By Jeff Barker, Land Line contributor
Dennis Reed, a 29-year old OOIDA member from Elsberry, MO, grew up around the agricultural industry and trucking. His grandfather owned a farm where he raised livestock. Dennis’ dad owned several trucks, including International Transtar cabovers in which he learned how to drive.
In October 2010, Dennis saw an opportunity to buy his own truck and haul grain locally. He bought this clean, mostly original 1987 International 9670 cabover after loving what he saw. The truck still has its original “root beer” paint, interior and a lot of options – including an Eagle package, dual exhaust, a Cummins NTC-855, Eaton 13-speed transmission, and SQ100 rears with a 3:90 gear ratio on air ride.
As time went on, he started to learn the importance of diversification in his business and started hauling other types of cargo, including livestock, flatbed and refrigerated commodities.
“We can never stick with one thing and expect to generate revenue on a consistent basis. I have to be flexible,” Dennis said. “I originally wanted to run local, but now find myself going as far away as Texas at times when I need to.”
Almost a year after his start, his truck’s engine had a piston failure and needed an inframe overhaul. A family member suggested he haul the truck to the scrap yard, but Dennis insisted on bringing his cool old ride back to life. He got it back on the road and has been working hard to keep a close eye on things.
In recent months, Dennis Reed became friends with Dennis Johnson, another 9670 owner, who along with his truck was featured in the March/April 2012 edition of Land Line. Johnson has been sharing his knowledge with Reed and helping him get more acquainted with his truck. They both know how important it is to maintain a truck to the point where it’s nearly bulletproof in terms of dependability, especially for the time-sensitive cargo they haul.
Although this truck is averaging only around 5 miles per gallon, it should be noted that many livestock trailers can often act like parachutes in high wind. There are also numerous rolling hills throughout the area he normally operates.
As time goes on, many younger drivers are likely to embrace the growing trend of bringing older trucks back to life all while learning how to become flexible in terms of how they conduct business. Reed sets a good example for others to follow while still retaining the old-school morals he has learned. LL