Check out this eye-catching Kenworth
DRAWING a constant crowd of onlookers at the recent Oaklands Truck Show in southern New South Wales, with its distinctive paint scheme, was the eye-catching Kenworth T900 Classic belonging to Barry Dickson of Cobram in northern Victoria.
Having worked on trucks for the last four decades as a panel beater and spray painter, Barry purchased the Kenworth in late 2016 with a view to doing something a bit different, and over a 12month period the truck was transformed.
The 25-year-old Kenworth was on its first outing after being rebuilt from the chassis rails up, and Barry shared some of the truck's history to the present time.
The Kenworth rolled off the Bayswater assembly line in 1993, originally painted white and fitted with a low-line sleeper and a Rudkin-Wiley air deflector kit with the Kenworth running between Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.
A change to Boral colours saw the cab painted yellow and the chassis green, with the truck pulling bitumen tankers in Queensland.
The truck eventually made its way to Victoria, with Garry Cleary starting a rebuild of the truck in Ballarat, before putting the truck on the market.
Barry takes up the story:
"Gary had done all the mechanical work on it over a period of time and had it ready to paint. When I rang him about selling it he said 'I don't really care if I sell it or not, I have finally found the guy I want to paint it'.
"Having visited the Castlemaine Truck Show, Garry had been looking at Leo Kelly's W-Model Kenworth which had won Rig of The Show and had also been rebuilt by Barry in Cobram, and decided that he would also get the job of painting the T900.
"As soon as I said that I was the guy who painted the Kelly truck and it would have been me painting this truck for him if he had kept it, we had a rapport.
"He almost wanted me to have the truck as he knew it would be in good hands.”
With Gary having the paint scheme done by a graphic designer, on purchasing the truck Barry decided to run with the design with a few tweaks and work his magic on the colours.
"Garry had the outline of the design and then I looked at the colours that I thought would work... the teal is a bit of a 'Dicko Special' - a bit of my own creation,” he said with a smile.
"The Grey Metallic is a Ford FG Falcon colour while the silver is something I thought would go well with those colours - it's something fairly unique and different.”
The truck was dismantled back to the chassis rails with each part of the truck sandblasted and restored to better-than new condition, with the Kenworth receiving a few special touches along the way.
"Garry Cleary is a carpenter by trade and he did the floor inside in Tasmanian Oak, we have done a craftsman's job, everything has been thought of and there has been no shortcuts,” Barry said.
He was at pains to restore the truck by keeping it authentic and not turning it into something it wasn't.
"We have not taken anything away from it, we have made it a little 'old school' with the two rows of lights along the steps, we have tried to do as much as we could to make it really good,” he said.
The Kenworth is powered by a Detroit Series 60 married to an 18 speed Roadranger and sits on Airglide suspension and drives really well for its age.
"There's not a rattle or squeak in it, it drives awesomely well,” Barry reckoned.
With the barwork done by Mr Bullbar in Wagga Wagga and the stainless steel accessories done by RC Metalcraft in Albury, the rest of the work was done in-house at Cobram.
Throughout the project Barry was assisted by his best mate Neil Hort from Finley and his 15-year-old son Kobey.
"The little bloke has been helping out all along and is as proud as punch - he gets in and drives it about - he loves it,” grinned Barry.
The truck will not be strictly for show, with Barry planning to put the truck to work around the Cobram area during the busy fruit season.
"It can do a bit and pay its way, but we will also take it to a few shows and have a bit of fun with it,” he said.
Its first appearance on the show circuit was a successful one, taking out the People's Choice and the coveted Truck of the Show awards at Oaklands, with a few future outings on the radar.
The truck certainly makes a visual impact and the prizes awarded at Oaklands are a reward for the work done by Barry and his team.
The final word from Barry rings true: "I have always had a passion for T900s and I wanted to do something really special out of the box, and I am proud of what we have done”.