8 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineDecember 4, 2020

We love a good ‘afterlifer‘ story – a truck that fulfilled the brief for which it was originally specced and then found itself in the hands of a second or third owner who has their own vision for it, a different vision. In the case of K&D Contracting‘s 2002 K104, it‘s now a totally different beast.

Photo: A K104 tipper just looks so right.

This K104 spent the first part of its life in the TD Haulage/ Dynes Transport stable based in Christchurch, and Karl Randall of K&D Contracting came across it in June when he was looking for a suitable truck for work ahead. The beast is now piloted by an old school friend of Karl‘s, Tim O‘Halloran. A driver of 36 years rooted in linehaul and tipper work, Tim spent the past 15 in the Airport Fire Service at Wellington airport – driving the big firefighting rigs. However, a motorcycle accident severely damaged his right arm and this unfortunately meant Tim would be medically retired from the fire service, leaving him looking for something else to do with his time. It didn‘t take long for good friends Karl and Deb to get in touch. Karl found this 8×4 K104 for sale in Auckland, stripped of its former blue livery and repainted white with the tipper bin fitted. It was a straight fit, the chassis remaining untouched, and the unit overall was a perfect canvas to which Tim could add his personal touch. “Even though the company owns it I‘ve taken ownership of it, doing it all up and getting it ready to go on the road. Karl said ‘it‘s your truck, you do what you want with it‘,” Tim says.

Photos: Roomy cab, comfy driving position, everything at hand.

The K104 was clearly well cared for during its TD Story and photos by Gavin Myers Haulage/Dynes days. Most of the work done to it under Karl and Tim‘s stewardship is cosmetic – they added bright, sharp graphics and eye-catching lighting. “Karl had a bit of a laugh when we did the graphics and added the flames, me being an ex-firefighter … a nice little touch,” Tim laughs. Possibly the best addition is the broad stainless steel sun guard, which visually narrows the windscreen and combines with the original stone guard to give the old Kenworth a mean scowl. If it looks good in pictures, it‘s even more of a looker in the metal. Inside, the cab has simply been tidied up, another sign it was treated right by its original owners. A CB was added, with a new stereo and some flashing dash lights. The only thing done in the name of practicality was relocation of the tipping controls from down at the seat up onto the console, and a steering wheel knob to ease Tim‘s job, because he hasn‘t got full movement of his right arm due to the accident. The rest is standard K104 fare. With the exception of a few minor gauges, everything still works and the dark blue cab upholstery and woodgrain trim combination looks just as good as it did in the early 2000s. Yes, the plastic shrouds on the air vents have broken apart over time, but there are precious few older US trucks that have not suffered this fate. Tim‘s got his eye on some chromed replacements, which should add a bit of flash to the cab. Motive power comes from a 525 Detroit Diesel coupled to an 18-speed Roadranger. Mechanically, the only fix has been a new radiator. The odo currently shows 370,000km. Tim reckons it‘s clocked around, but whether that‘s just once, or perhaps twice… A new hubo was installed when Tim collected the truck to ensure accuracy going forward.

Seeing this 18-year-old truck‘s stellar condition, it‘s no surprise to learn that it runs Monday to Friday for K&D‘s own earthworks and clients as well, able to cart a decent 13-tonne payload. And it still gets to see a bit of the country when needed. “We liked the length of it for our jobs, but we‘re looking at putting a 4-axle tipper trailer behind it as well. We‘ll go for the H, but will keep weights down a bit … she‘s an old girl so we won‘t overwork it too much,” Tim says. It‘s a perfect fit for the K&D Contracting fleet too – among others Karl‘s also got a handful of old Macks in the yard, a CAT-powered Super Liner and three R series. They‘re mostly retired trucks and Karl‘s first R series is undergoing a substantial restoration, but the Super Liner still comes out for a bit of graft through the week, towing a tipulator or transporter. “The trucks have quite a lot of history in them,” says Tim. These older trucks get their fair share of love and attention, so there‘s no doubt Tim‘s K104 is a good fit for the fleet and has an ‘afterlife‘ to look forward to.

Photo: Unmissable by day, unmissable by night.

Photo: Not even Wellington Harbour could put out these flames.

Photo: In addition to this CAT-powered Super Liner, the K&D fleet consists of some Mack R models and some other older Kenworths.