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Lost and found: Jay Van Kampen’s 1976 Kenworth W900 Bicentennial

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Updated Feb 20, 2022

Jay Van Kampen, the owner of Wooden Shoes Trucking, found this 1976 Kenworth W900 Bicentennial on Craigslist in 2015. It wasn't just any Bicentennial edition W900, though. It was the exact truck his father had owned and driven until he passed away in 1981. 

Van Kampen showed the truck at the Guilty By Association Truck Show in Joplin, Missouri, last fall.

After his father's death, the truck was auctioned off, and Van Kampen heard the new owner wasn't a fan of the paint scheme, so he painted it blue. When the truck popped up on Craigslist more than 30 years later, Van Kampen knew it was the same truck when it was listed as a blue Bicentennial W900. His thoughts were confirmed when the seller recognized his last name as he called to make the deal. 

Jay Van Kampen's 1976 Kenworth W900 BicentennialJay Van Kampen has been around trucking his whole life, with his father being a truck driver and his uncle owning M.C. Van Kampen Trucking. With this truck, he wanted to honor his father and decided to keep it old school with a few modern upgrades. He repainted the truck to go back to the original scheme and tried to keep the CB antennas and other things "as retro as possible," he said.

When he got the truck back to his Poquoson, Virginia, home base, he started a resto-mod on it. 

"I made it workable," Van Kampen said. "I made the sleeper 14 inches bigger and put a couch in it. It's got the original cabinets in it that my father hung his shirts in that I hang mine in. But it's just got a couch instead of a bed."

Wooden Shoes front bumper"Spirit of Wooden Shoes" on the truck's front bumper is a tribute to Van Kampen's father, who was 100% Dutch. Wooden Shoes was his CB handle when he drove, and given his connection to the truck, Van Kampen wanted to honor his memory.

He also swapped out the engine, putting in a 12.7-liter Detroit to replace the original V8 Detroit. He also added a modern RTLO 13-speed with 3:58 rears, an air ride front end, disc brakes on the front axle and more.

As much work as Van Kampen has put in the truck to restore and modify it, it still works. "I didn't build the truck just to take it to a show," he said. He took about three and a half years to complete the build, doing little pieces at a time. Most of the work was done in his shop, including stretching the frame by four feet. 

Van Kampen started Wooden Shoes Trucking in 2006 and now has around eight or nine trucks, with four company drivers and four owner-operators, plus himself when he gets a chance to drive. 

'Be a Rachel' on hood of Jay Van Kampen's KenworthVan Kampen added "Be a Rachel" to the hood of the truck to honor his late wife, Rachel, who died in February 2021. "She was just a wonderful woman," he said. "Some of the people in the community, after her passing, talked about when they would speak to her, she would always ask them how they were doing, could she pray for them and stuff like that. And so, that became a local theme for them to try to be better to be more like her."

Much of the interior of the truck is still original, including the dash.

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