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Digging up the past

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Margaret Thatcher had just come to power, ABBA were in the charts and it was still acceptable for men to have perms. 1980. The year when Alan Fulwood spent £46,000 (that’s around £167,000 in today’s money) on a Hitachi UH062.

Thirty-three years later, as you can see from the pictures, it’s still going strong. And according to it’s second, and current, owner Brent Millman it still operates like new!

Brent bought the machine from Alan, a friend of Brent’s mother, after Alan became too unwell to operate it. Brent was only in his late teens, and agreed a price then asked for some advice on how to operate it. Alan’s response was simply, “you can either drive it or you can’t”.

Fortunately for Brent, he could. And from his very first time in the seat Brent said he became completely hooked on machines.

Obviously Brent has shared many a long hour shifting earth with his much loved machine, so we asked him whether it was a “he” or a “she”, the response came quickly, and without hesitation; “She’s a she, and she gets better with age!” The UH062 has operated for about 4,900 hours, and in the pictures here she’s busy shifting 6,000 tonnes of muck in a week.

Brent and his trusty machine have been through a lot together, including one occasion when working on a job, unaware that the neighbouring property was having problems with their septic tank in the terrible weather. Problems which left Brent sat in the contents of the septic tank right up to the top of the excavator tracks! But Brent is obviously the kind of chap that can fall in you-know-what and come up smelling of roses, as he managed to get another job out of it!

Brent still has all of the original paperwork, including the log book and full service history; and the machine still has her original 6 cylinder engine, a hugely reliable power unit, still used in the UH062’s much younger relatives today.

Of course, Hitachi machines’ reputation for bullet-proof reliability is well known, but the story of Brent’s UH062, still going strong after three decades, is an amazing one. And who knows how many more years this amazing machine will go on for.