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Truck of the Month – January

To celebrate 21 years of our involvement in the UK heavy lift market, we introduce “Truck of the Month” a series of 12 features spread over 12 months with 12 machines that have shaped our history, our present and that also represent our future. In the first issue, we look at the first machine that started it all: –


January – SMV SL 16-1200 A (the first)


It is appropriate the first of the series revolves around the first machine we supplied – in April 1998.

The SL16-1200A was SMV’s volume machine that stretched from 10 tonnes through to 17 tonnes. Coopers, trading in those days as SMV UK Limited, took their first equipment order from a customer on the River Trent in North Lincolnshire for four SL 16-1200 A. These four also represented SMV’s first forklifts in the UK.

The machine designated 16 tonnes at 1200mm load centre and was the first of its type originating from the new Markaryd facility, hence the designation ‘A’. This machine was the most highly specified machine of its day. Supplied as standard with a 5m high lifting mast and Michelin XZM tyres, the machine was one of the first heavy lift trucks to have variable displacement pumps in the hydraulic system. These systems are now the norm for today’s modern machines.

However, it was under the bonnet where the real strength lay.  The SL 10-to 16 tonne range was powered by a 9-litre Scania engine developing 165kw and over 1000Nm of torque at just 1500rpm making it easily the most powerful machine it’s class – as much as double that of competitors. The same Scania engine and Clark 32000 gearbox powered machines up to 28 tonnes capacity so 16 tonne work represented an absolute doddle. Such was the torque, it could lift 16 tonnes on tickover!

Coopers sold over 200 of these machines with its successor, the ‘B’ version and are still supporting a large quantity of these units to this day. The ‘A’ series machines were for the discerning buyer but as engine emission legislation was adopted, the Scania DI9 was dropped in favour of a less-powerful. lower-torque, Volvo engine. Whilst still an excellent engine, they lacked the grunt, raw power and distinctive noise that, for the purists, set ‘A’ machine apart from the other machines of the day.

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