The Argosy COE, popular in Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, appeared to vanish from the U.S. market in the mid-200’s. Recently, however, it came to light that the Argosy COE has continued to be produced in North America, as a glider kit. It was not in high demand and therefore was not advertised along with the rest of Daimler Truck’s catalog. An uptick in interest has caused a resurrection of the vehicle in the North American market, after such marketing opportunities as having an Argosy feature in the 2014 film “Transformers: Age of Extinction” and small companies advertising 2015 glider kits.
Three engine options (Detroit Diesel DD15, Cummins ISX/Signature EGR, or the Cummins X15e5 with ADEPT technology), eRail technology, a spacious cab, and swing out steps make the Argosy a practical, yet luxurious option for companies like Wal-Mart, or even smaller trucking businesses. There are also collectors who have chosen to refurbish or alter the Argosy into something worthy of showing off at gatherings across the country, like the 2001 Freightliner Argosy working as a Mobile Surgical Services Freightliner, which received an extreme makeover from its owners, who partner with Mobile Health of New Zealand in order to provide surgical services as they travel around the country.
The vehicle has a 110 inch hi top sleeper cab, with a Cummins Signature Series 500 horsepower engine. The trailer unit was a custom build from Mills Tui, and weighs in at 42 tonnes. It measures 20 meters, and uses a Roadranger 18-speed gearbox. Two drivers take care of the traveling as the doctors, anesthesiologists, nurses, and patients merely show up at the appointed time and enter the bus to prep and conduct surgery.
If you’re ever in New Zealand, you may have the opportunity to see one of these big guys up close and marvel at the alterations that have made it into the medical marvel seen today. If you’re in Canada and the United States, however, the target market is quite a bit different, usually larger companies such as Wal-Mart, who use the glider kit and install their own preferences for engines. Of course, individual owners or those interested need to be aware that the glider kit is only compatible with certain engines. Do your research before committing, as you will need to find an engine that is from 2004 or earlier.
Now that you know the Argosy never left, does that pique your interest in the vehicle? Want to learn more about the shy vehicle that works behind the scenes? You can check out other sites for more information — I recommend reading up on New Zealand’s Mobile Surgical Units, Trucking Info’s article on the “return” of the Argosy, or EcoModder pages to look at more pictures of this unique vehicle.