Recovery World’s Mac Engledew is a real enthusiast of Big Toys for Big Boysâ€™. In the 18 years since qualifying as a Mercedes Benz mechanic he has experienced many diverse aspects of both the automotive and recovery industry. Outside of the â€˜day jobâ€™, he became a keen enthusiast of rallying, first in preparing cars, then racing them finally as an instructor. His love of things mechanical really took off when he fulfilled his ambition and qualified as a helicopter pilot. Married with 2 children, Macâ€™s interest in competitive motorsport is far from over with his avid support of his 10 year old sonâ€™s passion for racing go-carts. So whatâ€™s Macâ€™s opinion of the recovery industry, and how does he view itâ€™s future?
What was your first paid job?
Selling my lunch vouchers at school, not totally legit but a nice little earner for an 11year old. Then at 13 I started repairing damaged cars brought in from RTA’s that we had been left with at my grandfathers garage. My first was a Morris Marina with black vinyl seats, nice!
How did you break into recovery?
I grew up in my grandfathers business of garages & breakdowns.
How long have you worked in the recovery industry?
All my life apart from when I left school I served a Mercedes apprenticeship, then worked for a rallying company. I then came back to the recovery industry.
Current job title?
What was your first recovery truck outing?
Earliest memory of a vehicle I went out in with my Grandfather Leyland FG with Thrupenny bit cab, it was fitted with Nomar 8D16 crane.
What was your first breakdown job?
Not my first but the first really memorable – I was about 14 years old, petrol tanker was cut up by a snaking caravan on the A1M coming down the hill by junc 6. Tanker rolled over full of fuel. We were called quite early in the day and then had to wait around while the Fire Brigade covered the whole area with expansion foam and then BP transferred the load to another tanker. By this time it was well into the night and then I can remember crawling about in chest hight foam putting the strops around the trailer and uprighting the rig. We even made the news, first real taste of heavy recovery.
What was your favourite truck?
A Scania Vabis with Holmes 750, just what I considered to be a proper recovery truck as a boy, it seemed huge then!
Mac stands proudly on the Scania Vabis
What was your worst buy?
1988 MAN 8.153 crew cab with slidebed, bloody unreliable. Took it in PX and shortly after the engine blew, the only truck I lost money on!
What was the best time to be in breakdown/recovery?
Early to mid 80’s, as a boy and only having vague memories, it always seemed busy, and being based in North London the jobs were always close together. I Remember one snowy winter being out non stop and literally going from a flat battery or simple non start to the next road with a another simple job. Another time I remember staying up all night as a young teenager on control and phoning the clubs every hour or so to see if they had any jobs for us & most of the calls they did.
What do you feel is the most positive thing about the recovery industry?
The level of professionalism and pride in the industry.
What frustrates you about the industry?
Not sticking together! As a supplier visiting lots of different operators from the large to the small, they all say the same thing about the poor rates. If only they’d stick together they could make a difference, but the problem is there is always someone that will do it far too cheap and thats the way it’s always been.
What changes do you expect to see over the next few years?
Operators either diversifying or going out of business.
What’s the biggest cock up you’ve ever made?
Rolling over a Scammell racing truck that my uncle was thinking about buying, we was out on a test day and I had a ago only to loose control on a bend, oversteered & broadsided into a soft plowed field, it just dug in and straight over it went. Oops!
Do you have any hobbies outside work?
What kind of car do you drive?
Discovery, not very interesting but ideal with kids.
Do you have a favourite car or one you would like to own?
Ferrari 250 GT
Who in business do you most admire?
What was the first record you bought?
Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen
What is your favourite film?
Sluth with Laurence Olivier & Michael Caine
Who is your favourite comedian?
What is your favourite food?
What is your favourite place, anywhere?
What alternative career would you have favoured if it had not been in the motor trade?
I’m a retained fire fighter & would love to do the job full time or be a helicopter pilot