Third-generation owner-operator's beautifully-rebuilt 1990 Kenworth W900L

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Third-generation owner-operator Joel Anker has been involved with his family’s Anker Trucking business all his life.

His grandfather, Bill Anker Sr., started the Lynwood, Illinois-based business in 1976. Joel, 38, officially began working in the company’s shop when he was in high school, then learning to drive trucks in the 1990 Kenworth W900L featured in the video above. He showed the rig as it is today last month at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky, following a rebuild by Davis Brothers Designs out of Owensville, Indiana.

“That’s part of the reason I wanted to redo this truck,” he said, a tribute to his own legacy with the trucking company that bears his and his family's name.

Joel Anker got his CDL when he turned 18, and he's been driving ever since. His involvement in the business followed long after his grandfather's founding of Anker Trucking with a Hendrickson dump truck. He hauled out of the Thornton Quarry in Thornton, Illinois, initially, “then we kind of worked up from there,” Joel said. “We got into dump work, then after that started getting into more specialized work.”

Today, the focus remains specialized, hauling oversize/overweight commodities principally with multiple lowboys, steerable-axle lowboys, stretch lowboys, flatbeds, drop decks and more, including 12 company trucks in total. That's been Anker's bread and butter for most of the last 25-30 years, Joel added.

[Related: Top performers from MATS' 2024 PKY Truck Beauty Championship]

As for the 1990 W900L, the now-retired day cab was bought new by Joel’s father, Bill Anker Jr., and was one of the first L-model W9s in the Chicagoland area, Joel said. His parents designed the paint scheme on the rig, which Joel said is “pretty retro for nowadays. It definitely has that late-‘80s, early-‘90s look.” And while it was repainted during the rebuild, Joel kept the original colors and style.

rear fenders on Joel Anker's 1990 Kenworth W900LThe paint scheme extends to the rear of the truck onto the rear fenders.

After the truck ran for about 1.3 million miles, the Ankers took it off the road and Joel decided to make it into a show truck. Davis Brothers rebuilt the unit from the frame up. 

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Cat 3406B in Joel Anker's 1990 Kenworth W900LThe original Cat 3406B and 13-speed transmission were taken out and painted.

In addition to the engine work, the frame was stretched three feet to 250 inches, and everything else on the truck was touched, Joel said.

Interior of Joel Anker's 1990 Kenworth W900LThe interior was completely redone with a painted floor, custom dash, headliner, stereo and more. The dash was custom made by Davis Brothers.

The sound system features speakers in the doors and headliner, a 10-inch subwoofer between the seats, and four speakers under the deck plate. “For a little day cab, it'll put some sound out,” Joel said.

At MATS, the truck earned fifth place in the Limited Mileage -- Bobtail with Miles class.

[Related: Custom 2024 Peterbilt 389 boasts exquisite laced fenders, lift bumper]

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


Joel Anker: I'm Joel Anker. The company's Anker Trucking Inc. out of Lynwood, Illinois.

So this one's a 1990 Kenworth W900L. It's got a Cat 3406B in it. So, yeah, like I said, it's all original. It's obviously all been pulled out, blasted, painted, pinstriped. So turned out nice. That yellow's actually really cool when the sun gets on it. It's got, like the black, the metallic in it that pops pretty good in the sunlight.

It's actually one of the first L-models in Chicagoland. My dad bought it from Chicago Kenworth, brand new. They came up with the paint scheme on it. It has all been redone, kept that original. A lot of things have changed but the paint I kept original. Like I said, he bought it brand new. This was the truck I learned to drive in, so it's kind of a sentimental thing. That's part of the reason why I wanted to redo this truck.

As far as the rebuild on it, had Davis Brothers do the work out of Indiana, and it was a complete rebuild, down to the bare frame rails, engine, trans, everything was out, repainted, had the frame stretched. The whole thing's been touched.

So, yeah, I did the shaved door handles. And obviously the interior's all been redone and painted floor, all custom dash, headliner, stereo in it. Stereo in this thing's pretty good, too. Got obviously the speakers in the doors and the headliner. I got a 10-inch sub in the middle. Underneath the deck plate, I've got four speakers under there, too, pointing straight down at the ground. It's loud. For a little day cab, it'll put some sound out.

We got new doors for this thing and they were the last set in the country and came out of Seattle, Washington, so that was a little bit of a process. But other than that, I mean, obviously the dash is all custom. That's a one-off because of the age of the truck, and that's all custom-built. The headliner, 12 Gauge Customs did that. Obviously, this one doesn't work anymore. It's definitely retired now. It's a little bit easier to keep up with it.

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