AUSSIE ANGLES - The Clarendon Kenworth Klassic 2019

Friday, May 8, 2020

It’s a weekend of catching up with good mates over a BBQ and a cold ale, all the while celebrating Kenworth trucks and their Australasian heritage.


Photo: A few years back Gerard Hicks of Shepparton discussed with the Klos Brothers the possibility of tracking down his old W model and restoring it for him. After five years of searching and the truck slipping through their hands once along the way, it was finally found in WA. A ground-up restoration at the Klos workshops in Geelong ensued, and now once again the trendsetting W with its original 10-stud hubs and Alcoas is back in its original Hicks red livery with Gerard at the helm.

For years David (Chappo) Chapman had harassed his good mate and fellow Kenworth enthusiast Bruce Gunter to organise a Kenworth-only truck show. Both Bruce and Chappo are no strangers to the classic truck scene in Australia; as founding members of the ‘Hauling the Hume’ classic truck rally 10 years ago, they are well respected by their peers for the passion they bring. It was a visit five years ago by Bruce to the Sydney Antique Machinery Club’s (SAMC) annual show with Chappo that rejuvenated the discussion once again with regard to the possibilities of a Kenworth-only show. Seeing the number of classic trucks involved in the SAMC show got the lads thinking.

An enthusiastic meeting with the SAMC was held and it was decided that the following year an area of the show would be reserved for a Kenworthonly display. The scene was set for the inaugural ‘Kenworth Klassic’. Now four years on, the Clarendon Kenworth Klassic Show has exploded, with more than 300 variants of the marque from all corners of the continent on display throughout the weekend. Talking with both Bruce and Chappo about the success of the event, the two are quick to acknowledge how the ‘no judging, no trophies, no problems’ mantra for the show has truly played a major part.

“The idea behind the weekend was in no way about who has the shiniest rig, it was always about catching up with your mates and sharing time with them at an event that celebrates the brand, while portraying the industry in a positive light,” says Bruce. Testament to this is the fact that Kenworths from all areas of the industry are represented over the weekend, from working glamour rigs through to restored classics. You will also find work-dirty bread-winners that normally would never venture into a public display, but because there is no judging, they are all here.

The Kenworth Klassic is held annually alongside the SAMC Clarendon Classic Antique Machinery Show at the beginning of spring (September), so it’s not too hot. Although the show is a Saturday and Sunday event, it is worth popping along on the Friday to view everything arriving and being parked up. This is a show for all transport enthusiasts, and is definitely one to add to your bucket list. And make sure you catch up with Bruce and Chappo when you do visit, as you could not meet a nicer couple of fellow truck nutters with their hearts in the right place.


Photo: The man, Gerard Hicks, shortly after being presented with the inaugural Dane Ballinger Award for professional business operation, services to the industry, and being a straight-up good bloke; exactly the ethos Dane held close to heart.


Photo: This W923 from 1964 was the very first Kenworth sold by the now legendary Kenworth dealership Brown & Hurley for the princely sum of £15,000, and is powered by a 8V71N Detroit Diesel.


Photo: The iconic colours of the Cleveland Haulage ‘Mack Munchers’ from back in the day, still worn by this original SAR owned by Jon Cauchi.


Photo: Nothing says Australian K model more than overthe- roof air intake plumbing topped with a pair of Donaldson Air Rams.


Photo: The perfect example of timelessness, Leo Kelly’s 1984 W model ‘Midnight Special’ that was crowned Truckin’ Life magazine’s Rig of the Year back in 1990, still glowing 30 years on.


Photo: Craig Heffer’s 1994 K100E has a tale or two to tell. After purchasing the truck Craig completed a 12-month ground-up restoration of the rig, but three months after completion a steer tyre blew and wedged itself between the rim and the diesel tank, spearing the unit hard left into a tree. It was back to the drawing board for Craig, resulting in another four months of full-time effort and determination to get it back on the road as you see it here.