Phillip French's passion for trucks and the trucking industry began when he started wagging school to work in Toparis Brothers fruit shop and offside in their trucks doing cafÃ© and fruit shop deliveries from Goulburn down as far as Barellan, returning with mixed produce from Griffith farms back to Goulburn. After leaving school, Phillip drove for the Toparis Brothers doing that same run for the next two years, unlicensed until he obtained his C-Class licence.
After leaving Toparis Brothers, Phillip drove for Frank Crane/Towing, employed to do crash salvage and crane jobs in the Goulburn area.
Phillip moved to Kyogle to work for Kevin Langley driving semi-trailers, a 1984 International with a 160 Cummins and a 190 International with a 180 Blown Cummins for six months on a C-Class licence until obtaining his trailer licence carting general freight to Sydney and Melbourne via Kyogle.
In 1973 and turning 21, Phillip and his partner relocated to Sydney and obtained a position at Linfox driving a 2150 Acco and a Transtar with a 250 Cummins for two years carting bottles from the Glass Works at Penrith to Melbourne and Adelaide, returning with general freight. Phillips driving career at John L Pierce Transport Company began on the 21st August 1975 driving a half sleeper cab Atkinson with a 250 Cummins carting general and building products from Sydney to Brisbane and Sydney to Melbourne with a few trips across to Perth when the Nullarbor was still mostly dirt. In 1976 Phillip was given a new SAR with a VT903 with tanker trailers carting fuel between Canberra and Melbourne during the week returning to Sydney at weekends. Phillips next truck was a Cabover Kenworth with a VT903 once again carting general freight between Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and sometimes north Queensland, returning with a load of tin ore from Mt Garnet. After four years Phillip received a Road Boss Tipper with a 300 Cummins, carting coke to the foundry in Toowoomba, returning with grain to Kellogg's in Sydney. After this, his next three trucks were a W-Model with a 350 Cummins, a T600 Kenworth with a 365 Cummins and a CLR Mack fitted with a Detroit 12 litre motor.
The first 10 year period, Phillip carted mostly general freight, loading and unloading as well as tarping his trailer before heading interstate. The last 10 years on interstate using Tautliners but still having to load and unload his truck. During the latter period he was privileged to deliver the 500 cc motor bikes from Sydney Airport to Phillip Island for the first two Australian Grand Prix's in 1989 and 1990, and also given the opportunity to travel with two Variety Club of Australia Bashes carrying baggage, spare parts, tyres and other items needed by the Bash organisers and entrants. In the 1990 Redex Bash Bourke to Burnie, Phillip left from the Wonderland car park at Eastern Creek and meeting Peter Brock, Alan Moffatt, Jackie Love and Normie Rowe. In the 1992 Heart to Heart Bash, he left from Sydney and travelled to Ayers Rock. In 1994, Phillip entered his truck and trailer in the Glenn Innes Truck Show, winning the best Truck and Trailer of the Show. While driving the CLR Mack, he was also requested to pose sitting in the cabin for a photo shoot for the cover of Mack Australia Brochure for This Bulldog Has a Different Bite being the Detroit power.
In March 1995, Phillip transferred to the tanker division within the John L Pierce Company loading tankers for the major oil refineries in Sydney and delivering fuel to local and country NSW service stations and depots. During this 20 year period, Phillip had driven the following trucks. A T600 Kenworth with a N-14 Cummins, a T601 with a N-14 plus Cummins, an Iveco with ISX Cummins, three different SAR Kenworths powered by 1.5-x Cummins, a200 series Cab Over EGR 500 Cummins and is currently driving a T409 SAR powered by a 550 E-GR Cummins. All these trucks pulled 19 metre tankers. Except for the first two, all the trucks Phillip drove for Pierce,s, all the rest were brand new.
On the 21stAugust 2015, Phillip will have been employed driving heavy vehicles for Pierces for 40 years and overall have been involved in the trucking industry for almost 50 years.
Phillip was nicknamed Show Pony by Jimmy Bareham at John L Pierce because he was always washing and cleaning his truck.