PH CARPOOL: THORNYCROFT NUBIAN MAJOR
No, we had no idea what it was either. Turns out it's a fire engine. Cool
Owned since:Summer 2011
Previous owner:National Historic Vehicle Society
Why I bought it:
We bought the Nubian because of its rarity; it is a unique prototype model that was originally built for evaluation purposes. It was the first we had seen in over three years of searching, and for one to come up in such good condition made it a 'must'.
We also felt it fitted in with the other vehicles in our collection, particularly the Alvis Mk6 fire crash tender (otherwise known as the Alvis Salamander), because when dealing with an airfield fire, these would have operated as a pair - the Salamander fighting the fire, and the Nubian supplying it with water from its 1500 gallon tank. We think that getting them both restored beautifuly and paired up again would be a real showstopper!
On our first ever trip in it, the main luxuries I missed were being able to hear myself think, and to feel my feet. The heater was unfortunately not working and, despite there being a 14.8-litre Cummins V8 diesel only inches to my side, the cab was very cold.
Things I love:
I love the way it drives, and the feeling you get from high up in the cab is great; you might be driving down a road at 40-odd miles an hour, and looking to the side you see a ploughed field, and the row of hedges that, but for your height, would be hiding it from you, you get a small but priceless buzz from knowing that you could just as easily be on the other side of the hedge, parallel to the road doing the same speed off-road.
Things I hate:
The 'things I hate' paragraph was always going to be a short one, because if there were that many things to hate about it, we simply wouldnt have bought it! I suppose the fuel consumption isnt amazing, we reckon 7mpg, but even that isnt too bad, considering the size of the engine - our e39 M5 averages about 25mpg and that's around the 5.0-litre mark...
Where I've been:
So far, we've only had one trip to get to know it. It took the 120 miles effortlessly and never felt on edge (except for one occasion where our backup car pulled us over saying the blue flashing lights had been on the past 10 minutes - we had accidently knocked the switch inadvertantly while going through the control panel in search of the windscreen wipers(!) and then couldn't figure out which one it was to turn them off again).