Making your own Legend

5 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineMarch 16, 2018

The T950 has taken on a whole new look with the addition of the sleeper box.

When ALMC Ltd owner Shaun McKnight was hunting for a project truck that was mechanically sound, it wasn‘t long before the perfect project truck came along, so he grabbed it. The transformation is something special.

When you hear that this 1995 T950 Kenworth has spent most of its working life in the Gisborne region hauling logs for Pacific Haulage, and after that on logs for Smith & Davies in the far north, the first thing that comes to mind is a lot of hard work in two regions with some of the most rugged logging terrain in the country.

When Shaun purchased the truck it had over 38,000 hours on the hour meter, 1.85 million kilometres under its belt, and had used over 1 million litres of fuel, but the combination of a CAT 3406E engine with a Brakesaver, a rebuilt motor, and the truck‘s existing wheelbase made it too hard to resist. So in December 2015 Shaun picked up the Kenworth from Whangarei and drove it back to Hamilton to start the restoration process.

Above: Life began in the iconic Pacific Haulage fleet in Gisborne, and ‘Round 2‘ (below) saw the 950 working in the Smith and Davies livery in the North, seen here powering into Marsden Point with a load on.

The pinstripes and scroll work were added by Cliff Mannington at Truck Signs Mount Maunganui.

The T950 in day cab trim, what most thought was the finished product. 

The T950 in aerodyne sleeper trim…what ALMC Ltd thought was the finished product.

Removing the logging gear was first on the list, followed by an engine tune perform.ed by the team at Force Industries Ltd in Stratford, which bumped the horsepower up from 475 to 550. That meant new badges would have to be ordered.

Getting the truck to the 5.5m wheelbase Shaun wanted meant resetting the rear drive assembly. As part of that process, the old six-rod set-up was cast asunder to make way for a Kenworth Airglide 400 Air Suspension. During that process, a small crack was found in one of the chassis rails so 300mm had to be cut out and a new piece welded in.

The chassis was then prepared for painting by Shaun and Bryn Rees from Diesel Mechanical in Hamilton. Once it was completed Bryn set the twin stacks up for a trial to see how they would look before the cab and bonnet went in for paint at Fleet Image, also in Hamilton.

Once the cab and bonnet were painted and the fifth wheel was attached it was back to the workshop to add some bling, including the six-inch stacks, the original bull bar that had been polished, and the painted air cleaners. The truck‘s engineering work was then signed off and it got a clean sheet of approval on its certificate of fitness.

Shaun was eager to see how the T950 would go as a tractor unit, so its first job was towing a transporter with a tower crane counterweight. It performed superbly.

Cliff Mannington from Truck Signs in Mount Maunganui then added his magic, including pinstriping and scroll work, giving the truck a whole new look again.

Just when everyone thought that Shaun had finished with his project he found an Aerodyne sleeper box. This meant a hole had to be cut in the back of the day cab. The sleeper box was painted and fitted, with some more signage applied by Cliff.

In his own words, Shaun is now a “gun for hire”, and has been using the T950 Kenworth mostly for crane-related work, as well as some of his own work when needed.

Even though Shaun has changed the individual truck‘s look dramatically, it has still retained its classic Kenworth T950 lines, with the added benefit of having a whole new lease of life in a different part of the industry.

Let the work begin. Diffs and suspension out.

All done with rear end back in at 5.5m wheelbase.

Chassis paint applied.

Cab painted, awaiting the arrival of pinstripes and ‘bling‘.