Getting the glider on the road

by Mark Lee

The glider has finally hit the road. There were times when I didn’t think it was going to happen. As I wrote before, it all depended on selling my truck. As the deal I was offered as a trade-in wasn’t what I was looking for, it was a huge learning curve and there were some nerve-wracking moments.

Trading a truck is always going to come at a cost. You may be offered top dollar for the trade-in, but then you can’t get such a good price for its replacement. Or, you get a great deal on the new truck, but take a hit on the old one. That’s the nature of the beast; truck sales is all about one thing, making money for the dealer. They’re not going to do anything for free and you shouldn’t expect them to.

This situation was unusual, in that I wasn’t actually looking at replacing the truck. It was only the fact that the glider was available that the deal happened at all. As much as I wanted a glider, I was also very happy with the truck I had. It had been very reliable, it got decent miles per gallon, and my driver loved it, saying it was the best truck he had ever driven.

So, there was no real need for me to replace it. In fact, had I been able to find a good driver for it, I would’ve kept it, but expansion needs to be planned out carefully and being out on the road myself, that was not going to be possible to do in a way I was comfortable with, so it had to go.

Fortunately, the market for gliders is very small and I was able to stretch the deal out until I sold my truck for the price I wanted, but that wasn’t a simple process. Finding a buyer was easy enough; I advertised it on one of the truck sales websites and got a bite almost right away. It was the rest of it that kept me awake at night.

The buyer had to get his financing in place, I had to deal with my financing both for the sale of the old truck and the purchase of the new truck, and there were constant phone calls I had to make as I was the middle man. I also had to deal with my carrier to get the old truck signed off and the decals and satellite equipment removed from the old truck and installed on the new truck, all while I still had to put miles under the bumper and make sure my driver had a truck to drive when the old one came off the road.

It was a crazy couple of weeks and anyone thinking of trading in for a new truck would be wise to work out whether the extra work and time involved in doing things yourself is worth the hassle. It could be a better and cheaper option to drive into a dealer in your old truck and drive out in your new one.

So now that I’ve got the glider, what am I expecting to gain compared to a new truck? Quite a lot, actually. As I wrote last month, there are a multitude of benefits, the lack of a Check

Engine light being number one in my mind. It’s not that I’m expecting 100% reliability – there hasn’t been a truck made that doesn’t break at some time. However, the pre-emission engines were not so fragile and that’s what I’m concerned about. If I break down now it will be because something has physically broken, not because a piece of electronic wizardry has shut down the whole operation.

I’m also expecting residual value to remain strong, not because I plan to sell it, but you never know what’s around the corner. The market for gliders is small, yet the people who do want one are well aware of their value. Plus, it won’t be long before the old-school long-nose trucks are no longer available. The day the announcement is made that you can no longer order a new one should increase their value overnight. All trucks are depreciating assets, but long-term I think the glider will hold its value better than anything else. Unless they’re outlawed by legislation at some time in the future, but as far as I’m concerned, this glider is the best truck I could buy.


A fourth generation trucker and trucking journalist, Mark Lee uses his 25 years of transcontinental trucking in Europe, Asia, North Africa and now North America to provide an alternative view of life on the road.

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