26 September 2020

Miscellaneous classics #6: Volvo FL 10

Spotting old cars has become something like second nature to me, and I am sure there are others out there who also possess this keen eye to detail for cars in general. However, to date, I have never seen any peer that has remotely featured the 'uncool, loud and dirty' workhorses. It has been a long while since I wrote about atypical classic vehicles, and I figured why not be a trendsetter yet again and introduce this unlikely behemoth of a 1998 Volvo FL 10 tow truck/wrecker

The FL series is Volvo's smallest truck and is thus suitable for construction work, local and regional distribution and garbage collection. It was introduced in 1985 in response to decreasing global competitiveness in the heavy truck market. Its name stands for 'Forward Control Low-Level Cab' and was available in various drivetrain configurations. This unit is a six-by-four (6x4), meaning that it has a drivetrain of 3 axles (6 wheels) delivering power to 2 wheel ends on 2 axles (4 wheels).

As expected from Volvo, the FL trucks featured top-notch safety systems, such as a Z-Cam wheel brake. Furthermore, the spacious cab length of 250 cm and an advanced cab suspension provided much comfort for the driver. The FL 10 was powered by a humongous 9603 cc D10 inline-6 diesel engine, allowing it to reach average speed of 79 km/h, with an acceleration of an eternally-long 68 seconds [0-60 mph]. However, as with commercial vehicles here, its speed limit is restricted to 60 km/h. It weighed 10900 kg, with a maximum laden weight of 24000 kg and had a fuel consumption of 37 litres/100 km. Judging from its size, I would presume it to be around 7 m long.

Production of the FL 10 ended in 1998, making this unit possibly one of the last of its kind before it was succeeded by the FM series. However, FL trucks still remain in production though with smaller engines. This particular unit, owned by Yishun Towing, was registered on March 1999 and it will no longer exist after 2022 when its COE expires. It has seen regular action towing all kinds of vehicles, such as this picture below. I was drawn to it by its squarish angles and it looked quite run-down, and was therefore gratified to see that it was indeed as old as it looked.

I would believe that this is the last one remaining here, unless I hear of other units still around. FL 10s were mainly used by our fire brigade (shown below) and as prime mover trucks. Information on heavy vehicles are generally harder to find, so apologies for not being able to write as much as I wanted. Interestingly, there was a Volvo Trucks plant in Malaysia and this unit could very well have come from there also. 

This is indeed a very left-field subject matter as I am sure no one would give a second look to trucks in general. While I am the first to actually write about this unique piece of history, I hope this has been informative in some way: I don't really expect people to go gaga over them but at least I have done my part in documenting its existence. If you are lucky, try to catch it on the move before it is gone forever!

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