Big at brooks

In December 2023 - January 2024, American Connection4 MinutesBy Carl KirkbeckFebruary 3, 2024

Just north of Salem, Oregon, alongside I-5, the quiet little town of Brooks comes alive once a year with a truck show that offers up the best American West Coast trucking has to offer, new and old.

In the twilight months of the northern hemisphere summer, the Pacific North West Truck Museum in the Powerland Heritage Park near Salem, Oregan, holds the Brooks Truck Show. The show encapsulates all that is West Coast trucking. From Alaskan hauliers fresh off the likes of the Dalton in the north to San Diego produce freighters in the south, you will likely find it parked up within the grounds.

Associated with the American Truck Historical Society (ATHS), the show attracts a wide array of vintage and veteran trucks. There were examples from both extremes – pristine restorations through to farm-fresh barn finds, and everything in between. This year was a little special, being the 100th anniversary celebration for the Kenworth Truck Company. With this in mind, the museum encouraged participants to bring along anything and everything KW.

A fine example of this was the 1966 W923 on display from the Heavy Hauling Company of Kelso, Washington State. Beautifully restored, this truck has had one-owner, ordered new by the Slanger family. Fleet No.6 still runs its original configuration, with a 335 Cummins and twin- stick five-and-a-four gearbox arrangement. Three generations of the family have clocked up an estimated 2,500,000 to 3,000,000 miles (4,000,000km to 4,800,000km), so it was time to strip the old rig back and complete a ground-up restoration. Fortunately this was finished just in time for the show.

For the diehard Kenworth enthusiast there was certainly plenty to see. All eras of the marque were well represented by the Kenworth Truck Company, starting with the 100-year-old 1923 flatbed, lovingly restored by the team at the Kenworth plant in Chillicothe, Ohio, through to a state-of-the-art T680 in 100th anniversary trim. Coupled to the T680 was the 100th anniversary display trailer. This was extremely well presented, with a wealth of history and information, including audiovisual displays.

Walking through the vintage area was a treat, with many rare examples from virtually every North American truck builder imaginable. A standout was the rare 1978 Freightliner Powerliner owned by Ed Sweitzer of Ferndale, WA. The big cabovers were built from 1973 and were designed to accommodate the 12V71 Detroit, 3408 Caterpillar V8 and the 19L Cummins KTA-600 – which made them the first highway production truck with 600hp (447kW) on tap. It was most definitely the undisputed king of the road in its day.

Craig Vogel, chairman of the Pacific North West Truck Museum, was elated with the turnout of participants and viewing public.

“We could not have wished for better,” he says. “The final count for trucks at the show is now sitting at just over 440 individual entries, and the weather has been perfect; this naturally bolsters the number of visitors to the show. The show has been a great success for us.”

Looking at the photos it is not hard to see that this is most definitely a show that needs to be added to the bucket list of any avid transport enthusiast.

A point to note, next year the show is set to run on the weekend of 23 and 24 August 2024. And some inside Information – the show theme is Peterbilt. We suggest you start making your plans now.