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Isuzu tries to consider every possible application when designing its truck ranges, but every now and then even the most seasoned dealer gets a question that stops them in their tracks.

Matt Evans, Truck Sales Consultant from Paterson Cheney Isuzu, VIC, says Lynton Phillips’ request is one he’ll remember forever.

Lynton came to Matt last year, looking for a truck that could transport thousands of racing pigeons for the Greater Melbourne Pigeon Racing Federation.

“I’ve been racing pigeons for 54 years – my whole life – so when I had some money to spare two years ago I thought I’d invest it in a truck for the pigeon races,” Lynton said.

“A few of the guys I race with are truck drivers, and they said that for the last 20 years Isuzus have been the best trucks on the road, so we sat down with Matt and it went from there.”

Matt decided that the Isuzu FRD 600 S Long Premium was the ideal fit for Lynton’s needs.

The single stage alloy steel taper leaf springs and double acting hydraulic shock absorbers were a key consideration when choosing the truck, as others suspension systems could damage or injure the birds.

“The truck can hold 3,100 birds, and we’ve nearly had it full, so I made sure the truck had airbag suspension as it’s much easier on the birds.

“We have 120 members, all living in different areas, so we have to go to designated pickup spots around Victoria before we take the birds for the race. The rigid springs are too hard on them on these longer runs.

“We can drive five or six hundred miles over a weekend, going interstate, to New South Wales, South Australia, or even on the ferry to Tasmania, so we want to make sure the drivers and the birds are as comfortable as possible,” Lynton said.

Driver comfort is taken care of by an ADR42 compliant sleeper, ECE-R29 compliant cab and an Isri 6860 air suspension driver’s seat with pneumatic lumbar support, while the entertainment and creature comforts come through a 2 DIN, two speaker radio/CD/DVD Digital Audio Visual Entertainment (DAVE) unit with 6.2” LCD touch screen.

“There’s a sleeper in the back of the cab, which means the driver can get some shut eye if they’re heading 350 miles away on the Friday night, then they can be up early on the Saturday morning to let the pigeons go,” Lynton said.

The FRD 600’s ALLISON automatic transmission with 6 speeds and 5th generation electronic controls means Lynton’s driver can fully concentrate on the road and on keeping his birds safe.

“The drivers can’t believe how well it drives, they say it’s just like a car,” Lynton said.

“It just glides along, the power steering and vison are great, and even with full weight on, the power isn’t affected at all, it just keeps going. It’s a brilliant vehicle.”

Matt Evans says that although Lynton’s request was one of the more interesting applications he’s catered for, he knew Isuzu could provide what was needed.

“Between Lynton’s experience with pigeons and my experience building trucks – and with the help of Isuzu’s ISIS weight distribution program – it became a joint effort that delivered a great outcome,” Matt said.

“I chose the FRD because of the payload, engine power and towing ability, and the addition of the Allison Auto meant the truck was well suited to his needs.”

Lynton purchased his FRD with an aluminium tray, on which he added a custom 3.8 meter high pigeon carrier with two water pumps, air conditioning units, drip water feeders and cages to store the birds.

“You can really see the workmanship in the truck, it’s quite an achievement – and The Greater Melbourne Pigeon Federation really appreciates it,” Lynton said.

“A few people couldn’t visualise the benefits of the truck, but now they’ve changed their minds and it’s all coming together.

“It’s a new concept – to take all the pigeons together to a race – but the truck is built for Australian conditions so it means they get a good run up there with water and feed, and we liberate them in good condition for the race.

“The Greater Melbourne Pigeon Federation used to have 80 members, but another 40 have joined since we’ve bought the truck, as it makes life so much easier.

“Everybody’s impressed and it’s going perfectly.”


For further information, please contact:
Jeff Birdseye
Isuzu Australia Limited
Phone: 03 9644 6666

For Isuzu Truck Releases and Photos:
Arkajon Communications
Phone: 03 9867 5611