Custom Removal Vehicle Is The Perfect Fit For Tomalin & Son

Every vehicle in your fleet should fit your business needs and budget. There’s no sense in running a vehicle that’s too large for your logistics. When Tomalin & Son independent funeral directors wanted a new removal vehicle, they needed a smart but small solution which could navigate the narrow roads of their local area. Superior UK helped them find the ideal solution.

 

Tomalin Proace by Superior UK

Tomalin & Son’s stylish new Proace

Tomalin & Son’s previous removal vehicle was a a Mercedes-Benz Vito supplied by Superior UK. After several years, it was time for an upgrade. Manager Kris Philips worked with Jon Helm, Superior UK’s Southern Salesman, to find a suitable vehicle that could be custom fitted with an appropriate deck system.

Kris was given free rein to research and source the ideal vehicle. After an in-depth search, he came up with the new Toyota Proace van. Superior UK had supplied Tomalin’s previous removal vehicle, and Kris knew they had the experience and expertise to help kit out the new Proace.

“Kris contacted us to discuss an upgrade to their existing Vito,” says Jon. “We showed him the latest Vitos, but soon realised this vehicle is too large for the type of driving Tomalin do. Vehicles seem to be getting bigger, but rural roads are not!”

The Toyota Proace was an excellent alternative to the Mercedes-Benz Vito. It’s a new vehicle to the market and has a smart, dignified look (almost like a mini Vito). The size of the Proace is ideal for the type of deck Tomalin need. After some efficient consultations, Superior UK got the ball rolling.

Tomalin Proace side

Side access to the new decking system

A Smaller Vehicle For Rural Driving

Kris ordered a new van from Toyota, who delivered it directly to Superior UK. As soon as it landed, the team at Superior UK started on the deck build. The Proace was transformed from empty van to a purpose-built removal vehicle in a matter of weeks.

“Many of our removal vehicles have our Rise&Fall decking system, but Tomalin had no need for it,” explains Jon. “There’s no point commissioning a vehicle which is excessive to your needs. So we designed a single fixed deck which fitted the way Tomalin work. Henley-on-Thames is an old town with a narrow bridge and small roads. The Toyota van is an attractive prospect when space is tight. It has the scope to include plenty of useful details in a custom fit.”

Superior UK always work with the customer to ensure their vehicle suits how they plan to use it. Jon took time to listened to Tomalin’s needs and understand which items they carry on a day to day basis.

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Ample Storage And Easy Access

“We made sure all of the items fit into the draw mechanisms of custom deck,” he explains. “There’s a large under-deck storage compartment draw at the rear which also forms the ramp, and another a draw accessed either side by a sliding door. This set up gives Tomalin ample storage for everyday essential items, including their first call stretcher. And it looks beautiful, too, fully lined out in burr walnut.”

Kris is delighted with his custom fit Toyota Proace. The new removal vehicle was his project, and he couldn’t be more pleased with how it turned out. Tomalin now have a new removal vehicle which looks smart, dignified, and professional. It handles the narrow roads of Henley-on-Thames and will be an asset to the business as the weather turns cold and icy. Inside the vehicle is neat and tidy, helping Tomalin’s team carry out their duties efficiently and smoothly.

Custom Fit In A Matter Of Weeks

“Kris likes our deck system, and we are delighted to have found him a cost effective solution that fits his needs,” says Jon. “The entire process ran smoothly – he gave us the vehicle, went on holiday, and it was all done to his specifications by the time he returned to work.”

Tomalin & Son is a locally owned independent family company which has been in the Jones family for over 60 years. They are situated in the heart of Henley-on-Thames. Superior UK are just down the road in Reading, but serve customers all over the UK and are present to oversee every vehicle delivery and handover.

This is a blog post from Superior UK Automotive – the Superior UK new and used car website is here.

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Adam Collier Funeral Services’s Decked-Out Removal Vehicle Turns Heads

Adam Collier Funeral Services was started by Adam Collier in 2012, and has rapidly grown to cover a large rural area of North Yorkshire from two offices. After 6 years of business (and a significant amount of mileage!), the firm’s removal vehicle needed an upgrade.

Adam Collier receiving his removal vehicleWhen Adam decided to replace his old removal vehicle, he talked to Superior UK about the possibilities of a purpose-built custom vehicle. The result of those discussions was this professional looking, hard-working custom Ford Transit: the perfect combination of reliable workhorse and professional brand representative.

“Our first removal vehicle was purchased from a garage,” says Adam. “It has served us well, but was never our ideal choice of removal vehicle. It was an early purchase which has seen us through the first few years of the business. But after 6 years, I knew we needed to upgrade.”

Adam’s business covers a vast area of mostly rural postcodes, including a large swath of the North Yorks moors. Every trip to the Crematorium involves at least an hour’s driving, and some trips can mean going to York and Scarborough hospitals to retrieve 3-4 bodies.

Adam knew he needed a serious removal vehicle that could withstand some serious milage, but look great and show off the highly professional and caring image of the business.

“I knew Superior UK provides new hearses and limousines,” he says, “so I got in touch with them to see about a new removal vehicle. I hadn’t appreciated quite how many options are possible when you go for a custom build!”

Adam Collier Transit DeckingAdam started the business by himself, and he now has 2 offices, 4 full-time members of staff, and does around 150 funerals a year. His vehicles need to reflect the professional, modern values of this independent funeral firm. Superior UK’s Northern representative, Greg Platt, visited Adam to discuss the scope of a new removal vehicle.

“I knew what kind of vehicle I wanted,” says Adam. “Greg showed us the different types of decking we could have and talked through all the specs. We opted for the grey decking on the bottom, with the wooden decking to come down when we visit private residences. We cover such a large area that we need purpose built decking. It means we can bring everyone back into our care without needing 2 vehicles or multiple trips. The final result is a spacious and adaptable vehicle which looks much more professional than our previous removal vehicle.”

Adam Collier Transit Custom Graphic SideKevin Smith of Superior UK was delighted to help Adam with his first purchase from Superior.

“The vehicle was built to order,” he explains. “Our Northern representative Greg worked with Adam, advising all the finer details ensuring everything was to Adam’s exact requirements. We are proud of the finished product, and happy to hear it is doing such a good job for Adam.”

Left Greg Platt Superior, Right Adam CollierAdam’s new removal vehicle looks so good that it has garnered praise from employees and families.

“We are even using it on a funeral soon,” he says. “The family didn’t want a hearse, and when we picked up using the Ford Transit, the wife noticed how smart it is inside, and asked if we can use it for the funeral.”

Any removal vehicle needs to be hard-working and reliable, but when you cover such a large rural area these qualities come to the fore.

“This is our workhorse vehicle,” explains Adam. “It needs to look good, perform well, and withstand the miles – because we rack them up very quickly! It’s great that we could commission something a bit special even thought this isn’t a hearse or a limo.”

As Adam discovered, removal vehicles can be as well thought out as any other fleet vehicle, helping promote the values of your business and strengthening your brand in the local area.

This is a blog post from Superior UK funeral vehicles. Our main website is here.

Superior UK Father/Son Road Trip 2018

Superior UK’s Kevin Smith has been riding motorbikes for years (professional courtesy prevents us from disclosing exactly how long!) We’ve posted in previous years about his European “road trip” adventures. But 2018’s road trip was a little different…and very special.
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In August 2018, Kevin and his son Oliver went on their first father/son motorbike road trip.
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The guys boarded the Eurostar at Folkestone and spent 7 days touring the roads and mountain passes of Northern France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and Germany.
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They’re home now, safe and sound (much to the relief of Lynne, Kevin’s wife and Ollie’s Mum!) Here are their highlights of the trip.

After a quick ride across the top of France from Calais to Belgium, the trip started in earnest after an overnight stop.
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Kevin and Oliver had a fantastic run out of Belgium, through Luxembourg and France to Baden Baden (Germany). This was back during that crazy heatwave we had – it was a scorching 36*C during the day, and still 29*C at 10pm!
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On day 3, they took the B500 through the Black Forest to leave Baden Baden, and headed for Switzerland. It was another scorching day, with incredible scenery unfolding along the way. The roads were perfect for riding – smooth with grippy tarmac and great sweeping bends so the guys could relax and enjoy the flowing momentum.
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They soon crossed the border into Switzerland where the Alps loomed large, consuming the horizon. No more flowy roads here! They had to navigate 180* hairpin bends in 1st gear (cover your eyes, Lynne!)
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11hrs in the saddle was enough for the day, so they decided to haul up at a hotel, grab some dinner and discuss the day’s adventure.
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Day 4 was a little different, with only 140 miles covered. But it was quality over quantity, with five of the best Swiss mountain passes. Or maybe 5 of the World’s best mountain passes! The forecast thunderstorms and rain didn’t show, and it was a great day for riding.
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By day 5, Kevin & Oliver were feeling the last 4 days of riding (and feeling pretty sad to be leaving Switzerland). They headed north west and across the border into France to explore the Vosges and ride the highest mountain – the Grand Ballon. It was “a little blowy” apparently – but then again it is 4,402ft at the top.
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After 8.5hrs riding time they were pleased to arrive in Munster for their overnight stop. The town is famous for two things: cheese, and storks (the latter of which nest above the church!)
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The final leg of their tour took them across the flat landscape of Northern France, up country towards Épernay for their final stop over. There was time for a little detour to Gueux for a walk around the old road racing circuit (looks like there’s some restoration going on).
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They arrived home with mixed emotions but a ton of great memories! A father/son trip to cherish.

This is a blog post from the Superior UK blog. Our main website is here.  Or you can join us on Facebook.

 

A E Stoodley’s Queen II Pilato takes centre stage



When A E Stoodley & Son hosted a gala event to launch their Community Fund, the firm’s new Queen II Pilato hearse had a starring role. Tracey Warren of A E Stoodley & Son tells us what’s so special about her new Pilato.
Tracey Warren of Stoodley with Queen II at Community Fund launch

“I’ve been at A E Stoodley & Son for 18 years, but I took over fully in 2017,” says Tracey. “We are a very progressive, forward-thinking funeral director, and my goal was to bring our brand in line with our values. One of the first things I did was replace our existing vehicle.”

A E Stoodley & Son were running a Mercedes E320 Pollmann build which was about 20 years old – a true workhorse of a car but no longer in line with her vision. Tracey wanted something new, unique, stylish and modern for the business in 2018.

Love At First Sight

The Pilato Queen II was the first vehicle she saw at the National Funeral Exhibition last year. Even though she took a good look around, she couldn’t help coming back to it.

“I assumed we’d get another Mercedes,” she says, “we’ve always had a Mercedes fleet. The second I saw the ‘Queen II’ on Superior UK’s stand, I knew I wanted it. I spent a lot of time looking around, but there was nothing else that came close for me!

Stoodley's Queen II 2

“I had a strong vision of how I wanted our vehicle to look, and the scope of the Queen II allowed me to look beyond the demonstrator. I knew we could create something really special for A E Stoodley & Son.”

Kevin and Peter Smith of Superior UK spoke to Tracey at the NFE and help her to make her vision a reality. She knew exactly what she wanted, and Superior UK were able to advise her with their extensive knowledge and experience of Pilato vehicles. They even facilitated a visit to the Pilato factory in Nervesa della Battaglia, Italy, so Tracey could see her Queen II progressing through the build process.

Watching The Build At The Pilato Factory

In February (6 months after placing the order), Tracey went over to Pilato with Peter, Kevin, and Jon of Superior UK.

“The entire trip was memorable,” she says. “I had a wonderful tour around the factory and saw our Queen II in her grey shell as she started to take shape. It was amazing to see what Pilato do and watch the build in action.”

Tracey was even able to add some very special personalised touches to the car during the build phase.

Stoodley's Queen II coffin chamber

The Most Personalised Details

“I signed the vehicle inside the back wing, and had our logo etched into one of the windows. It was great to have that level of detail available to us. It made me even more excited to take delivery of the finished vehicle.”

Superior UK kept in touch with Tracey throughout the process, and then delivered the car to her by specialist transporter in June 2018.

“I don’t mind admitting that I cried when I saw it,” says Tracey. “It is absolutely stunning, beyond anything I could have comprehended. It is everything I’d hoped for – and the rest!”

Soon after delivery, the Queen II was put centre stage at a special event hosted by A E Stoodley & Son – the launch of their Community Fund. The funeral firm have always been community focused, they are at the heart of the town, for the local people.

Centre Stage At Community Fund Launch

In their 95th year of trading in the town, Tracey launched the Stoodley & Son Community Fund. This initiative is the latest in the firm’s community focused activities. Tracey presented the first award on the evening to The Teresa Braley Memorial Garden. A E Stoodley & Son also run a free Bereavement Support Group (which has supported 120 families over 5 years) and hosts a number of charity events throughout the year.

“People want a funeral director they can feel comfortable with,” says Tracey, “our community work makes us more noticeable and approachable. It was great to be able to welcome so many local people to the launch event. We were only expecting 40 people, and we had over 120! The Queen II was a stunning centrepiece and a real talking point.”

Stoodley's Queen II 3

Since the community fund launch evening, the Queen II has been out and about in the local area – working hard and turning heads.

“We get plenty of looks,” says Tracey. “People even cross the road to look at the car and talk to us about it!”

Stoodley's Queen II detail

A E Stoodley & Son’s new Queen II Pilato has helped bring Tracey’s vision for the business to life. Superior UK were delighted to play a part in the journey.

“A E Stoodley’s Queen II Pilato takes centre stage

” is a blog post from Superior UK. The main Superior UK website is here.

New Vito Private Ambulance Brings Fleet In Line For M Garton & Son

When Malcolm Garton of M Garton & Son in Hull decided to upgrade his private ambulance, he knew it was time to invest in a vehicle that matched the rest of his smart Mercedes fleet. He had been to Superior UK in the past, so knew exactly who to ask for his next Mercedes.

“We have Mercedes limousines, so we really wanted a Mercedes removal vehicle to complete the fleet,” explained Malcolm. “We had been running a Vauxhall Vivaro but, even though it wasn’t very old, it was giving us no end of problems. In fact it ended up off the road for a while, which was far from ideal. We needed a new vehicle which would perform as good as it looks.”

Malcolm and his wife Barbara are co-directors of the family firm, which was founded in 1888 by Mark Garton – Malcolm’s great-Grandfather. The business has five offices across East Yorkshire, serving a wide area which runs along the north of the Humber: from South Cave across to Hedon, taking in the city of Hull.

M Garton & Son’s new private ambulance needed to be modern, dignified, and discreet to stay in keeping with the firm’s reputation and image. Superior UK’s Northern sales associate, Greg Platt, helped Malcolm put together the perfect specification.
Malcolm Garton with Greg Platt (Superior UK Northern Sales)
“We knew we wanted the Mercedes Vito, and wouldn’t need the full Superior ‘Rise&Fall’ decking system,” said Malcolm. “So we asked Superior UK to build a lower fixed type decking system finished in a hearse type wood laminate,” said Malcolm. “Greg helped us with the deck, interior, paintwork, finish, and choice of trimmings.”
Greg Platt Superior UK Northern Sales with Malcolm Garton
M Garton & Son’s finished Vito is a very smart, modern-looking removal vehicle that fits in perfectly with the rest of the fleet.

The Vito has a walnut interior, and is finished in flint grey metallic paintwork with colour coded bumpers and all-round glazing ensure for a discreet removal. The new Vito doesn’t just look great – it’s a pleasure to drive, too, with driver aids including air-conditioning, parking sensors and reversing camera.

“Superior UK made the entire process really easy,” said Malcolm. “We knew from our previous dealings with them that we would be treated very fairly, with great customer service and after care should we ever need it. The Vito is a great addition to our fleet and a vast improvement on our previous private ambulance. Everyone here enjoys driving it, and the families appreciate the dignified and professional look of the vehicle.”

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This is a blog post from Superior UK. Our main website is here.

Hywel Griffiths Funeral Directors’s First Mercedes-Benz Vehicle Exceeds Expectations

Hywel Griffiths Delivery Vito 2

When Keith and Peter Griffiths decided to invest in a new removal vehicle, they knew they did not want anything resembling a van. After detailed talks with Superior UK Automotive, they took ownership of a stunning new Mercedes-Benz Vito which looks so good that it can operate as a multi-purpose vehicle. Keith Griffiths talks us through his high-spec Vito.

Griffiths Vito

“It was very important to us that our new vehicle didn’t look like a van,” said Keith, who represents the 4th generation of the Griffiths family. “Although the vehicle would primarily be used as a removal vehicle, we wanted something that looked good enough to be a hearse if needed.”

The company’s existing fleet vehicles are Ford Mk11s, but they had always been an admirer of Mercedes-Benz design. So Keith contacted Superior UK Automotive.

“It was the first time we had worked with the Griffiths family,” said Kevin Smith from Superior UK, “and it was a real pleasure to hear about their vision for a multi-purpose removal type vehicle. Keith wanted the appearance of a passenger vehicle, with the practicalities of a van. I was excited to introduce him to the idea of a Vito, as I knew it could surpass his expectations.”

After some weeks of talks, a detailed specification was agreed.

Griffiths Vito Decking

“We have never liked the idea of a van that states it is a Private Ambulance,” said Keith. “Kevin understood exactly what we meant, and was very helpful. The finished vehicle is spectacular, we are very impressed.”

Hywel Griffiths’s Vito has a top quality exterior design, finished with a high-quality interior, making it ideal for home and hospital collections.

“I admit that I was always wary of this kind of vehicle, but our experience with Superior UK has completely changed my view,” said Keith. “Our Vito is so beautiful inside that it could pass as a hearse. We chose a burr walnut finish interior floor to ceiling, plus roof rails, chrome fittings on the sills, side steps, and alloy wheels. The high quality fittings and accessories to the interior really compliment the Mercedes-Benz exterior design.”

Brothers Peter and Keith, together with their children Rhodri, Lowri, Rhys and Euros are a tight-knit family business that was started in 1875. As 4th generation of this family firm, Keith prefers to deal with small companies. Superior UK Automotive are also a family business, with Kevin working alongside his father Peter. 

Hywel Griffiths Delivery Vito

“I immediately felt that Kevin understood the dynamic of a family business,” said Keith. “The communication and customer service was outstanding. We were always able to deal directly with him, and never had to wait for an answer.”

Hywel Griffiths Funeral Directors are a privately owned business based in Betws, near Ammanford in West Wales, and offers funeral services and monumental masonry with a bilingual service.

“My great-grandfather started this firm in 1875 and we are proud to see how it has grown,” said Keith. “My own Dad did 70 funerals a year, but we do around 400 now. Our fleet vehicles are an important part of our branding and the service levels we give. Superior UK are a great partner for us.”

Hywel Griffiths Funeral Directors’s First Mercedes-Benz Vehicle Exceeds Expectations is a post from the Superior UK blog. The main Superior UK website is here.

Superior UK On 2 Wheels – France, Monaco, The Alps

 

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Superior UK’s Kevin Smith isn’t just passionate about funeral vehicles! He loves anything on four wheels…. or two wheels!

Fun Facts!

Kevin got his first motorcycle when he was 8 and has had one ever since. He first tasted freedom at 16 having passed his moped test, and by 18 he had moved straight onto big bikes (500cc then 600cc and then 750c) riding every day, even through winter months. He actually spent 5 years racing 1000cc superbikes – and finished 8th in the National Championships in 2005 before hanging up his race leathers to concentrate on the family.

Here he is in 2001 at a Track Day.
2001 Track Day

Superior UK’s Annual Roadtrip

In 2001, Kevin toured the American East coast – New York to Maine – on a Harley Davidson. Since then, he’s tried to get away annually for a few days of carefree riding with a group of biking friends.

2011 – off road touring in the mountains of Andalucia on a Honda CRF450
2012 – toured France, Alsace mountains on a Harley-Davidson
2012 – 2013 – various Hare & Hound Enduro events
2014 – toured the Scottish Highlands on a Triumph 800xc
2015 – toured France, Italy, Austria, Switzerland on the Triumph 800xc
2016 – toured France, Italy, Austria on the Triumph 800xc
2017 – did a French Training Tour with IAM/ROSPA

This year’s trip was touring France and into Monaco – here are some highlights.

Day 1
11 hours and 543 miles of riding, starting in Calais and arriving in Macon.

 

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Day 2
A day of riding through Vercors complete with 1000ft drops and spectacular scenery. The guys headed off towards Grenoble and climbed up into the mountains, and took a little jaunt through the Vercors. They had a run over a few mountain routes, but the Col de la Machine was the most spectacular (even though the main photo point was closed for repairs).
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After an overnight stop in Gap, they were getting ready to head off when they saw the first vehicle of the day… (there’s no getting away from the funeral industry!)
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Day 3
Started fresh at altitude (approx. 800m) and the guys climbed into the Alps Cote D’Azur. Fabulous roads, picture postcard scenery, what more could you want!

They zig zagged their way to the D900c, what a route! Headed south and picked up Route Napoleon (some of which was closed for resurfacing). The detour was a gem – and featured a great biker bar (Snack Du Lack)
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As they ran down the side of the Alps, the Mediterranean Sea was looming large. They had a lovely run along the sea front through Nice and onto Monaco.

Monaco was mayhem, with roadworks, traffic, construction and the casino – and surrounding roads closed for a private function.

The guys finally reached Menton in the mountains for an overnight stop.

Day 4
Brought some serious altitudes as they started to tackle the Route des Grande Alpes – which would take a few days.

Kevin says this was probably the slowest he’s ever ridden, averaging 15mph over 6hrs, but the views were amazing. He now fully understands why it’s called “Route des Grande Alpes”. With the Maritime Alpes complete – they moved into the Rhone Alpes.

Day 5
A fresh start to the day (only about 5*C) as Kevin and co left from an altitude 900m.

The day’s ride was only 180miles but took 9hrs and they covered some epic roads and unbelievable views.

They topped out at just over 2,600mtrs – high enough for a dash of snow here and there. But they also passed through some big ski resorts which Kevin says looked quite strange covered in grass! (everywhere closed and deserted until December)

Then through Albertville where the 1992 Winter Olympics were held, a lovely town popular with cyclists, surrounded by plenty of nice roads.
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They stopped to admire Mont Blanc, before heading to an overnight stop in Annecy, a fantastic town with excellent restaurants and its own lake.

Day 6
They started to move towards home, but there was more adventure still to come.

The ride up was great, 320 miles covered in 9 hours of riding. There were no peage AutoRoutes so they got see some of Northern France.

They arrived in Epernay on Saturday evening, and unfortunately the Champagne houses were all enclosed up so they had to resort to window shopping…

Are you a motorbike fan? Have you ever ridden any of these routes?

This is a blog post from Superior UK – the main Superior UK website is here.