A Proud Canadian
by Jim Park
Older trucks always attract a crowd at a truck show, and James Doel's 1962 Canadian Kenworth is no exception. This one is a rare buggy indeed, and its personal history makes it that much more interesting. Rose, as Doel calls her, is 39 years old and has never been out of service for more than a couple of months at a time. It's never had a payment made on it, either. Each of its three owners bought it outright: cash on the barrel.
Doel, from Perth, Ont., picked it up in Kelowna, B.C., in 1994 from Jon Ludbrook, who had acquired it in 1977 from the original owner, Evans and Sons Bulldozing, an excavating firm in Watson Lake, Yukon.
The truck was built in Vancouver at the Canadian Kenworth factory, which opened in 1956. It rolled off the line as an aluminum-framed day cab, equipped with a 220-hp Cummins and a 5-x-3 transmission. The original Cummins had a turbo on it, giving it a rating of 262 hp. That engine was replaced by a 350 small-cam Cum-Along, which was eventually switched out in 1990 for a NTC 400.
But not just any old NTC 400.
This one had had the performance tune-up - a race-rebuild, Doel calls it - which included a modified fuel pump, ceramic pistons, and a few other goodies. It'll crank out nearly 700 hp when set properly. Today, Doel is running it at a modest 500 hp. He had to add three additional cores to the radiator. The meter says it has turned nearly 700,000 miles.
Back in the 1960s, trucks built for the north could be spec'd without speedometers - this one was - so Doel's not sure of the exact mileage. He estimates that, based on the maintenance logs and trip records, Rose is pushing 3.6 million miles.
There have been a few other changes over the years, including the addition of a rare and genuine 1973-vintage Kenworth A-model 60-in. flat-roof sleeper.
The fenders are unique to the Canadian models produced by Kenworth, in that they sweep back and are molded into what is now a battery box. Originally, the fender was molded into a fuel tank designed with integrated steps.
And Doel admits the spiffy hood ornament sitting atop the four-piece butterfly hood isn't original KW either. It's actually from a 1933 vintage Packard straight-8. The piece, called 'the Goddess of Speed', is a prize among hood ornament collectors. Doel bought it just because he liked it, then spent hours adapting the piece for the wide-neck rad cap. The fully functional hood vents were added later.
Doel owns Jade Transportation Services of Perth, Ont. His eight-truck fleet specializes in transporting radioactive isotopes and soap products from coast to coast in U.S. and Canada.