Founded in 1861, the Birmingham Small Arms Company Limited (BSA) was a major British industrial conglomerate manufacturing military and sporting firearms, bicycles, motorcycles, cars, buses and bodies, among other things.
Some 143 years later, on the other side of the world, Brian and Sharon Anderson started a company called BSA Transport, where the name lives on but the similarities, on the whole, end there. The couple provides a first class crane truck service to customers primarily in southeast Queensland, having begun in accordance to a plan that they were, quite memorably, promptly forced to abandon.
“In 2004 I’d just left a management position with a large taxi truck company and we decided to buy one crane truck so I could semi-retire,” Brian says. “That plan lasted for about three seconds and 36 trucks later here we are today.”
Brian says it soon proved impossible for the couple to keep the business at one truck because as word got out about the great service the company offered, they were inundated with requests for their services and had no choice but to expand it to meet the demand.
“We have built some very strong relationships with several companies over the years and they have been rock solid in their support for us which has formed the mainstay of the business,” Brian says.
One such company is a steel frame and roofing manufacturer which BSA Transport has been servicing since 2008 and which currently keeps 10 to 14 of the company’s trucks busy on a daily basis.
One of these is a DAF CF single drive prime mover that BSA bought back in 2011 and that has been providing sterling service to both companies. Brian explains that this truck has had an unusual life. After a few years as a prime mover at the customer’s request, it was turned into a 14-pallet rigid curtainsider with the chassis lengthened and a lazy axle added.
“Several years later they decided they needed a prime mover again so we removed the body and the lazy axle, shortened the chassis, and it once again became a single drive prime mover which now pulls an 18-pallet tandem axle semi-trailer,” Brian says, adding that the truck has now done over 700,000km and still going strong.
The company’s policy is to keep its trucks for around 10 or 11 years, which is to say this prime mover will likely be retired before too long.
Brian talks about the excellent reliability of the truck being matched by the outstanding service BSA receives from the dealer Brown and Hurley at Yatala — conveniently located just a 20-minute drive from the company’s depot at Kingston.
“You’ve got to have reliability and backup and as far as I’m concerned Brown and Hurley and DAF put a big tick in both these boxes,” he says. “The service is second to none.”