Mercer leased owner-operator Ted Streit also happens to be the owner of a shop doing custom and restoration work in Suring, Wis., called Fast Transport. More than a year ago, he called me up after seeing some coverage of fellow Wisconsin resident (Sparta) and owner-operator Paul Sagehorn’s restoration of two original TV KWs, one from the Movin’ On series and the other a last-season B.J. and the Bear rig I followed from discovery to the finish (you can check out some of that coverage 2008 edition of Custom Rigs magazine here). Streit told me about his long-running project, restoring a 1970 Kenworth W900 (pictured, with Streit) that he said was one of just a couple-few to have been powered originally by an on-highway engine made by heavy-equipment stalwart Allis-Chalmers.
As I wrote in the story I eventually penned about Streit’s truck, live now at Custom Rigs’ site and in the Back Pages column of the new issue, “if that sounds weird, it is.
“Farm equipment maker Allis-Chalmers was only in the highway-engine business for a brief period in the late 1960s-early ’70s, during which time some appeared in experimental units, including a few used in trucking.”
Check out the rest of the story, a quick but wild ride through Streit’s personal history with the truck and with Allis-Chalmers engines, one of strange coincidences, to say the least. And if you have past experience with or any recollections of Allis-Chalmers’ on-highway adventures you care to share, Streit’s most definitely looking for leads on an original AC engine to fit the space of the replacement Cummins 400 he’s got in the Kenworth now, which he uses only for shows and parades. The Kenworth also had a particular stripe package to go with the Chalmers purple that was originally on it when it was used as a show vehicle for the equipment maker; Streit’s looking for a good photo to help re-create the striping, too. Contact him via streitted (at) yahoo.com or 920-590-1261, or post here and we’ll be sure to get your message to him (be sure to leave your contact info).