.”

So he has down­sized to a 360hp 1990 Sca­nia 113H.

It is older and less pow­er­ful than the R500, but Tony swears it is the right horse for the course.

“The 113 is a bit more old-school. It doesn’t have cruise con­trol and it’s a man­ual. It’s fine be­cause you ac­tu­ally feel like you’re do­ing some­thing,” he says.

Tony says driv­ing the au­to­matic R500 to Bal­larat or Shep­par­ton could be bor­ing “when you’re just turn­ing the steer­ing wheel”.

Be­fore he put the 113 on the road, Tony spent three months giv­ing it a thor­ough me­chan­i­cal over­haul and some cos­metic at­ten­tion.

“I like a lit­tle bit of bling, so I like to pol­ish up the tanks and the wheels and put a few Christ­mas lights on.

“I gen­er­ally smarten up the ap­pear­ance and get it looking very pre­sentable and clean and neat.”

Now it is reli­able and he is proud to be seen driv­ing it.

Tony also owns a 2004 Sca­nia R114. “They’re both sin­gle-axle prime movers and they’re per­fectly suited for the job that I’m do­ing.”

He prefers driv­ing the 113 but his em­ploy­ees both pre­fer the au­to­matic 114.

Damion Nisi drives full-time for Nescorp, and Ju­nior Eramiha is an “ever-reli­able” ca­sual back-up driver.

SEC­OND-HAND

Tony has been buy­ing sec­ond-hand Sca­nias for more than 20 years, but his first truck was an old twin­steer Ley­land. He bought it in 1993 when he began cart­ing con­tain­ers for Se­con Car­ri­ers (now Se­con Freight Lo­gis­tics).

“They’re a fam­ily com­pany and they were great peo­ple to work with.

“It was just too much truck for the work that I was do­ing”

“If they weren’t, I wouldn’t have been there for that long.”

He was with them for 17 years. When work was quiet, Se­con was happy for him to find other freight. Tony saw this as a chance to get out of Mel­bourne.

“I’ve done a couple of trips over to Perth. I’ve done a fair bit of in­ter­state,” he says.

He took on ex­tra lo­cal work as well. From about 1998 Tony was one of many driv­ers Sims Metal called on when they needed bulk ships filled with scrap metal.

Tony had owned two Ley­lands and a 1418 Benz be­fore he paid $12,000 for his first Sca­nia in the late 1990s. He drove the LKT141 for two years and then gave it a to­tal re­fur­bish­ment. He sold it a few years later for al­most three times what he orig­i­nally paid for it.

“With a sec­ond-hand truck, there are al­ways go­ing to be re­pairs,” Tony says.

His fa­ther was an in­ter­state owner-driver and for­tu­nately Tony gained some me­chan­i­cal knowl­edge be­fore buy­ing a truck of his own.

He is con­fi­dent car­ry­ing out mi­nor re­pairs, weld­ing and oxy cut­ting.

His sec­ond Sca­nia was a T143, which he cus­tomised.

“It was gleam­ing. Pol­ished tanks. Pol­ished wheels. It had a lot of lights on it.”

In 2004 he stepped up to a 530hp 2001 R144. This was fol­lowed by the R500 which he kept for nine years.

Af­ter leav­ing Se­con Tony pulled a tip­per for three years, in­clud­ing 12 months cart­ing as­phalt for the Penin­sula Free­way.

The R500 was great for as­phalt but “too much” for the light flat-packs he carts for Amart, which is why he down­sized to the 113 he drives to­day.

“Be­ing a sin­gle axle, [the 113] is half the reg­is­tra­tion. It’s a 6-cylin­der so it’s more fuel ef­fi­cient. And, be­cause I knew the me­chan­i­cal his­tory of this truck, I had no doubt it would be per­fect for this job.”

SHOW PONY

Sen­ti­ment influenced Tony’s de­ci­sion to buy the 113.

“I didn’t want it go­ing on the scrapheap be­cause the 3 Se­ries was prob­a­bly one of the best that Sca­nia made,” he says. Tony re­cently bought a 1997 Sca­nia T143.

“I’m just go­ing to take my time and I’ll do a ground-up restora­tion on it,” he says. “It’ll be vir­tu­ally like a show pony but my in­ten­tion is to en­joy it as well.”

Tony looks for­ward to see­ing the city in the rear view mir­ror of the 143 when he takes flat-packs out to Bal­larat or Shep­par­ton. “It’s not go­ing to sit in the shed.”

When he bought his first Ley­land, Tony knew long hours and hard work were re­quired to suc­ceed as an own­er­driver. He be­lieves his wife’s role as a mother of four was even harder.

“Maria’s been the back­bone of ev­ery­thing,” he says.

Now that their chil­dren are older, Maria has taken over Tony’s book­keep­ing. And with help from Damion and Ju­nior, Tony’s life is much eas­ier than it was in the early years of the busi­ness.

“It put food on the ta­ble for us, kept the roof over our heads and put the kids through school. I sup­pose luck plays a big part in things – and hard work and sac­ri­fice. And here we are, 25 years later. We’re still go­ing.”

“I didn’t want it go­ing on the scrapheap”

The Sca­nia 113 is per­fect for Tony Nesci’s Amart job, and the Amart job is per­fect for Tony

The Sca­nia R500 was per­fect for tip­pers but too pow­er­ful for the light freight Tony carts to­day

sec­ond 1994, Tony’s Pic­tured in Mercedes- Benz 1418 truck was a in Se­con colours

The Sca­nia LKT141

Tony Nesci be­hind the wheel. Driv­ing is still what he loves most about his job

for Nescorp has worked Ju­nior Eramiha the 114. Tony and prefers for four years Reli­able’ calls him ‘Mr

The Sca­nia 113 be­fore Tony stripped it down for its restora­tion

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