Kenworth out of the field


By: Warren Aitken, Images by: Warren Aitken

Though not your typical categorical freight truck, Nathan Smith needed one thing particular so as to add to the Winston fleet, so he ordered a Kenworth T659 as a “shock” to his dad, Dean.

Kenworth out of the box

Nathan SMith’s Kenworth T659.

At the moment’s story will begin with a ‘thankyou’. Very formal I do know, however I must thank Dean and Rose Smith and their son Nathan. I’m thanking them for his or her time and for permitting me to {photograph} their vehicles.

Winston Specific Haulage is a type of household firms that epitomises the ‘household’ values. They’ve gorgeous vehicles, saved in mint situation, pushed by blissful workers they usually do all of it for the love of the job and the honour of the corporate, which is nice for them, however horrible for me b as a result of the corporate isn’t interested by consideration. They like flying beneath the radar and simply doing an excellent job for the sake of doing an excellent job. Once more, an admirable trait.

Nonetheless, when their vehicles look so rattling good you realize in the end annoying folks like me are going to need to {photograph} them. I admit I’ve been a relentless social media thorn within the facet of younger Nathan Smith, ever since I noticed one of many Winston Mercedes-Benz rigids on Fb – it appeared wonderful. Therefore, I reached out to see if they might be eager on a narrative.

The media-shy household had been a bit of reluctant, I appreciated that and let or not it’s. Then, a short time later Nathan rocked as much as the 2018 Kenworth Klassic in a surprising new Kenworth 2.8 King Cab. I pestered him once more – how might I not? Their K200 was spectacular! Sadly, identical end result.

The Winston workforce an enormous supporters of charity, Wholesome Heads Vans & Sheds being an enormous recipient

Then social media lit up with a Mercedes-Benz Actros celebrating Winston Specific Haulage’s thirtieth anniversary and I simply needed to push once more. There was a bit of softening, however nonetheless the household weren’t interested by consideration. As I discussed, they weren’t averse to it they simply function the way in which they do purely as a result of that’s the ethos of people who constructed and proceed to construct the corporate. I needed to respect that.

Then Nathan rolled out the gorgeous T659 you see earlier than you. It was the truck that broke the camel’s again for me. This new T659 appeared beautiful. How might I not badger them once more? If I assumed bribery would have labored, I’d have stooped to that as effectively. Fortunately, be it out of appreciation for my tenacity or simply frustration at my consistency, I lastly received my foot within the door. Extra importantly for you guys, I received my cameras within the shed. Therefore, I owe an enormous thankyou to the Smith household for sitting down and introducing me to the story behind an extended working household enterprise and their new flagship T659.

The story begins with Dean Smith. Dean’s trucking dependancy got here courtesy of his uncle Harry. College holidays had been spent in Dorrigo in northern NSW the place his uncle was pulling hundreds out of the native abattoir for Roadmaster, hanging meat.

In true little one labour manipulation Dean remembers these occasions fondly. “My uncle used to gee me up, telling me, ‘I guess you possibly can’t unload this truck by your self’ and I’m like ‘I guess I f#@kin can’,” laughs Dean. “Little did I realise he was simply getting out of the work.”



These faculty vacation experiences created the eagerness for our trade and younger Dean quickly discovered afterschool and weekend work within the wash bay of native Fort Hill firm Kentwell Sand & Soil the place he would wash and polish the corporate vehicles.

“I additionally had a mate, Steve Robertson, who had a Mack and carted for SPD and Streets. I’d wash and grease his truck each Saturday as effectively,” Dean remembers. “I’d spend all day washing, placing chrome hubcaps on, stuff like that.” All of this was earlier than Dean had even graduated from P plates.

Good day Comet

As an alternative of going straight into transport upon completion of faculty, Dean selected to check extra and gained a diploma in enterprise administration. Wanting again now I’d say this was one among his smartest choices. Not due to the help it might give him in enterprise, however as a result of the diploma would get him a trainee function at Grace Removals and his time there would introduce him to Rose, his future spouse and mom of his three youngsters.

“He stated ‘hi there’ to me at some point at work after which rung up and requested me out,” Rose remembers. She laughs when she informs me of her response: “I stated ‘no’ a number of occasions, then ultimately stated ‘sure’.” Persistence and resilience are two issues learnt in all these after faculty jobs.

That was again in 1989. Dean moved on from Grace to a transport supervisor function with Comet. In 1990 Dean made the decision to purchase his personal truck.

“Whereas there (at Comet) I made a decision it was the time for me to exit by myself,” he says. “I discovered a truck I appreciated so I purchased it. It was delivering magazines at evening and paint throughout the day. One truck went to 2, went to a few, went to 4 – that was April 1990. Right here we’re in 2022 and we’ve received 25 prime movers, 30 rigids and a heap of trailers.”

Dean’s summation is extraordinarily humble and much more simplified and succinct than is warranted. It fails to pay homage to the 30 years of effort and robust work ethic that epitomises the corporate. So enable me to elaborate. Dean and Rose ran that first Hino for almost three years. It will be delivering day and evening all week and doing newspapers on the weekends.

“I used to go together with Dean on a Saturday evening,” Rose says. “I’d be curled up within the truck mapping out the deliveries whereas Dean was loading the newspapers within the again.” I’m unsure my higher half would depend that as a terrific date evening nevertheless it didn’t faze Rose. Together with serving to to do the newspapers, Rose additionally discovered herself heading in on Fridays to assist with the invoicing and accounts. As extra work turned up and extra vehicles added that function would change into Rose’s fulltime gig.

The 50-inch bunk makes dwelling on the street loads simpler for Nathan

Winston Specific Haulage’s first truck was a model new Hino. It was purchased particularly to cater for the work Dean had discovered. The six-tonne Hino was good for the job and it was a truck Dean knew effectively.

“We had Hinos on the elimination firm they usually had been nice,” Dean says. “That they had them at Comet as effectively. We truly had one at Comet that performed up at some point and turned out it had been working round since new and had by no means had an oil change, filters performed, nothing. They modified the oil, changed the filters and it was off. It was a stable truck.”

That was adequate to persuade Dean that Hino was what he wanted for his first truck. Dean additionally made certain that first truck would set the visible normal the corporate would change into renown for. Whereas the Winston strains and colors didn’t begin showing till the second truck hit the street, the primary one had as a lot bling as he might match on a Hino – even chrome rims. Yep, chrome rims on a 1990 Hino inflexible. That’s not one thing you see each day.

“I simply needed it to be skilled, I needed it to look good and look good,” Dean says. “It was about being skilled and portraying the proper picture. Assembly and forming a lifelong friendship with Brad Hammond, a paper truck operator identified for his immaculate presentation of his gear and professionalism didn’t assist!”

That first Hino positively did that and led to regular progress inside the firm. Magazines and paint had been quickly joined by grocery deliveries after which newspapers as effectively. Because the one truck turned two and two turned three, Dean was additionally constructing relationships with different firms that will see the corporate develop from native deliveries to intra and interstate work.

“We had an extended institution with Hills Transport,” Dean explains. “We had been in all probability there about 15 years earlier than they closed down.”

That enterprise relationship noticed Dean put his first ‘large’ inflexible on the street; a Scania that will run to Dubbo 5 nights every week. His first prime mover was towing for Hills, as was Winston Specific’ first B-double. It’s value noting as effectively that Dean began out with the intent of proudly owning one truck, only one. That’s all.

He married Rose when it was simply the one truck. That quickly grew … and grew. Rose accepted that, however she additionally laid down the regulation with reference to prime movers. “I didn’t need any prime movers; greater vehicles meant greater payments,” Rose says. “Then we had a valued buyer ask us to placed on a major mover, only one. Inside 12 months we had eight!” 

The Winston household

It was inevitable although, the work ethic of your complete household as effectively the working surroundings created at Winston’s meant rising was inevitable. They now have vehicles of virtually each doable measurement and configuration. They’ve prospects in virtually each enviornment, from categorical trailer hitches to air freight deliveries, constructing provides to underlay distribution.

Winston Specific is the antithesis of ‘all of your eggs in a single basket’. Throw a cattle trailer behind the 659 and also you’d have nearly every thing lined. A facet notice right here for all these attempting to get into our fantastic trade – an organization like Winston Specific Haulage can be the right place to begin. You’ll achieve expertise in a wider than wide selection of freight choices. 

Let’s get again to the story so we will discover out about this gorgeous T659. To get to that we should introduce the subsequent pillar of the Winston Specific story, Nathan Smith. Nathan just about has trucking implanted into his DNA, notably Winston Vans. I do know that sounds relatively cliché, however I’ve loads of testimonies from his mom Rose to again it up.

Exhibit A: “I used to be pulled up at a set of lights at some point. One in every of our vehicles pulled up beside me. Nathan was asleep within the again (two and a half years outdated). When the truck took off Nathan immediately bolted awake and yelled out, ‘The place’s Steve?’ I used to be like are you friggin’ kiddin’ me child, you had been lifeless asleep!” It’s what you’d anticipate although, he grew up his father’s shadow and discovered his respect and work ethic from him. Like his father he spent his after faculty and weekends cleansing, sprucing and including shiny stuff to vehicles,” Rose remembers. 

Physique work

As per his father, Nathan didn’t go straight into Winston Specific Haulage out of faculty, although he did stick intently to the transport trade. Physique constructing, not the shiny, fluoro thong sort of physique constructing, I imply the automobile physique constructing sort of work. Having spent his faculty years cleansing, greasing and blinging up vehicles, together with a weekend job at an area metal store, it sort of appears becoming that when he wanted a commerce Nathan would select one which allowed his mechanical and artistic aptitude to flourish.

Nathan spent 4 years at Grant Engineering constructing and repairing truck and tipper our bodies. This was his full time job however Winston Specific Haulage at all times remained part of Nathan’s work/work steadiness. I do know it needs to be work/life steadiness, however how many people have that? Anyway, Nathan might nonetheless be present in weekends working behind the wheel or below the chassis of a Winston truck and in 2016 he jumped again into the household enterprise fulltime.

“I’d do a little bit of driving, a bit within the workshop, a little bit of driving.” That’s how Nathan summed up his function inside the firm. Like his father’s summation at the beginning of my story, it’s a really humble simplified model. A extra correct illustration can be Nathan was driving, overseeing upkeep, working as fleet supervisor, serving to within the workplace and when the corporate moved to their new St Marys depot, he additionally began a customising wing of the corporate to utilise the abilities he had acquired all through his apprenticeship.

One other day, one other assorted load

“We had been doing all our tank skirts, deck plates … lights,” Nathan tells me. “We had our personal plasma slicing and had been doing every thing.”

I’ve now launched you to the principle protagonists of right now’s story. Now we should always get onto the large silver T659 that you simply see within the pages earlier than you. I’m certain quite a lot of of you might be considering, ‘That doesn’t appear a sensible truck for categorical work’, and you’d be proper. If a few of you might be additionally considering, ‘Why would Dean purchase that?’ Effectively, I can reply that as effectively. He didn’t, the truth is it was a ‘shock’ from his son. 

The Kenworth itself wasn’t a shock. The corporate runs a number of Kenworths now. It did take a good whereas to get one into the fleet as Dean was working virtually every thing else. Western Stars, Freightliners, MANs, Mercedes-Benz – you identify it.

The primary Kenworth by no means joined the fleet till 2011 and that was a second hand T604. The truck had come once they picked up work from a retiring truckie. He had owned the truck since day one so it was immaculate. Between the efficiency of the 604 and Nathan’s affect as fleet supervisor it didn’t take lengthy earlier than the primary new one arrived. Nathan had labored on a number of throughout his apprenticeship and knew the product. The primary new one was a 2016 T409. After the 409 got here a couple of K200s and some T610s. Due to this fact, a brand new Kenworth within the fleet was not the shock facet of issues. The shock got here within the mannequin and who it was for.

In 2020 the corporate celebrated its thirtieth anniversary, a serious milestone. As a method of celebrating, Nathan and Rose had bought and pimped out a particular Mercedes-Benz Actros for the event. “We had been organising a shock truck for Dean, a Mercedes. Dean knew nothing about it,” Rose tells me. “Then after that occurred Nathan simply form of stated to Dean and I, ‘By the way in which, I’ve form of received this 659 as a shock as effectively.’ I requested who for and he stated ‘for me’. That was actually all we knew.” 

The T659 in tautliner mode

As Rose factors out although, with Nathan’s function as fleet supervisor he orders all of the vehicles anyway. He is aware of precisely what must be turned over and when, so ordering new vehicles isn’t a shock. Ordering a 659 nevertheless and doing it up otherwise, that was a little bit of a shock.

Anniversary truck

A T659 shouldn’t be your typical categorical truck. “He didn’t inform us an excessive amount of, we saved listening to from different those who Nathan’s new truck goes to be fairly cool and we figured it might be up there,” Rose says, though she is fast to level out the plain. “As a lot as Dean says, ‘Aww, it’s impractical and no matter’, Nathan solely discovered from his father.”

Rose laughs as she remembers when her and Dean had been simply beginning out and occasions had been fairly robust, she would typically get payments for bling, nut covers and alloy wheels. When she questioned it, Dean was adamant it was wanted to uphold the corporate picture.

That explains the ‘wow’ influence of the brand new truck, however we have now to go on to the supply to clarify why a 659. “I didn’t need a 9-0 like everybody else and I assumed a C509 is perhaps a bit large,” Nathan laughs.

A 659 was a special selection and catered to Nathan’s different aim. “I used to be sick of splitting up B-doubles on a regular basis. I simply needed one thing that couldn’t tow a B-double.” Effectively, drawback solved. 

There was additionally a slight hiccup within the Kenworth being a thirtieth anniversary truck – COVID. Sure, that dreaded C phrase struck in 2020 and the gorgeous T659 truly turned a thirty first anniversary truck. COVID held up issues, in addition to the very fact the truck got here off line the utterly improper color. Not only a completely different shade of silver, a complete completely different color.

As soon as that was sorted the subsequent hurdle appeared. Nathan had ordered the Kenworth with a 50-inch flat roof bunk. The intent had been to suit an outdated Rudkin Wiley Roof Scoop solely to seek out {that a} fireplace on the manufacturing facility had destroyed the mould. That’s why the keen-eyed observer will notice that that is the one T659 with an Aero 1 roof on it. “Effectively, you possibly can’t tow a tautliner round with a flat roof,” Nathan jokes.

Not precisely manufacturing facility fitted, however Nathans spent his complete life becoming additional to the corporate vehicles. Simply so they appear this good at evening

Fifteen months after the unique ‘shock truck’ was due, Nathan lastly hooked as much as his customized 48ft trailer and headed again out on the street. It might not be essentially the most sensible for a basic freight firm nevertheless it ticks all of the packing containers for Nathan.

“It rides like a dream” he says. “It is perhaps a bit longer than some others however after a few weeks you get used to it and may put it anyplace.”

I actually ought to cease calling it the shock truck. The extra I’ve learnt concerning the Smiths and your complete Winston Specific Haulage workforce the much less I’m stunned. The truck appears to be like excellent as a result of the blokes that specced it love their vehicles. The trailer carries the names of fantastic organisations that Winston’s proudly assist each day as a result of that’s who they are.

The Kenworth T659 does work particular to it strengths and benefits as a result of the workforce know what they’re doing. The one actual shock is how this small household outfit has flown below the radar for thus lengthy. They’ll hate me saying it, however firms like this must be famous.

Effectively performed to all of the workforce at Winston’s and thanks for letting me shoot your gorgeous T659. 

For extra on Nathan’s gorgeous T659, seize a replica of OwnerDriver journal’s November version. 

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