Lil' Deuce Coupe - An Update
Since we last saw Glen and Janice Rice at the Mid America Trucking Show in March, they've been some busy people!
These folks, who are signed with FedEx Custom Critical-White Gloves Division, have been running steadily over the last three months. We were able to contact them during one of their brief pauses to find out how they've been doing.
If you're not familiar with this couple, their new Volvo expediting truck, "Lil' Deuce Coupe", was one of the big hits of the show. It was displayed in the Bentz Transport Products booth, and the bright yellow truck with the purple flame job and 16 foot sleeper attracted a steady stream of lookers during the three days of the show.
NOTE:For the full story and images of the Lil' Deuce Coupe: Click Here!
SO, HOW'S THAT NEW TRUCK?
Glen tells us that the new truck has been all they could have hoped for: "We've been so lucky that we have had virtually no problems with this truck. It's only got 31,000 miles on it so far, but it's still extremely tight, with no rattles or noises that shouldn't be there!"
"We're very pleased with the fuel mileage -10.3 mpg. That's not too bad for this size truck with a 425hp motor."
"Surprisingly, this truck doesn't experience the buffeting like with our old truck," Glen says, "even though there is a great deal of flat surface area. It's very stable and it tracks straight. About the only defect that I can recall at this moment is that our alarm went off in a lighting storm and wouldn't shut off. Other than that, no problems."
"Changes we've made to the truck include a pusher axle which took our cargo capacity up to 8,000 pounds, and we recently had XM Satellite radio installed."
Glen informs us that he and Janice met up with some motor carrier personnel as they entered Mississippi: "They gave us a warning ticket for being a thousand pounds over on the steer axle. The inspector had suggested that I rearrange the load to comply, and when I told him we were empty, he said to just go on."
"On the way out of Mississippi on RT 78 around Tupelo, they put us through a CVSA Level 1 inspection. (Pre Roadcheck 2002) The inspector looked the truck over but didn't question the weight."
PLENTY OF FREIGHT SO FAR
Glen says that Department of Defense and pharmaceutical loads have kept them very busy in the last few months. He says, "Since 9-11, there seems to be an increase in ground expedited, especially with sensitive-freight type shipments. Even though we don't haul that many temperature controlled loads, the reefer has been a plus;the refrigerated loads are quite lucrative. Overall, it's gone much better than we expected."
He adds, "We've haven't been getting any really long mileage loads; we've been doing a lot of shorter runs, but they add up. Most of our loads have been well under weight limits, with our heaviest load being 4900 lbs."
"We run close to a 50/50 White Glove to Express load ratio."
Glen tells us, "We've had some interesting loads recently. One was when we carried the new Star Wars movie. We picked it up at an airport in Chicago, for delivery in Milwaukee. The load was one skid of 35 reels of film weighing 3500 lbs and had to be kept at 60 degrees F. It was a cloak and dagger operation with the films intentionally mis-labeled."
"We also had some interesting work that wound up taking about a week. A US government agency has tests that are given around the world and then returned to the US. We picked up a number of these tests that had been palletized and we took them to a collection area. We were one of 17 trucks involved in this project, and we wound up doing 9 loads ourselves."
LIFE ON THE ROAD
Glen informs us that Janice and he were recently invited to Volvo headquarters in Greensboro, NC, where they spent two days meeting the engineers and other personnel who designed their truck. He says, "The Lil' Deuce Coupe was displayed in front of the corporate offices and there were maybe three or four hundred people who toured the truck. Many of the folks only work on the components for the trucks and they don't get the chance to see their handiwork."
While the couple was visiting Volvo, they had one of the company's GPS systems installed in the truck, along with specialized antenna. Glen adds, "When we get the chance, our next stop will be at the assembly plant in New River, VA."
Because their truck is not readily identified as an expediter, Glen and Janice say that it receives the most attention from RV'ers, campers and race fans. The RV folks ask questions about the Volvo because they're looking for an alternative to the Winnebagos and the like. The race fans think the truck is a transporter, and they want to know whose racecar is in the back.
"We don't hit truck stops that often," says Glen, "usually, we'll pull into a restaurant lot or a Wal-Mart. In the Wal-Mart parking lots, they don't bother us, they think we're an RV!"
Glen and Janice Rice are scheduled to appear at the Expedite Expo 2002 on August 15 and 16 at the Detroiter Truck stop, and they invite everyone to stop by and say hello!