Matt Bankert, 34, has made a life on the farm of Denny and Neta Ilyes. Twin Pine Farm sits on about 2,000 acres in the county of York in South-Central Pennsylvania. Married with two children and with another on the way in February, Bankert's "been working here at the farm for 17 years. ... I eat, breathe and sleep this."
The Ilyes and company raise cattle and operate their own miniature grocery store for self-produced cuts of meat and sweet bologna the area's known for, and the farm's been in the family since the 1950s. "It's pretty much as close to farm-to-table as you can get," Bankert said. His part of the operation is responsible for grain, corn, soybeans and wheat, storing and hauling it too, all through the winter and summer.
That's where Bankert and company's beautiful 1985 Kenworth K100 and 2023 Eby Generation hopper come into play. The rig was honored by Overdrive's Pride & Polish voters and participants with a big win in the Limited Mileage category in the finale presentation last month.
"We bought it in September of 2013," Bankert said, and "had it on the road the following February."
The truck had been in Maryland, south of the farm, and Bankert and company "basically pulled it out of the weeds," he said. It would start and run from the get-go, but it needed work. The previous owner told his buyers it'd been on the road a month before the sale, yet "the fifth wheel was dry as a bone." Bankert put some electrical work into it, restoring the wiring after a prior owner's patchwork re-wiring. He then worked the rig just as it was through the 2014 summer wheat harvest.
Then, the real work started. The K100 "was a little rough" on the interior, he said. "I pulled out the dash assemblies and tried to fix them. A truck of that age -- it gets a little brittle and cracked-up." He swapped some gauges with Teltek replacements, "which I really like. They're really nice gauges. I put an electric wiper conversion kit" in it to better sync the wipers, and he'd "love to find a tilt steering wheel for it yet."
The inside's not quite show-quality, he said, but it's plenty comfortable, usable, faithful to the original. The outside, too, in many ways.
The trailer air box behind the cab had been outfitted with a wet kit Bankert removed, then otherwise cleaned up the box.
He speculates the paint on the truck was originally blue, given various clues around the rig, but when Twin Pine first picked it up it looked like this:
Bankert and company put the current paint scheme on with the same stripe pattern, but different colors altogether, more a black-and-almost-gray scheme that really sets off red accents around the company lettering on the doors.
Bankert added the visor, also sourced from Raney's, and a replacement bumper intended for a W900. Bankert picked up the part at the Kenworth of Pennsylvania location in York. "I walked in to get some parts for it, and they had it there on the shelf," he said. "I thought I could probably make some brackets to bolt that up," and he could, and did.
He then set about polishing everything, from wheels and tanks to the diamond-plate deck over the frame.
"We added the half fenders" over the front of the drives to replace prior quarters, he added.
All the work on the K100 happened over a couple-few months back in 2014. With the exception of mechanical work detailed above, the truck's been much the same ever since, Bankert said, delivering on a dream held from a very young age. "I always thought running farm tractors was the coolest thing ever" growing up, he said, then driving trucks on the farm from the age of 17 when he started there shifted that toward tractor-trailers, too. "I love trucks, seeing other rides" and the like.
The K100 is a fun one to haul with, he added. "It turns a lot of heads. I get a lot of thumbs-up, a lot of pictures taken at the mill, lots of guys on the radio. I know a lot of the older guys appreciate the trucks from back then."
If you missed it, catch the final awards presentation in Overdrive's Pride & Polish competition for 2023 via this link, where the winners in six categories are also highlighted. This story is the third in a series of profiles Overdrive will complete of six category winners. Find the others via this link.