Green Eyed Monster — 1975 Kenworth W925

By: Ben Dillon, Photography by: Ben Dillon


DSC04093 On the move the Kenny sounds just as good as it looks with the two-stroke V8 pumping out tunes to rival AC/DC DSC04093
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DSC04124 Stainless everywhere to be seen with the Kenworth logo on the step plate letting you know what you’re in for DSC04124
DSC04143 Rear end of the W925 looks clean with stainless guards and decals mirroring the same theme as the bonnet DSC04143
DSC04156 Candy apple theme of red and green is everywhere you look with the rear deck and toolboxes in silver the only relief that’s not polished stainless DSC04156
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DSC04188 Passenger seat rights are highly sought after in the Bull family with Chris’s kids always gunning for the position DSC04188
DSC04195 Even the legendary Kenny badge has seen the company green paint treatment DSC04195
DSC04198 Hand-formed stainless with laser cut mesh grille is a very pretty piece DSC04198
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DSC04210 Not a bulb to be found with lights on the truck being LED all the way round and underneath too DSC04210
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DSC04259 Interior by Jeff Sleep is one of the best we’ve seen with a nod to Kenworth heritage in the embroidered logos DSC04259
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DSC04271 Skull shift knob is a hint of the other-worldly nature the truck takes on once the sun sets DSC04271
DSC04283 DDEC plug on the dash a clue to the electrical goings on to be found on the fuelling side of the big V8 under that long nose DSC04283
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DSC04475 Switchable lighting in the engine bay gives the 8V92T DDEC III a shadowy presence at night DSC04475
DSC04478 Exhaust stacks and shields look amazing lit up at night with the 24 green LEDs strewn throughout the truck doing their best work DSC04478
DSC04248 Chris Bull wipes off the last piece of dust, ready for the photo shoot. Chris is the driving force behind the W-Series story and is the son-in-law of the truck's owners David and Meryl Hose DSC04248
DSC04484 Interior at night is switchable so as not to scare the oncoming traffic DSC04484
DSC04270 The view behind the wheel of this special Kenworth W925 DSC04270

Hard-working trucks are nothing new in this industry, but to have a truck in frontline service for nearly 50 years is testament to the toughness of this Kenworth W925, so treating it to a birthday restoration is a fitting reward, the results of which are sure to make it the envy of all who gaze upon its greenness

Maryborough-based family business D.J and M.A Hose started out like any other, but with a bit of a twist. The initials in the business name are David and wife Meryl Hose but the 55-year history of the enterprise actually began with Meryl’s father Harry Hyde who took on a young David Hose who ended up marrying into the family and business which was thus rebranded Hyde and Hose before transitioning to the current trading name.

While David and Meryl are the proud owners of the truck you see on these pages, and proving that history can indeed repeat, it’s their son-in-law Chris Bull (also a part of the business) who’s basically been the foreman for the resto and is also tasked with the story of the truck along with the driving duties.

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With a history in landscape, demolition and house-removals there’s always been plenty of work on for the family and the Hose’s W925 has seen it all.

Going back to the mid-1980s David and Meryl bought the Kenworth from concrete company Readymix from a plant down the back of Yatala in south-east Queensland. The truck was in the striking pink and white combo used by the company then and which many readers will surely remember.

David made short work of the candy-stripe theme though as shortly after arriving at its new home in Maryborough on the Fraser Coast, the W925 was painted in the Hose’s business colour of green and fitted with a semi tipper and worked within the local area as well as down to the NSW border and up to central and north Queensland.

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Being only the second owners of the Kenworth the history of it is well known to the family, with the ups and downs of the truck now part of the family lore.

After more than a decade hauling, the Kenny ended up on its side, tipper and all. With a big job in front of them the Hose family decided to keep the W925 going with a full resto of the truck to make it even better than before. This is where Chris enters the picture.

"When I started working for them in ’97 they’d just started the restoration and the truck was just two chassis rails sitting in the shed, but it was back on the road within about 12 months," says Chris, proving that these guys don’t muck around.

When the truck came from Readymix it sported an 8V71 GM donk but that was soon upgraded to an 8V92T unit before Chris joined the company. In the intervening years the W925 featured three of those units supplying Detroit power to the rear treads.

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The following period of 20-plus years’ service in the business saw the W925 a bit tired all over and in need of a spruce up aesthetically and a refresh of the driveline. On December 13, 2019, it was pulled off the road for another resto just prior to which Chris made the switch to the current powerplant in the form of an 8V92T DDECIII fuel injected electronic motor to replace the tired 8V92T. And while the family had been known for not hanging around when it came to restoration timeframes, COVID threw a spanner in the works with our photoshoot taking place only a couple of weeks after the W925 was registered and back on the road in November 2021.

"It's always been a working truck and it's always been intended to work," Chris says.

Shakedown blues

"David and Meryl have always painted their trucks the company green colour but with this one we wanted to go a little bit further with the restoration for a bit of show and a bit of advertising and all that sort of stuff, y’know?".

To say that all involved in the restoration have met that target is an understatement. The W925 looks absolutely spectacular in the metal by day, and completely spectral at night with the haunting green lights littered around the underside, exhaust stacks, interior and engine bay giving the rig an other-worldly presence on road. If there haven’t been reports of UFOs around Maryborough in the past, there will be now.

"I've actually had cars and trucks passing me on the double lanes with their phones out the window taking photos and video of the truck as they go past and people screaming at me how nice the old two-stroke sounds, it’s definitely got a note of its own!" Chris smiles.

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But it hasn't been all smooth sailing since the truck has been restored with Chris’s shakedown procedure for the big Kenny being to simply put it back into full-time service, which is always the quickest way to find any teething issues but also means you might get stuck because of a small issue.

"The other day I went out to Mundubbera and the bastard bailed me up," Chris says. "I had to get one of the other trucks to come out and we floated it home. It wouldn’t start, one of the batteries shit itself and the computer didn't have enough power to tell it what to do so it just wouldn’t go."

And while many of you might take this opportunity to spit out your coffee and praise the saints of mechanical injection and hold two screwdrivers in the shape of the holy cross to ward off the evil of computer-controlled fuel injection, the battery failing might have something to do with our extravagantly-lit night photoshoot. Besides, the fuel savings Chris sees on the road (not to mention better tractability and throttle response) more than makes up for one flat battery.

"We used to do a lot of runs to Ipswich and compared to the old 8V92T we used around 25 per cent less fuel with the DDEC on each trip," Chris says.

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While being a lot more fuel efficient the DDEC III also had a bit of a surprise waiting for Chris but if it wasn’t for Bundy Diesel Specialists things might have turned out very differently for the old W-Series.

"Bundy Diesel built the DDEC up and they had it in their shop so when the old engine shit itself again they put this one to us as an option because we wanted to stay with the GM two-stroke because that's what it's always had and it wouldn't be the same truck if it didn't have a GM in it," Chris says adding "We did price up at Cummins mechanical-injection N14 but in the end it had to be a GM"

"One good thing to come out of it breaking down was we had Bundy Diesel come down and put their computer on it to see what was wrong. We always thought it was a 480 horsepower engine but it's not, it's actually 540hp so that was a pleasant bonus and would explain why I'm leaving other 500hp trucks for dead," Chris smiles.

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"Since we've put it back on the road it hasn't done huge kilometres but we are driving it. Overall it’s been a pretty good truck, even before the resto. Every truck has its problems obviously and we're shaking it down and ironing all the issues out of it."

Neck snapper

For regular road users, the shakedown period of the W925 has been an eye-opener according to Chris who has exposed the rig to plenty of attention out on the open road.

"You've only gotta drive her down to Brisbane to see all the other truck drivers snapping their necks to get a look at it," Chris grins.

But all that effort to get the truck to where it is today wouldn’t have been possible without the help of many pairs of hands along the way. When it came to the bodywork Murray Coleman from Bundaberg was the man who completed the panel work, coming down to take the cab off the chassis with the firewall, floor and general body smoothing and straightening taken on by Murray in the Hose’s shed. Another hand involved in body work was one of Hose’s employees, Sterling Campbell, who painted most of the truck with the chassis and bonnet receiving special attention, and while Murray is also credited with some paintwork, the majority was handled by ‘Sterlo’.

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"Bundy Diesel went above and beyond to help us out, Lev’s fabrications did all the stainless work for us, they did the grill, the tank wraps and made a fair bit of bracketry for the rear bars and stuff like that. The grille surround was done by hand out of stainless and the mesh was laser cut by Lev’s," Chris says.

Complementing the stunning paintwork is an equally impressive interior with all work done by Jeff Sleep at Pacific Haven outside of Hervey Bay who Chris holds in very high regard saying Sleep’s been an upholsterer for ‘forever and a day around here’ and is very well-known for his work in the classic car restoration scene.

Back outside, the polished bull bar sports a quad spotlight set-up comprising of four seven-inch LED spots along with LED headlights and indicators as well as the 24 green LED lights stashed underneath the truck.

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"You won’t find a single bulb in this truck, we went LED with everything," Chris says, adding "I wanted it to stand out so people recognise whose truck it was, which company owned it. I made sure it stands out day and night with its green paint and lights."

Continuing on the exterior if it isn’t green it’s chrome, with six-inch bullhorn exhaust tips, exhaust guards (which light up green at night) with the company name cut out, bull bar and visor all polished  to perfection by Chris’s own hands.

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The rear deck on the back with the checker plate and toolboxes was already on the truck but was given a refresh and painted silver with the headboard colour-matched to the red chassis. Behind the headboard more polished stainless lurks with even more polished stainless on the guards and the chassis deck plate. This all flows around into the rear bar with the LED lights and the graphics on the rear guards (made by Klein Signs in Maryborough) which are a copy of the graphics on the side of the bonnet.

So what does the rest of the family think about how the Kenny turned out, and what lays ahead for this green goliath?

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"David and Meryl love it of course but it’s the kids who adore it. They squabble over who gets to go with dad as I can only take one at a time," Chris smiles.

"Every time they were at nan and pop’s they wanted to go down to the shed to have a look at it while it was being restored and always wanted to see photos I took of the truck during the restoration.

"I wanna get it to as many shows as I can; Convoy for Kids, Lights on the Hill, all that sort of stuff, just to show it off and what we’ve done to it. It'd be a shame to do the truck and then not get it to any shows.

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"Over the next year or two I’d like to do as much as I can while it's still looking fresh and new but obviously when it's gotta pull a trailer, it's gotta go to work. It'll mainly float stuff for now, shifting diggers around, it'll have a tipper on it every now and again and a flat top and that sort of thing," Chris explains.

They say envy is one of the seven deadly sins and looking at David and Meryl’s Kenworth, we’re happy to be engaged in such sinful yearning. The way the W925 pops in the daylight thanks to that exquisite green paintjob, and when the sun goes down its ethereal night time presence, all of which is only made sweeter by the strains of that rev-happy Detroit Diesel echoing in the night. Sweet dreams are absolutely made of these.

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