By Jeff Barker, Land Line contributor
We often see owner-operators buy and sell numerous trucks throughout their career. R.J. Rubel, an OOIDA member from Columbus, WI, is a definite exception.
As a child during the 1970s, I remember being with my family on vacations and enjoying the sights of many nice trucks out on the highway that were still relatively new during that time. As a driver nowadays, I get to see some of those same trucks that are still out on the road with a very proud owner-operator at the wheel.
R.J. is among those who have a long history with their prized old trucks. He is the second and current owner of this beautiful 1973 Kenworth W900 A-Model. He pointed out that this truck is a Jubilee model as it was built during Kenworth's 50th anniversary.
He bought the truck from another owner-operator in 1980, and it has been in his family ever since. Currently, the truck is leased to a small outfit in Lone Rock, WI, and pulls a flatbed trailer.
"I sold it to my brother Ed, but bought it back when he needed a newer truck," R.J. said.
Over the years R.J., with the help of his nephew John, has done many updates and upgrades to his truck. The frame was stretched to a 265-inch wheelbase before air ride rear suspension and a 60-inch sleeper were added. Power steering and air conditioning were installed, and the front suspension was rebuilt with 4-inch tapered leaf springs and Donvel front air bags.
He has replaced a few engines over the years and also fabricated a front cross member to accommodate an air-to-air intercooler for the current engine, a Cummins Big Cam 3.
"With a single over 13-speed and 11R-24.5 low-profile tires, the engine runs at 1,625 rpms and averages an honest 6.5 miles per gallon," R.J. said.
R.J. mentioned that he has had to replace the mechanically driven speedometer head twice.
"Sorry, guys, but the total number of miles on this truck is lost in the wind," he said with a laugh.
The Kenworth 100th Anniversary Celebration will likely be taking place in 2023, and R.J. has ambitions of being in attendance with his truck.
"If I'm lucky and the good Lord willing, perhaps I'll find a good-paying load to Seattle and my old friend and I will drop in at the party."
Since R.J. is a proud owner who has kept his old truck running strong over the years, I'm confident that he will make that happen. LL