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§wishy ............ The KENWORTH ‘S’ Model Truck & me

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2 years 6 months ago #230497 by Swishy
The KENWORTH ‘S’ Model Truck & me

Ted Beamish (aka §wishy)

I was brought up in a transport business with a wheel spanner in one hand and a steering wheel in
the other, at the age of 16 when I left school to enter the work force full time, I was expected to enter
the family owned and operated heavy haulage transport business.
I was working among many other things, as a mechanics off-sider. He was a good teacher and
tradesman and I was a good learner.
At our home and transport depot at Alphington, an inner suburb of Melbourne, traffic was always busy
with lots of trucks passing, along Chandler Hwy and at times we could hear the sweet sound of the
Jimmy diesel powered Kenworth trucks travelling past our depot and were amazed at the size in height
of the cab and power that these trucks could accelerate at.
Later on Mr Ed Cameron from Camerons Transport ( the Kenworth Importer) visited our depot and
eventually sold my father a Kenworth S-925
It was powered by a V6-71 GM diesel opened up to the maximum Horsepower for a truck of 238HP.
When it was registered in September 1964 we soon learnt, what the KW truck was all about.
Never before had a truck been available that was finished and suitable for our type of work.
Most other makes of trucks at the era were just a petrol powered cab and chassis that had to be
fitted out with long range fuel tanks, mirrors, trailer connections, spare tyre carrier, suitable lights and
generally personalise the beast.
The Kenworth S-925 had many things not heard of or even dreamt of by many drivers and owners of
big heavy duty trucks way back then
Creature comforts were well thought of for the drivers:
Adjustable Air Ride Seat, Low Air wig wag signal so when you lost air the wigwag flag would lower
down in front of the drivers vision to warn of a problem, Spring actuated parking brakes that needed
air to release the brakes, GM 2 Stroke Diesel engine, vertical mounted Exhaust muffler @at rear of cab,
Spicer 12 speed single stick multi speed transmission that was able to be
driven easily at maximum efficiency, a fibreglass tilted hood for easy engine access, insulated cab
with full length piano type hinges on the doors for extra long life, Properly mounted and heated West
Coast mirrors, torsion bar suspension with remote mount grease nipples for easy access of greasing
suspension, Kysor shutterstat air operated louvres mounted on the front of radiator to control engine
water temperature, Air Horn with a roof mounted operated chain just like on a train locomotive,
steering setup with extra turns from lock to lock that you did not need power steering, Fuel tanks that
could hold about 120 gallons (450 Liters) that you could get more than a days work out of the fuel on board.
Trailer controls with tractor protection control that deliver 60% braking to the prime mover and
40% to the trailer all set up with a trailer control trolley lever mounted beneath the steering wheel on
the steering column that did not get any, or much use as the braking was well set-up via the brake pedal.
Also equipped with enough air supply with air tanks properly mounted and plumbed up with aero type
long life hoses and fittings.
The electrics were set up with a push to reset circuit breakers, the starting of the motor was 24 volts
and the rest of the electrics were 12 volt. It had a series parallel switch to enable the 4 of 6 volt
batteries to have plenty of cranking ability even though the GM was an easy and quick starter.
Turning lights were fitted as standard equipment. The turning lights mounted on the ¼ guard that
when you looked into the lens it was a magnifying glass and you could clearly see the filament in the
globe to see if it’s blown. These lights were magnified when switched on that made it easily seen.
Above the drivers windscreen was 3 oil temperature gauges, one for the gearbox and one for each
drive axle differential.
I was not old enough to legally drive a motor vehicle at the time our Kenworth was put to work so
I became the drivers off-sider till I was of age to get a car licence on my 18th birthday so I was then
setup to pilot and escort oversize loads that many of our trucks were doing. At this stage the driver of
the KW ‘S’ model left and I was chosen to steer the ‘S’ Model Kenworth with ‘L’ plates on it for about
6 months with my father as instructor/jockey till I was 19. This was the legal age to drive articulated
truck and obtain the required licence
On one occasion while driving past Camerons of Doncaster, we noticed a nice new KW painted red
with a timber jinker ( Hughie Waugh's )

also all setup to go to work, so we just had to pull up and take a look see
After being shown over the new KW log truck I enquired what dose this switch do On/Off Jacobs
Engine Brake and was informed that it converted the engine to a compressor by holding the valves

closed till top dead centre and the Horse power the engine normally developed could be about the
same in retardation, using the Jake Brake as our low loader wheels were of the small 15inch
variety and were air over hydraulic brakes as that was all that was available. We had many brake
problems and decided there and then to fit a Jake Brake to the V6-71 GM. We inquired but no one
was importing the Jake Brakes at the time but Bowstead Wood became agent very quickly and we
were the 1st in Australia to fit a Jake Brake to an existing vehicle. It performed well and exceeded
all expectations so we soon fitted them to our ‘B’ Model Macks.
Most Kenworths around Melbourne could only be spotted driving out or into Melbourne on interstate
routes, Adelaide, Sydney or Brisbane and were not seen on many other roads and back roads or
towns across Victoria. We were often called upon to transport earthmoving machinery to many off
the beaten track places and often people would hear you coming into a town and drop what they
are doing to look up and listen to the KW beast. When we stopped in a town to get directions or buy
lunch, often when we returned to the KW truck there would be men climbing all over it and asking
what’s it like to drive a Kenworth. It was becoming a problem with people climbing into cab when we
weren’t their so we fitted iridescent red stick on signs about 2”x 3” just below the door handle “KEEP
Many machinery operators that we were transporting their earthmoving machines often asked to be
carted by the KW and as it was a fast delivery service we often arrived before the operator of the
machine and the operators of that time asked their bosses for a new ute as the old ex army willys
jeep can’t keep up with the KW float.
When we heard that Ansett were trading in their KW ‘S’ models we were quick to buy one as we
realised that on highway work they might be a little tired in the top gears but for our stop start work in
low gears mostly driving around the suburbs of Melbourne they would have had little use
Some mentioned to us why would you buy an old Kenworth with a million miles on it when you could
buy a new truck like International or Ford or even Leyland so we showed them by buying 3 ex Ansett
KW ‘S’ models so that theory was soon put to rest
We were told, by us driving through suburban shopping centres, travelling and delivering machinery
that often there could have been an executives of large transport companies that would look and
see the Kenworth in action while doing there shopping and have recommended the purchase of
Kenworths to their board of directors
The last of the ‘S’ model Kenworths was traded in on a new KW SAR 8V92T built up for heavy float
work in 1976
There seems to be a keen following of the ‘S” model KW and many have asked for photos of the ones
we had owned
I had set up a web site for our family business with about 200 pictures on it. We had many enquiries
about some of the photos so I put up all the photos I had on our WEB Site. now about 2500 pictures on our site
With the interest of the ‘S’ model KW trucks I set up a web site just for these first KW to arrive in
Australia. There was about 40 ‘S” model KW trucks delivered to Australia and I have over 1000
pictures of many versions of the different owners and paint schemes that the KW 'S” model Truck
enthusiasts have supplied
There were a few special ‘S” model truck shows, small but many other makes also attended
I suggested to Phil about setting up a email group for the ‘S’ model KW
So the name KENWORTH - ‘S’ Model Truck Appreciation Society email group was formed with
more than 100 recipients on the ‘S’ model KW website. I have set up many thumbnail pictures to click on to
view larger sized pictures.
To view the above mentioned pictures or obtain more information please view the following web sites.
Beamish Heavy Hauliers web site @
KENWORTH - ‘S’ Model Truck Appreciation Society @


Ted Beamish (aka §wishy)
There’s more WORTH in KENWORTH


There's more WORTH in KENWORTH
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2 years 6 months ago #230500 by 77louie400
Thank you Swishy, that brought back a lot of memories of my father and years past, his move from Comer knockers to M.A.N's, and my moves from M.A.N though a few Louie's KW and Mack's and back to Louie, mixed in with Industrial Electrical Trade that still dump's a big heap of cash in the bank every week,
My only hope is as we get to the pointy end of this life gig, that at least some of those that follow us can sit and look back with the same satisfaction.
I moved 260 Sydney Red Ratttle's @ 60 Foot long and 10 foot wide, out of Sydney as well as 20 @ 9 foot wide and 80 foot long Country rail, from 92 till the end of 1993 and that was a whole bunch of fun, I would go back to the wide load gig in a flash, the day I would go back to would be the day I turned up to the the Mt Boyce weight station with a 41foot trailer strapped up under the carriage instead of the the dolly, the inspector came out frothing at the mouth saying you carn't do that, I said why not, after half a hour of that, he run out of breath and I got in the truck and carried on to South Oz un loaded went down to mount Gambier and loaded a load of timber home, next time I went over Mt Boyce he just covered his eye's,.
We have been very lucky Swishy, you have to love it, Good Luck and your history was a great read.
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2 years 6 months ago #230501 by prodrive
On ya Swisho, what a great read!
Thanks for putting that up- and for being such a walking talking history book yourself..

P. s Hey Louie, put some pics up of your loads?
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2 years 6 months ago #230504 by Gryphon

if you are feeling inspired to share some of your own stories like Swishy has here, start a new thread/subject with your stories and images to make it easier for people to follow and make comments on.

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2 years 6 months ago - 2 years 6 months ago #230523 by Swishy
Part B
Fremantle Submarine (as mention on forum hoo U gunna Call)
the story goes from wot me can remember
A Dutch submarine was beeched @ fremantle n the crew nikd off after the WWII had ended
the Sub was put out to tender for removal
me ol man n 2 others in his truck hitailered it to Fremantle from Melbourne to do the recovery of scrap etc
to work on the sub they needed to get it out to where they can start disposal of sed Sub
he organised a small fortilla of crafts to tow it off the beached land @ hitide
his crew removed many $$$ woth of goods
not sure of the name of sub but could B a Dutch East Indies class KX-V111
Meanwhile in Melb there was a write up of a truck travellin Melb to Perth in record time (not known th@ time) then my mother opend the front door to Feds ... they want n to kno how he was able to get the petrol as petrol rationing was still on
she told m he saved up his petrol rationin coupons
he must of returned to Melb after the project was finished with a few items
I still have a large steel cabinet (about 6'x4') and a pressure gauge about 1 foot diameter th@ we have hookd up to our workshop compressor
there were a few more pix of inside of the sub taken by a newspaper man 6x8"B+W that I have not been able to find as yet
(add on)
Somewhere it was mentioned that the Subs power supply was sold off, either to a Town Power supply or Town Hall @ great expense



There's more WORTH in KENWORTH
Last edit: 2 years 6 months ago by Swishy.
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2 years 6 months ago #230524 by BillyP
.Good yarns there $wishy................
Better whack up a few more................


I used to be a truck driver,
but i am now not a truck driver ,
on a good day i can remember
that i used to be a truck driver.
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2 years 6 months ago #230535 by Mrsmackpaul
As Billy said, good yarns Swishman

As Swishman sez, "give till it hurts"


Your better to die trying than live on your knees begging

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2 years 6 months ago #230575 by Dave_64
Hey, Swishy!
What did those original 'S' moels steer like? Never had a drive of one.
Shepherd steering?
Power assist or Armstrong?

Drove the 903 S2's, used to steer really well, only manual steering but even with the crowbars and a 40' triaxle fridge pan with swinging meat, used to reckon they handled like a sports car!
Dave _64
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2 years 6 months ago #230579 by Swishy
The 'S' model kenworth were reasonably light to steer with a good feel for the Rd
they seemed to have and extra turn from lock to lock (good user friendly steerin) compared to a petrol powered jigger of th@ era etc
the only time U wished for Power steerin twaz tight manouverin back n in some where .. back n forth back n forth
The last 'S' we had was a glider kit dun by KW @ Preston a X Anset jigger with 3/4 Mill miles on the clock and they set it up with Airomatic power steer n
all good and light steerin th@ U tend to oversteer until U got use to it
The only problem for us was U used all your air up backin the float with a dolly which was alot of steerin @ idle revs

Part C
The 1954 Royal Tour of Queen Elizabeth II
Not that Bill Beamish was a royalist but he parked his semi the day before she arrived in Melbourne
and it was parked overnight on Ballarat rd & Gordon St Footscray the next day people were standing along the rds waiting for glimpse of her Royal Higness
Bill had asked a few friends and relitives to come and joun him on the semi to get a glimpse
A Newspaper photographer requested to come aboard the semi to get a good vantage point, Bill said he wanted a copy of the pics if possable
not only did he get a few pics of the queen but also a few 6x8 pix of the semi loaded with Bills guests
Pix have not been seeen for a few years and we are still huntin down the pix

Hope eye aint bore n U


There's more WORTH in KENWORTH
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2 years 6 months ago #230582 by Mrsmackpaul
Ruddy Marvouls part Sea Swishman

Waiting for sed piccis 2 turn up


Your better to die trying than live on your knees begging
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