There ain’t no truck quite like Bernie Learson’s 1985 W900B.
Well, we tell a lie.
There is only one other on Australian shores, making Bernie’s prized possession – and holiday home – a rare find.
Bernie, who is a truck show regular, enjoys criss-crossing this great brown land with his wife, a feat made only possible by Bernie’s choice customisations.
Coupled to the W900B is a former Dawson’s Removals Lucar cargo van.
Bernie happened upon the rare truck when he saw it in a magazine, Deals on Wheels.
“Believe it or not, I just saw it and though that looks cool, so I bought the thing,” Bernie said.
“I don’t think I knew exactly what it was, and I don’t think the owner knew that either,” he said.
“So we ended up with something a bit rare, just on accident.
“When my wife saw it roll in and said ‘Gee, who owns that?’ I turned to her and said, ‘You do,’” Bernie laughed.
Since then, Bernie has customised and updated the rig for more than a decade.
Throughout that time the truck had to fund its own restoration.
“It doesn’t work as hard as what it used to in the first few years,” Bernie said.
The mirrors are one of the more spectacular features of the vehicle. Bernie has limited the number of brackets to just one – a major technical feat, encasing all the wiring inside the cab.
“There is a bad side to it. If I take out a mirror, I’ll take out the whole side of my cab,” he laughed.
Today the Kenworth runs on an 18-speed gearbox and an N14-525 Celect Plus, a change from the original 15-speed and 350 Cummins.
The W900B has customised steps, fuel tanks, mirrors, exhaust, headlights and badges.
“I like to keep with the Yankee look,” he said.
“That is where the truck’s heritage comes from and I am trying to keep it that way.
“In Australia people buy a Kenworth, they might have some changes to it and then do the same thing as everyone else is doing,” he said.
“I don’t want to do that.
“When you have something a bit different, it is something a little bit more fun.”
First published in Big Rigs on 30th Dec 2017
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