Leading accident repair specialist Hilton Coachworks is running its biggest transporter yet, a 26-tonne Mercedes-Benz Antos capable of carrying up to six cars.
The vehicle’s primary role entails collecting accident-damaged vehicles and returning them after repair. However, it is also available to other businesses within the Hilton Group, which was founded by entrepreneur Peter Hilton and operates from headquarters in Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire.
Supplied by Dealer S & B Commercials, the 6x2 Antos 2530 has a short S-ClassicSpace day cab and is powered by a state-of-the-art 7.7-litre BlueEfficiency engine that produces 220 kW (300 hp) and drives through a smooth-changing, eight-speed version of the Mercedes PowerShift 3 automated transmission. Its bodywork, meanwhile, is by Transporter Engineering, of Halstead, Essex.
Stylish in appearance, and highly efficient in operation, the Antos heavy-duty distribution chassis is also available as a 4x2 18-tonne rigid, and as a 4x2, 6x2 or on-road 6x4 tractor unit.
Mr Hilton began his career 30 years ago, when he started a car body repair business from his parents’ double garage. Today, accident repair centre Hilton Coachworks is approved by no fewer than 17 manufacturers, more than any other repairer in the UK, the first of which was Mercedes-Benz.
Other Group businesses include Hilton Rentals, classic car retailer Hilton & Moss, a new Lotus and TVR dealership, and windscreen, tyre and fleet leasing operations.
A Mercedes-Benz enthusiast, Mr Hilton has long relied on trucks and vans bearing the three-pointed star to keep his company running smoothly – the new transporter has lined-up alongside a five-car unit based on an 18-tonne Mercedes-Benz Axor.
“That truck has provided 10 years of highly reliable service,” said Hilton Group Finance Manager Paul Underdown. “This goes some way towards explaining why we’ve also chosen to base our new transporter on a Mercedes-Benz chassis, as does our long heritage with the manufacturer.”
The company’s decision to invest in the Antos was prompted by increased customer demand. “We’ve been enjoying strong growth based on the quality of our work and service,” continued Mr Underdown.
“As a result we’re travelling further afield to pick-up damaged vehicles from dealerships, customers’ homes and other locations, then return them once they’ve been repaired. The new transporter is used for the more distant work – it goes out fully-loaded each morning and we don’t see it again until the end of the day.”
As well as cars, Hilton Coachworks is equipped to repair vans and trucks up to four metres in length. It can undertake major structural work to chassis and bodywork using OEM parts, and also has staff specially trained for jobs involving fibreglass and aluminium.
Mr Underdown added: “We have had a long and successful relationship with S & B Commercials, which is both a supplier to our company and a customer. The new transporter looks very impressive in our livery and we have every confidence that it will prove to be a highly productive and cost-effective addition to the Hilton Group fleet.”