An Italian rarity.
Transport Magazine

An Italian rarity.

Dennis Rekate’s NG 1936 S.

Both his grandfather and his father relied on the new generation of towing vehicles – NG for short – for their haulage company. Dennis Rekate has restored one just like that. And with a very unusual engine.

In fact Dennis Rekate had wanted an NG from the outset. Several photos showing the fleet in the 1980’s and 1990’s hang in the office of the family‑run haulage company: medium‑duty NG semitrailer trucks in municipal orange that towed furniture box bodies across the whole of Germany. “I wanted one exactly like that,” says Rekate and points across the huge workshop building, “but my first classic truck was that LPS 2032.”

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It all started with the LPS 2032; now Dennis Rekate is delighted with his new addition.

But he couldn’t quite shake off that hankering. He searched and searched. He was almost on his way to collect a 1748 SK when he received an offer via an acquaintance. The truck on offer was so rare and tempting that he arranged a viewing appointment between Christmas and New year. After a test drive he knew that truck and no other would do.

Previously pure white, the 1936 S with its long-distance cab was an Italian export version, initially registered in 1987. And it only had 350,000 kilometres on the clock. It was no problem to register it as a classic truck. The unwelded body just needed a bit of metalwork done on the lower edge at the front and then Rekate had the frame painted ruby red and the body municipal orange.

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The NG 1936 was first registered – in Italy.

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Mercedes‑Benz NG 85 1936 S.

Year of construction: 1987/1988
Engine: OM 423
Displacement: 18.270 cc
Output: 261 kW (355 hp)
Cylinder arrangement: V10
Transmission: 16‑speed, double‑H gearshift with a splitter unit

“Classic vehicles are also commercial vehicles – and I want to be able to use them.”

Dennis Rekate, owner of the NG 85 1936 S
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Some road maps and a tachograph disk from the original driver were still in the cab. “The NG low loader took huge wine tanks from close to Lecce all the way to Spain,” Rekate reports and pulls out the original Italian licence plate number from behind the co‑driver’s seat. “Everything is still here.” As he attaches great importance to details from that time, Rekate has added his own maps to the old road maps and decorated the cab with the appropriate stickers and pennants. He even masked the original Italian frame plate at the rear when the truck was painted. “You couldn’t get that new,” he explains. Even after 33 years the technology is all as good as new; master mechanic Rekate only had to make a few cosmetic changes.

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Relics from the truck’s working life: the road maps and the licence plate number belonged to the truck’s first owner.

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The model series.

Cab, engines, axles or transmission – compared with the LP series almost everything was new on the New‑Generation Mercedes‑Benz cab‑over‑engine trucks. The modular system based on the 400 engine model series permitted the use of V‑engines with six, eight or ten cylinders. First available from 1985 the OM 423 was used mainly for construction haulage. It was an absolute rarity in semitrailer trucks.

The long-distance cab was fitted with a completely closed floor and a gearshift system for which the gearshift linkage extended like a telescope when the cab was tilted. This design provided for particularly good noise insulation.

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“It’s almost a work of art”: Dennis Rekate is impressed by the ten‑cylinder engine with a displacement of 18.3 litres.

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Thus equipped he has helped out on a few small tours with the 1936 truck. But that will remain an exception. That said, “They are trucks – and I want to be able to use them,” says the classic truck fan who is responsible for the fleet belonging to his family’s company. The next thing he wants to do, is contact the original driver. “I did that with my LPS and the original owners – a haulage company – were thrilled to hear it was still around.”

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A question of detail: Dennis Rekate is still looking for the right model plate – at the moment it reads “1636” instead of “1936”.

Photos & video: Alexander Tempel