'83 Kenworth W9 honors fleet's history

user-gravatar Headshot
Transcript

Weedsport, New York-based Page Transportation was founded in 1978 by Keith Titus, the father of current company owner Dan Titus. Keith passed away in 1999, and through the years the company, which now boasts 220 trucks, has moved on past all of the trucks Keith bought during his career -- except one.

In the video up top, Dan Titus and Page Transportation owner-operator Robbie Johnson unveil the finished restoration project of the last truck still in the fleet that was originally purchased by Keith -- a 1983 Kenworth W900. Johnson took on responsibility of restoring the truck, keeping the progress on the project a secret from Dan and the fleet executives until it was put on display at the 2024 Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky. 

"We're fortunate enough to not only have Robbie as an owner-operator for our company, but Robbie has a passion for restoring this type of equipment," Titus said. "And as you can see, he did his magic. And we have something that we think really, really, really honors, you know, our mom and dad."

Page Transportation's 1983 Kenworth W900Johnson said he started from scratch on the restoration, including new frame rails, newer rear suspension and front axle. But the goal was to "keep it as period correct as possible, and Robbie did a great job with that," Titus said.Video and photos by Lawson Rudisill

The truck was also a day cab originally, so Johnson found a 36-inch A-model sleeper to add to it. 

Page Transportation's 1983 Kenworth W900 sleeper interiorThe sleeper was "pretty well roached out" when Johnson found it, so he had it reupholstered and "kept the same theme the cab had." The sleeper was the only part of the interior that had to be redone. The rest, as seen in the next photo, remains original.

Screenshot 2024 06 13 At 12 24 24 Pm

Also original to the truck is the 425-hp Caterpillar engine. "Nothing really beats that when it comes to the older trucks," Johnson said.

The entire rebuild took about a year, though Johnson noted that included about eight or nine months of on-and-off work on it. "Finding parts for an older truck is always challenging," he said. "That added quite a bit of time to it."

Partner Insights
Information to advance your business from industry suppliers
BlueParrott B350-XT
Presented by BlueParrott
The ALL NEW Rand Tablet
Presented by Rand McNally

Ultimately, Titus said, the truck "looks as 1983 as it did when it rolled off the line."

Dedication on Page Transportation's 1983 Kenworth W900The truck is dedicated to Dan Titus' parents, Keith and Deb Titus. MATS was Dan's first time seeing the completed restoration. "I'm just seeing it for the first time," he said. "I’m struggling to put how I feel into words. It’s super special."

[Related: 'Popo': 1955 needlenose Kenworth's second owner rebuilds a classic]


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.

Transcript

Dan Titus: It was important to us to keep it as period correct as possible, and Robbie did a great job with that, you know, all the way down to the beaded vinyl inside that looks as 1983 as it did when it rolled off the line. My name is Dan Titus. I own a company called Page Transportation.

Robbie Johnson: I'm Robbie Johnson. I work for Page Transportation now for maybe 13, 14 years, I guess now at this point. They have all kinds of stuff, I guess anywhere from aluminum scrap to dirt.

Titus: If you can put it in that dump trailer we haul it.

So this is the last truck that we own in our fleet that was originally purchased by my dad, who passed away in 1999. It's a 1983 W900. It had been a work truck, all the way up into about 18 months, maybe two years ago. We had the opportunity or had the thought, you know, given that it was the last unit we had to restore that unit, kind of in honor of my mom and dad.

So, we're fortunate enough to not only have Robbie as an owner-operator for our company, but Robbie has a passion for restoring this type of equipment. And as you can see, he did his magic. And we have something that we think really, really, really honors, you know, our mom and dad.

Johnson: I ended up starting from scratch with new frame rails, newer rear suspension, front axle. It was a day cab originally, so we ended up adding a sleeper to it. A 36-inch, A-model sleeper and redoing the interior. And it was a big build, a big undertaking, but it was I think it came out real good.

And interior in the cab is pretty much all original, which is kind of really nice on the older ones, when you can open the door on them and see how they're supposed to look and how they did look in the old days. So the complete bunk had to be really reupholstered. When we found that sleeper, it was pretty well roached out.

So we ended up redoing the whole sleeper interior, and we kept with the roll and pleated interior. We kept the same theme the cab had, so that was the only part that was having to be redone.

Titus: It was important to us to keep it as period correct as possible. And Robbie did a great job with that. And all the way down to the beaded vinyl inside. It looks as 1983 as it did when it rolled off the line.

Johnson: You seem to be happy with it so far. Runs good. Same mechanical engine that it had in, you know, 425 Cat, and nothing really beats that when it comes to the older trucks. And transmission I believe is the same that was in it. So yeah, a lot of a lot of original parts on it.

Titus: And for me I'm just seeing it for the first time. So I'm struggling to put how I feel into words. But yeah, it's super special.

Johnson: Yeah. We kept it a secret from him and his sister and, and Chris, the vice president. We didn't want anybody to see what we were doing, and this is where they were going to see it. So it's, kind of neat to see the reaction. I guess.

Showcase your workhorse
Add a photo of your rig to our Reader Rigs collection to share it with your peers and the world. Tell us the story behind the truck and your business to help build its story.
Submit Your Rig
Reader Rig Submission