Specialized flatbed fleet K&D Transport's 'big daddy' 336-inch flagship 2003 Kenworth W900L

user-gravatar Headshot
Transcript

Spring Valley, Wisconsin-based K&D Transport owner Adam Johnson bought this 2003 Kenworth W900L, nicknamed "Big Red," in 2010 and, between himself, his cousin and another operator now driving the rig, the truck has more than 3 million miles on it. It's still hauling strong.

Under the hood is a Signature 600 Cummins with a 13 speed and 3.55 rears. Sitting on a 336-inch wheelbase, the truck features numerous customizations from front to back, inside and out. The truck, like others in the 14-truck fleet, is used to haul specialized loads -- including in past the steel coils and palletized foam that played a part in the story about the fleet's operations published with K&D's nod in Overdrive's Small Fleet Championship. K&D Transport is a finalist in the 11-30 truck division.

[Related: K&D Transport: Third-gen flatbed business running show-quality KWs]

Overdrive video editor Lawson Rudisill caught up with Johnson at the 2023 Mayberry Truck Show in Mt. Airy, North Carolina. While this particular K&D truck didn't bring home the hardware, another of the fleet's rigs -- a 1994 W900L -- was recognized as one of the "Great 8" at the show.

Johnson said the 2003 is "the big daddy that we have in our fleet... It's not going to go anywhere, and we're just going to keep rebuilding it and keep it in the fleet. It probably would be one of the last trucks I would ever sell. It's got a lot of sentimental value to me."

K&D Transport's 2003 Kenworth W900LBefore the Mayberry show last month, Johnson and the K&D team did nearly a total rebuild on the truck in just five days. The rebuild consisted of a new sleeper, new hood, a refreshed interior, new headache rack, new exhaust, new bumper and even a fresh paint job.Video and photos by Lawson Rudisill

Among custom additions to the truck are a bumper and exhaust from Lincoln Chrome; Hogebuilt rear fenders; 12 Ga. Customs mirror brackets, visor and battery box covers and more.

Interior of K&D Transport's 2003 Kenworth W900LUntil a week before the Mayberry Truck Show, the truck's interior was mostly untouched since owner Adam Johnson had driven the rig years ago. During the recent rebuild, Johnson and team added red button tuck on the doors and dash, red carpet and more.

Partner Insights
Information to advance your business from industry suppliers
The ALL NEW Rand Tablet
Presented by Rand McNally

Given the nature of the work K&D does, Johnson puts headache racks on all of his company's trucks, and also requires all of his leased owner-operators to do much the same. A new headache rack was part of this unit's recent rebuild. In addition to safety benefits, it also adds additional storage for tarps, chains and other flatbed necessities.

[Related: History in his grasp with 1978 W900A on '96 Dodge chassis, '46 Brockway, more: Adam Johnson]

'We're a specialized carrier,' Johnson said. 'We will have steel 18 inches from this headache rack. Don't make me call your wife and explain something bad happened because you decided not to run a headache rack.'"We're a specialized carrier," Johnson said. "We will have steel 18 inches from this headache rack. Don't make me call your wife and explain something bad happened because you decided not to run a headache rack."

Johnson also said he takes a "less is more" approach to adding lights to his trucks. He likes to keep many of the lights hidden and "just get the effect of the light and have the underglows."

K&D Transport's 2003 Kenworth W900L at nightJohnson recently swapped many of the company's trucks' lights to RoadWorks' Hero line of lights.

[Related: Stunning ostrich-leather interior on daycab '05 379]


Catch plenty more views of the truck in the video up top. For more videos and custom-equipment features delivered to your email inbox, subscribe to Overdrive's weekly Custom Rigs newsletter via this link.

Transcript

Adam Johnson: Hi, my name's Adam Johnson, I'm with K&D Transport here. We're a third-generation owner-operator company. Mainly all flatbeds, but we do have conestogas and step decks.

What kind of makes us unique is we put two full loads together. We'll haul steel coils and foam, so we have kind of a custom-built platform on the back of our trucks.

This is the second truck I've ever bought, it's a 2003 W900L. I ran the truck for over a million miles. My cousin then drove the truck after me, and I don't remember how many miles he drove it, and now I have a driver, Andy, that drives it, so there's been three of us since it's been in the fleet.

So this whole truck, what we did, where it's at right now, we did it in five days. It was a little crazy but everything was done in five days. Even right down to we polish out our door jambs. So I don't know how many company trucks you see running around when we start polishing out door jambs on the sleeper and the cab.

That's a '99 Signature 600 Cummins motor in it, 13-speed, 3.55 rears, full air ride. We have a custom air ride that we actually have in-house, and we offer this to our customers. We do outside work too. We run Lincoln Chrome bumpers, they're a huge supporter of us. We run Lincoln Chrome bumpers on everything. Lincoln exhaust. We've had a really good relationship with them over the years, they've taken care of us really well. Same thing with Hogebuilt fenders.

This is a factory plastic hood. We've had three or four different hoods. We've done custom fiberglass hoods, and we've kind of come back to this because at the end of the day, this saves us weight. So the lighter these big trucks are, the more we can haul, and the better and happier our customers are. 12-Gauge mirror brackets, visor, 12-Gauge battery box covers. Everything on the paint on this truck is a hundred percent done in-house. This is a full paint job that we've done.

This is a Lincoln Exhaust kit. We did something a little different. We did the stock heat shields on it. A lot of people put the aftermarket on there. The interior has not changed since I drove it, until now. We just did the door panels. We did them gray with the red. This is all the original interior in here that we did. It was gray on gray. We added the red buttons.

We did the red carpet and then put a new pair of seats in it. Don't spend a lot of money on our interiors, like this carpet, this is an Amazon carpet. This is for a red carpet event that we just buy and we repurpose it. So instead of buying a $500 carpet kit that's already got everything cut out, we pull the pad out and we will put it down on the red carpet and we make our own carpets. To me, you give it a custom look, it kind of stands out, and if you can do it on a budget, it's even better.

New cab panels underneath. We got a good relationship with RoadWorks. A lot of our stainless stuff is RoadWorks. We use SH Tube for grilles and shifters too. It's just really good people to work with.

We run headache racks on all of our trucks. So there's the big debate that you don't legally need to have a headache rack to run flatbed, but at the end of the day, my argument is even our owner-operators, I require them to have a headache rack. You come and work for us. We're a specialized carrier. We will have steel 18 inches from this headache rack. Don't make me call your wife and explain something bad happened because you decided not to run a headache rack. So we run these headache racks for safety, and the byproduct of that, we have storage, so we carry all our chains, our binders; we run boxes here. So I believe in having storage.

This is the platform design. So this particular setup with a 53-foot flat, we can haul three coils and a full load of insulation. This is a 336 wheel base. These are big trucks, so you've got to have the right guys driving them to get them around and not smash them up. You got to have good people. If you don't have good people, you're not going to have stuff like this last.

Basically a lot of our lights, we're a big supporter of RoadWorks. They got their Hero line of lights out. We've been converting all of our trucks over to the Hero lights. They've been holding up really well in the winter. They've had good luck. A lot of our trailer lights, we do run Trux two-inch lights. We've had really good luck with them over the years. We go with a little bit of a less is more, so we kind of hide them and you don't see them, and we just get the effect of the light and have the underglows.

It's a 336-wheelbase truck. There's not, I mean, there's bigger trucks out there, but it's the big daddy that we have in our fleet. It's kind of the, we call it the OG. We call it "Big Red." It's not going to go anywhere, and we're just going to keep rebuilding it and keep it in the fleet. It probably would be one of the last trucks I would ever sell. It's got a lot of sentimental value to me.