Since being reunited with the prized 1984 Kenworth W that he has lovingly restored, Bob Imlach has kept it very close, but this weekend it will be making a special appearance for a very worthy cause.
The 72-year-old retired truckie and Vietnam veteran bought the truck brand new. It was the first truck he had ever owned, and for four years, it was his second home – up until he traded it in for another Kenworth.
But when a friend spotted the truck in a repossession auction in 2005, Imlach knew he wanted to get it back, so that’s exactly what he did.
“It took me two years to strip it back and rebuild – I pretty well did it all myself except for the paint job,” he said.
“For the past 15 years it’s been a show vehicle, not really doing much work other than carting a few wood logs for my friends.”
You might expect a truck of its age to have a staggering number of kilometres on the clock, though with this 1984 gem, that’s not the case. Despite being in its mid-thirties, it’s only clocked up 3 million kilometres.
And Imlach hopes to keep it that way. “This truck won’t be going anywhere while I’m alive,” he said. Well, unless it’s for a good reason, anyway.
Imlach has been involved in fundraising for various charities through the Tasmanian Truck Owners & Operators Association for more than 30 years.
This Sunday 14 March, his 1984 Kenworth W will be at the Longford Showgrounds in Tassie for the Tasmanian Truck Owners & Operators Association Annual Truck Run. The truck won’t just be there for show, it’ll deliver $700 worth of logs, which will be raffled off to raise money for the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) Tasmania.
The Truck Run will feature over 70 impressive vehicles. They will leave from Glebe, Launceston at 10am and travel via Boland St, Dowling St, Elphin Rd, Quarantine Rd and Highway 1 to the Longford Showgrounds for the show which will run from 11am until 3pm.
As part of the event, there will be a mega raffle of more than 350 donated prizes.
Shiny big rigs old and new, vintage fire trucks and Launceston’s new $1.5 million snorkel, the RFDS plane simulator, RFDS/Woolnorth dental truck, the UTAS Mobile Integrated Learning and Engagement vehicle will be among the displays.
There will also be plenty of food and refreshments on site, music by DJ Stix, a jumping castle and a variety of stalls. Entry is by gold coin donation.
Tasmanian Truck Owners & Operators President Rob Bayles said that members wanted to support RFDS Tasmania in its 60th anniversary year to recognise the important work it does to help everyone living in rural and remote areas.
“If we can help boost the funds it relies on to roll out its health programs and provide infrastructure such as patient transport shelters at airstrips and specialised vehicles for mobile dental and primary health services, then we are doing something that could potentially help anyone,” Bayles said.
“Local businesses haven’t hesitated coming on board to support the event and the truck owners and operators are busy preparing their rigs to make sure they look their best as they head down the highway to Longford on Sunday.”