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Six Mile’s Vintage TB15 – one of the oldest working Takeuchi mini excavators

By February 23, 2022Latest News

The recent competition to find the oldest working Takeuchi got the industry talking early vintage machines that still get to work in 2021. Takeuchi’s Dealer for Kent CBL highlighted Six Mile Excavators as one business with a long Takeuchi history.

One of Takeuchi’s oldest customers, Kent based Six Mile Excavators have a very long tradition with mini diggers and still champion one of the oldest working Takeuchi machines in the UK, an original TB15 bought in 1986.

Six Mile Owner Steve Shevill’s was just a young lad when Takeuchi first hit UK shores, but he remembers it well. His dad Colin who started the Six Mile business, bought an early Priestman badged Takeuchi mini digger back in 1980, at the annual visit to SED. His first thought was, what a great idea and decided to buy there and then.

After Priestman folded in the early 80s, Takeuchi was very nearly gone from the UK, but keen fans of the brand Queghans in Oldham imported new models. In the southeast, King and Stevens Ltd soon got on board for deals. Owner Keith King soon built up a fan base of customers, and Six Mile bought their first ever TB15 Takeuchi in 1986 and it is still working today some 36 years later.

Mr Takeuchi sat down with Six Mile Excavators company
Mr Takeuchi visits Keith King of King & Stevens

Steve thinks King and Stevens Ltd were key in those early days, Keith King went to great lengths to support his growing band of customers sourcing spare parts from Takeuchi in the USA. He even got Mr Takeuchi on his first ever visit to the UK, to see Colin and Six Mile to hear what they thought about the machine and how enthusiastic they were.

Six Mile’s vintage classic TB15 canopy machine has never had a re-paint in all its 36-year history. In unfamiliar orange colours for a Takeuchi, it outperformed anything else on the market at that time. Still operating and in use for Six Mile doing small jobs. (Pictured here). The machine is still dependable today and the build quality has really stood the test of time.

Steve recalls, “Takeuchi machines at that time were seen as so ahead of the competition. It had the highest dump height of any mini on the market, but the standout feature was the unique control levers at side. Not at the front just at the sides of the seats, this made for comfy all day operating – no leaning forward all day when digging. The shape of the canopy at the front allowed the boom to fold in closer to allow for the extra dump height and provided  extra width for the mechanical control levers.” These features led the way to Takeuchi’s later servo joystick controls, another first for the industry launched a few years later.

Six Mile so liked their brand-new Takeuchi minis they added another TB15 this time with a heated cab. Two year later TB35 and TB36 followed on with new direct levers and then servo control. All great machines of the 80’s.

Six Mile Excavators still getting Miles out of a 36 year old Takeuchi TB15.………