Simple, Striking SAR

In Kenworth, Top Truck, April 20226 MinutesBy Gavin MyersMay 31, 2022

Some trucks stand out because they’re so over-adorned you can’t help but notice them. Others blend in to the point of being invisible. But somewhere in between is the sweet spot – where the mix is just right.

Towards the end of 2021, we spotted this Raymond Transport truck crawling along in Tauranga’s ever-worsening rush-hour traffic and standing out among every other vehicle on the road.

The Mount Maunganui company had just said goodbye to its trusty old fleet No.6, a Kenworth T404, and taken delivery of its replacement – the new T410 SAR and Clarke Engineering tri-axle tipping skele trailer you see here.

This is the first T410 SAR in the Raymond Transport fleet. The company has run a T409 SAR for the past four years, and the new No.6 follows in a similar style yet arguably looks neater all-round.

Clarke Engineering tri-axle tipping skele gets a similarly subtle but eye-catching treatment.

“If I were able to get one of those again, I would’ve. It’s bang-on that truck,” says company owner Chris Raymond. It wasn’t even a question that Chris would opt for the next-best thing currently available, having always been a Kenworth man.

“Quite often these days, you’ll ask the driver what they would prefer – especially if they’re a good driver. That was the case with Eugene [Iles], and he’s always been a Kenworth man too,” Chris says.

Eugene has been with Raymond’s for around five years now, and he and Chris worked with Southpac’s Andrew Haberfield to spec the truck.

“Andrew sold me my four or five most-recent Kenworths. He’s brilliant. I tell him what I want, and he says, ‘Yep, I’ve ordered it, and that’s what you’re getting.’ He’s really fussy; it’s good,” Chris says.

No.6 arrived when Southpac shut due to a Covid-19 lockdown last year, and so it sat in Auckland for two months. “A few bits and pieces are missing, but just cosmetic stuff. It has enough on it,” says Chris.

Southpac fitted the dual 5” stacks, with Kenworth laser- cut and prominent on the shields, as well as the radiator bug screen and stainless visor. Chris had the Kentweld bumper put on it to round off the front-on shine while, on the side, it’s continued with a set of Alcoa Dura-Brights. Chris opted for the air-suspended 760mm mid-roof sleeper, which visually is given a little extra size thanks to the side extenders and painted vanity skirts.

Clean lines and smart livery.

The truck left Bayswater with its Ice White cab and blue chassis rails, and Marty’s High Performance Signs in Omanu added the Raymond Transport livery and finished off the coding and stripe work.

“Sometimes I think should I change my colours and go all one colour… But the white is such a crisp white, and the Subaru blue we use sets it off so well.” That it does, Chris, that it does.

Inside, the sleeper is finished in Kenworth’s Red Garnet diamond pleat vinyl and Eugene’s comfortable behind the wheel in an Isri driver seat in black leather. Chrome bezel gauges and Paccar’s 7” touchscreen infotainment system add a bit of flash to the dash, while a custom ‘Kenworth T410 SAR’ plaque fills in the space between the seats. A 42-litre fridge and TV are fitted for Eugene’s convenience.

We’re pretty sure that fridge is permanently empty, though, as you won’t find so much as a crumb in this cab. “I like to have a clean office. I don’t even like to wind my windows down,” Eugene chuckles.

The biggest change that came with buying this T410 SAR was that it’s an auto- shifter – the 510hp (375kW) MX-13 is paired with an Eaton Ultrashift Plus 18-speed gearbox.

Chris Raymond and No.6’s driver Eugene Iles.

“You’ve gotta move with technology,” Chris quips. “It’s the first auto-box in a Kenworth we have in the fleet to see how it goes around town. This has done only 10,000km, so it’s early days. But Eugene likes it. He’s never had an auto before, but he may do 10 container runs a day back and forth from Sulphur Point (Port of Tauranga) to the Mount, so it’s brilliant to have in town.”

No.6 is not bound to the city limits of Tauranga/Mount Maunganui – it gets out into the central North Island. But whether darting around town or out on the open road, you won’t miss Raymond Transport’s fleet No.6. It’s in that unmistakable sweet spot.