Farm to market in style — Bill Blankenship’s 1978 W900A
Bill Blankenship, who with his son, Jerry, runs the McMinnville-based Blankenship Farms & Nursery business, found this member of the 1978 class of Kenworth’s long-running W900 model eight years ago, buying it to haul the products of his business. Today, after a long restore-and-rebuild process, he hauls trees to customers week-in, week-out — “32 trips this year,” he says.
It’s something of a miracle that had the truck sitting pretty out among the show and antique trucks at the Crossville, Tenn., show this weekend at the city fairgrounds. In 2009, a tornado ripped through McMinnville, destroying three buildings on the Blankenship property. “It did $100,000 worth of damage to my home,” Blankenship says.
One of the flattened buildings, as you can see in the pictures below, housed the Kenworth, which he’d then completed to his liking. Seems the good Lord appreciates a fine custom-truck build — with the exception of a bent exhaust stack and side-view mirror on the passenger side, the W900A came out just fine.
“It was a short truck with a short sleeper when I got it,” says Blankenship, who with assistance of good friend and former owner-operator Tobby Donalson, whose pristine 1959 Pete 351 you may well recall, replaced just about every component that could be replaced to get the rig to where he wanted it. After Donalson helped put on a new exhaust post-tornado, says Blankenship, the “master truck mechanic,” as he calls Donalson, looked at him and said, “Well Bill, I don’t know if we can find anything else here to work on.”
Blankenship’s rig you can likely catch at the Nashville Chrome & Class show in October, he says, likewise Donalson’s. Enjoy the pictures below