Tribute to the Life of Martin Phippard

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Tribute to Martin Phippard

Martin was born in Swanage, Dorset, England in October 1943. His Father was a truck driver and like all sons of drivers at that time he spent many happy days in the cab with his Father. It was undoubtedly those early days that inspired what was to be a life-long passion for road transport.

He emigrated to Canada in 1960 aged 16 and worked for Canadian National Railways in Montreal for a brief spell before moving to Alberta in Western Canada where he worked first as a farm labourer and later for the Department of Highways driving CAT 619 earth movers on road building projects. It was during this period that he developed his passion for North American trucks.

He returned to the UK in 1966 and took a job driving high-value cargos such as bullion, diamonds and freshly minted bank notes around London in armoured trucks for a leading security company. He met his wife to be, Annie at this time and was duly married in 1968.

Martin then worked as a truck driver on UK and European haulage and later as a truck salesman for Chrysler and Atkinson trucks before deciding that he wanted to return to Canada.

Martin, his wife Annie, and daughters, Liz and Jax moved to Toronto in 1973 and he recalls that period as one of the best in his life. For the first 18-months he worked as a salesman for Mack Trucks and then for almost four years he took the position of Assistant Editor of a Canadian magazine called Motor Truck. In this role he established a truck testing procedure and was able to get behind the wheel of all the North American classics of the time including such icons as the Autocar DC-Model, the Mack Superliner, the rare Scot A2HD, a Kenworth W-900, Peterbilt 352, the big Ford CL-9000 cabover and his first B-train headed up by a GMC Astro SS cabover.

Martin and his family returned to the UK late in 1979 and after a spell driving started work at a Volvo Trucks dealership. He was appointed Sales Manager in 1982 and was part of a Management Buy Out in 1993. He stayed at the Volvo dealer until his retirement in 2011.

But as most of you will know Martin was never really satisfied with only one job. In addition to his full-time occupation with Volvo, he wrote regularly and indeed continues to write for TRUCK, Truck & Driver and TRUCKING Magazine under his own name and those of Dave Martin, Scott Ireland and Daniel Martin in the UK as well as for several trucking publications in Sweden and New Zealand.

Martin was one of four writers who co-wrote a book called ‘Trucks of the World’s Highways’ in the late 1970s and co-authored ‘Highway Heavy Metal’ in the early 1980s. Since then he has helped to translate several trucking books written by Ralf Koch and Klaus Werblow from German into English. These include ‘Trucks at Work –Saudi Arabia’ and ‘Trucks at Work – United Arab Emirates’ and ‘XXL on the Road’.

In 1990 he and Pete Connock established a video business called    C P Productions with the aim of recording a little of road haulage history. This venture saw Martin and Pete visiting areas as remote as Alaska and Tasmania and in the 22-years since they first began they have made more than 30 videos and DVDs. Most programmes covered topics such as heavy haulage, logging or road trains in Australia. But the one that got them started and for which he and Pete are perhaps best known was ‘Angel’s Playmate’. This took a peek at the life of Steve Drybrough and his iconic Hayes HDX logger known as H-17. But Martin is also proud that he and Pete have documented the history and development of B-Trains and of drom combinations. He never got to drive a drom but always loved B-trains and was only too happy to get behind the wheel of one whenever the opportunity arose. As a result he has driven B-trains in countries as diverse as The Netherlands, Sweden and Zimbabwe.

Martin has always considered himself an ordinary man with a talent for meeting and surrounding himself with extraordinary people. As many of you will know he has friends all over the world and during his travels managed to visit 50 different countries and to drive more than 60 different types of truck. He also considers himself extremely privileged to have been able to meet Kurt Johannsen, the Father of the modern road train in Australia, Dan Keeney, inventor of the B-train and a host of other folk who in one way or another have made an outstanding contribution to the trucking industry. The list is way too long to include here but you will all know who he means.

Martin is still married to Annie, and now has his daughters, plus grandsons Tom and Kieran and a great-grandson, Charlie. He has dedicated his life to trucking and to his family and is honoured and privileged to have been able to share in the lives of so many wonderful people. He extends his heart-felt thanks to everyone who has helped him on his rewarding and fascinating journey through life.


In talking to Martin's very good friend, Peter Connock, a little while ago He was saying that Martin had been talking about his demise and thought that a truck convoy would be a nice thing after he passed . Peter got to thinking and decided that if he was already gone he wouldn’t see it. So on Oct 13/13 it being Martins 70th birthday they would honor him with a CONVOY. They whistled him out beside the road and lo and behold 84 trucks came by in a tribute to him. Over 250 people arrived and that is how things get done the right way. What a great bunch of friends he had. We (Martin's friends from other countries) are only sorry we couldn’t have been in that convoy also. Now we only have the memory of a good friend and fellow trucker. Rest easy my friend.
Martin and friends at the Convoy Martin and his wife Annie
Martin and some of the 250 friends who attended the
Convoy in Tribute to Martin Phippard
Martin and his wife Annie

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