PPG Imaging Awards

 
Tribute Trucks

Tribute Trucks

PPG Imaging Awards

 October 2020   

It’s the trucking equivalent of wearing your heart on your sleeve – showing your love to the world.

In this case, it’s a matter of Milton transport operator Laurie (Ferg) Ferguson revealing his true feelings for the Highlanders Super Rugby team.

Proudly painting his trucks in the colours of his favourite team just came naturally for Ferg. As he says, when he went out on his own 16 years ago, choosing the livery “wasn’t difficult.”

Just as the Highlanders adopted the colours of the three provincial teams it encompasses – the blue of Otago, gold of North Otago and Southland’s maroon – he simply adopted the blue as the base colour for the cab of Ferguson Trucking’s first truck, a 540-horsepower Freightliner Argosy….and added gold and maroon striping. 


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It’s the trucking equivalent of wearing your heart on your sleeve – showing your love to the world.
In this case, it’s a matter of Milton transport operator Laurie (Ferg) Ferguson revealing his true feelings for the Highlanders Super Rugby team.
Proudly painting his trucks in the colours of his favourite team just came naturally for Ferg. As he says, when he went out on his own 16 years ago, choosing the livery “wasn’t difficult.”
Just as the Highlanders adopted the colours of the three provincial teams it encompasses – the blue of Otago, gold of North Otago and Southland’s maroon – he simply adopted the blue as the base colour for the cab of Ferguson Trucking’s first truck, a 540-horsepower Freightliner Argosy….and added gold and maroon striping. 
The longtime Highlanders fan and season ticketholder designed the livery himself: “I took the colours and just sort of created it I suppose.”
He enlisted Custom Signs in Dunedin to come up with the detail of the stripes. Terry Soper recalls mocking-up the design onscreen and sending a printout through to Ferg for approval. 
“We used Avery vinyl colours for the stripes – sunflower yellow, and burgundy….and pretty much nailed it first time.”
The result is the eyecatching colour scheme that now graces 12 Ferguson Trucking trucks (nine of them Argosys)….and wins the company the honours as this month’s finalist in the PPG Transport Imaging Awards.
The tribute colour scheme so far hasn’t inspired any of the Highlanders to come “around for a drive.” 
Nevertheless, Ferg rates the livery a success, as he gets a lot of feedback on the trucks, especially from customers: “I think that it helps retain customers. They see that they’ve got good tidy gear going up their drive and know we’re looking after their product.”
Ferguson Trucking’s bulk tippers cover a lot of the bottom half of the South Island, doing “all agricultural type stuff – a lot of stock feed and coal, which relates to the dairy industry.”
Ferg believes his fleet certainly catches people’s attention: “Generally, everyone I know or people that I see comment that they see them all over the place. 
“I suppose they stand out pretty well. It’s a credit to my drivers too – they keep the trucks looking bloody good really.
“Most of the guys seem pretty proud of their trucks. They look after them….polish up the wheels and stuff.”
Funnily enough, neither Ferg nor his painters – Clutha Panel Repairs in Balclutha – know the correct name for the blue.
Says Ferg: “Most of the paint is done inhouse at Freightliner in America and it’s listed as the ‘Ferguson Trucking colour.’ ” 
Dave McDiarmid at Clutha Panel Repairs, just knows it as ‘Ferguson Transport Custom.’
Like the Highlanders, Ferguson Trucking hasn’t changed its colours changed over the years – although the stripes have been revised to best suit various makes and models.
And Ferg and his drivers have introduced names for the trucks, with graphics to suit. Here they have strayed from the Highlanders theme – with Black Ops, The Jolly Roger, Dark Knight, God of War, Ghostrider, Mr Incredible, Silver Surfer, Hit Man, Air Bender, Chopstick and Roadrunner – and a new one due soon, named Bandit.
“Mr Incredible is a hard-case – because obviously the driver thinks a lot of himself,” Ferg reckons with a laugh.
Terry Soper creates the accompanying graphics: “Ferg sends through the names and we grab images off the computer, then we make them look airbrushed into the blue.” 
Ferg reckons that the choice of truck adds to the image: “I think the Argosy is a pretty good-looking truck. I’m happy with how ours have come up – they look pretty bloody good.”
But he believes that the colour scheme works just as well on other makes and models too – like a Freightliner Coronado, a Western Star and a FUSO in the current fleet lineup and a Kenworth he used to own.
As Freightliner has now ceased production of the Argosy, Ferg will have to come up with a decision as to what make and model of truck he’s going to buy next to wear the Highlanders/Ferguson Trucking colours. 
He reckons it’s under discussion right now – and adds: “It’ll be whoever gives me a really good deal.”  

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