1977 Kenworth W925 S2R

The legendary Australian made and engineered US truck

1977 Kenworth W925 truck with 1930 Pontiac 29-6 car on the back, Castlemaine VIC, November 2014

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About This Kenworth W925 S2R

Driver Classics' 1977 Kenworth W925 S2R was acquired in October 2009 from Yarragon Truck Centre, Yarragon, Victoria. It was originally built for Cronulla Carrying Company, NSW and featured a GM Detroit Diesel V6, model 6V71 engine.

Kenworth W925 S2R truck (1977 model) next to an Atkinson truck. Photo taken at Preston, 1992
1977 Kenworth W925 S2R alongside an Atkinson, both trucks then owned by Leo Basten, Preston VIC. 1992

The W925 S2R eventually ended up at Gosford Truck Sales, NSW and in 1991 was sold to Steve Jones in Melbourne, VIC. Steve made many modifications including lengthening the bonnet to accommodate a larger Detroit Diesel V8 engine and had the chassis extended to enable an ex Clelend’s fridge body to be fitted. Steve intended to take the S2 back to his home country New Zealand, but instead sold the S2 to Leo Basten in Melbourne.

After acquisition by Driver Classics in 2009, the refrigerated body was removed, a ground up restoration carried out and a flat-bed tray fitted to the chassis. The cab of the W925 was white when purchased, then changed to black with a red chassis and finally to its current silver, still with the red chassis.

Our Kenworth W925 S2R is powered by a GM Detroit Diesel V8 2 stroke engine, 568ci model 8V71 with a 10 speed Eaton Fuller Roadranger transmission.

1977 Kenworth W925 truck body assembly during restoration
1977 Kenworth W925 body assembly during restoration. The cab was planned to be black but later changed to silver.
1977 Kenworth W925 engine installation during restoration
1977 Kenworth W925 engine installation during restoration

The Story

Kenworth is an American based truck manufacturer tracing its roots back to 1905 when William Piggot formed the Seattle Car Manufacturing Co. to manufacture railcar and logging equipment. Seattle Car Manufacturing Co. merged with Twohy Brothers in 1915 to become Pacific Car and Foundry Co. In 1925 William Piggot sold control of Pacific Car to American Car and Foundry Co. Paul Piggot, son of the founder William Piggot, bought back a major interest in Pacific Car and Foundry in 1934.

Separately, Gerlinger Motor Co. launched its new Gersix truck in 1915. In 1917 Edgar K Worthington with partner Captain Frederick Kent bought Gerlinger Motor Co. renaming it Gersix Motor Co.

In 1923, Gersix reincorporated as Kenworth Motor Truck Company, now with partner Harry Kent, son of Frederick Kent. The name Ken-Worth was derived from the two major shareholders, Harry W Kent and Edgar K Worthington. In 1926, Kenworth started making buses as well as trucks and in 1933 introduced diesel engines as standard in their trucks.

In 1945 Paul Piggot of Pacific Car and Foundry acquired Kenworth Motor Truck Co.

Pacific Car and Foundry purchased US based Peterbilt Trucks in 1958, UK based Foden Trucks in 1981, Netherlands based DAF Trucks in 1996 and UK based Leyland Trucks in 1998.

In 1962, Australians Ed Cameron and George Blomfield imported seven GM Detroit Diesel 6V71 powered Kenworth S900s engineered for right hand drive into Australia and set up the infrastructure for continued importation. The first large order was placed by Ansett Freight Express in 1963 for two GM Detroit Diesel 6V71 powered Kenworth S921s and then in 1964, a further ten GM Detroit Diesel 8V71 powered Kenworth S925 prime movers.

In 1966, Pacific Car and Foundry, later to be called PACCAR, announced it would begin manufacturing trucks locally in Australia. Kenworth Motor Trucks was then incorporated and began assembling CKD (Completely Knocked Down) trucks. Kenworth Motor Trucks purchased 28 acres of land at Bayswater in Melbourne’s east in 1969 to build a factory and office. In March 1971, the first all Australian Kenworth, a K125CR cab over, was built at the Bayswater plant.

Kenworth Advertisement in Truck and Bus Transportation magazine, October 1977
Kenworth Advertisement, Truck and Bus Transportation magazine, October 1977

By the 1980s, Kenworth Trucks Australia, had risen to become the top selling heavy duty truck on the Australian market.

Kenworth succeeded where others before had failed…surviving in the gruelling Australian outback.

Kenworth established a well-deserved reputation for quality Australian design, engineering and reliability that other manufacturers could only dream about. With this hard earned reputation, the legend continued to build, and even today, Kenworth is still the number one heavy duty truck and has achieved iconic status in Australia.

The W925 AR series Kenworth with its traditional long nose and large chrome grille came to epitomise classic Kenworth toughness and rugged good looks. It came as a surprise to the industry when in May 1976 it was discontinued in Australia when it could not meet the latest government dimension regulations and was subsequently replaced by the shorter sloping bonnet W925 SAR. However, with persistent customer demand and revised government regulations, the W925 AR was re-introduced in November 1978 and continues to this day, but now as the T900 series. By 2017, Kenworth had manufactured 60,000 trucks at Bayswater and in 2018 the plant also began assembling DAF trucks.