Family owned business celebrates 50 years of success

Road transport well and truly runs through the veins of Allan Duell, who recently celebrated 50 years in business.

From the first trucks he purchased after setting up shop in 1973 to the latest addition that’s been done up to mark Duells Furniture Removalists 50th anniversary, Allan Duell has never been afraid to let his trucks stand out from the crowd.

“When my father Jack saw the very first purple truck he said, ‘You might as well shut up shop now’,” Allan recalled.

“But I guess standing out from the crowd was the right choice.”

At the time, Allan was a one-man, one-truck operation tackling the mail run from the post office to the railway station in Mount Gambier, South Australia.

However, the family’s transport history in the region goes much further back. Allan’s great grandfather carted goods with a horse and wagon during Mount Gambier’s earliest days and his father Jack ran a contract sawmill and delivery service.

The new Isuzu FXD 165-350 4×2 model. Image: Isuzu Trucks Australia

Allan has been able to grow his transport operation to span several states, covering local and interstate moves. He’s also designed a customised packaging system to protect client’s valuables during transport.

The journey for Duells has included the purchase of Mount Gambier’s Ausline Removals and Storage in 2013 and the acquisition of Adelaide-based All States Removals in 2015.

Duells’ distinct purple trucks have become a regular sight along numerous highways, with the most frequent jobs taking place between Melbourne and Adelaide – but Allan says they will happily transport anywhere in the country.

“We have runs up to Darwin and into northern Queensland, including moving a household to a dug-out underground home in Coober Pedy,” he explained.

Duells runs an impressive array of trucks, with the light-and medium-duty fleet bearing the Isuzu badge, with Kenworths and Volvos at the heavier end of the spectrum.

The TK model Isuzu used by Duells Furniture Removalists in the 1970s. Image: Isuzu Trucks Australia

One of the first trucks he purchased was an Isuzu TK model with Pantech body (branded as Bedford by Isuzu at the time).

This first TK model performed well for furniture removals, instigating Allan’s life-long appreciation for the brand and expansion of the fleet to match demand over the coming years.

It recently saw him add a new Isuzu FXD 165-350 4×2 model.

To celebrate their 50-year milestone, this FXD is wrapped in special livery celebrating Duells’ success – and of course, it’s purple.

“As we continue to celebrate 50 years in operation, having a special wrap on this FXD showcases how Isuzu Trucks have been the backbone of this business,” said Allan.

“Our purple rigs always stand out, but this truck really is the pride of the fleet – it replaces a 2015 model of the same type that has covered over 800,000 kilometres without any issues, which we are keeping on for moving containers around Mount Gambier.”

The new FXD 165-350 features an enclosed body with a capacity of 58 cubic metres, with additional side-lockers for storing loading ramps, ropes and heavy-duty blankets.

The truck weighs in at 16,500kg GVM and has a GCM of 38,000kg which allows for towing a seven-metre trailer that can carry up to 45 cubic metres of additional freight.

Under the hood, the FXD is powered by Isuzu’s 6UZ1-TCC six-cylinder turbo-diesel engine, producing 257 kW (350 PS) at 2000 rpm with torque of 1422 Nm at 1400 rpm. ZF nine-speed manual transmission matches this power output for maximum driver control over all terrain.

Among the safety and comfort features in the truck are an ISRI 6860/875 NTS air suspension seat, LED main and halogen high beam headlamps, roof-mounted clearance lamps and front foglamps, a low light reversing camera and anti-slip steps, plus the MyIsuzu Co-Pilot AV unit with a 10.1-inch, high capacitive touchscreen and Android Automotive operating system.

“The new truck has all the added safety features, plus for the driver it has truck-specific SatNav capability and ensures the driver is comfortable,” Allan said.

“Jumping back into a cosy cab is welcomed by all our drivers, as they’re loading and unloading in all types of places and weather conditions.”

As Duells celebrates its 50 year milestone, Allan is rightfully proud of all the business has achieved.

Among his major highlights was being inducted into the National Road Transport Museum’s Hall of Fame last year.

Allan Duell was inducted into the National Road Transport Museum’s Hall of Fame in 2023. Image: Isuzu Trucks Australia

“Growing a business over the course of 50 years is a feat in itself, but to be recognised by the transport industry is really special,” Allan said.

“Across the journey I have had 30 Isuzu trucks, including a JCR I got in 1985 that I still own –  it’s my favourite truck, simply because of what it has meant to me and the business.

“We also have a 1990 FVR model that we used to call ‘The Bitumen Boeings’ which we now use to transport our speedway race car that Duells runs.

“It’s done over a million kilometres and the original engine has never been touched… it’s still going strong, just like the business.”

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