In this impressive truck and dog set-up, it’s not just the Kenworth Legend SAR that pays homage to the 1980s.
Based on the iconic Kenworth W900SAR, which was built and sold in Australia from 1975 until 1987, the 50th anniversary edition Legend SAR quickly became a hot-ticket item when it went on sale for just one day in July 2021.
Coffs Harbour based business Crampo’s Tippers was lucky enough to secure the Kenworth Legend SAR #250. Sticking with the theme of the truck itself, company owner and founder John Crampo decided to go all out on the truck body and trailer – in an ode to some of Australia’s most iconic celebrities and nostalgic items of the 1980s decade.
The PBS-approved truck and four-axle dog is certainly a stand-out. On the front of the dog trailer, it reads: “Back to the Eighties. When the fun begun.”
“It’s got to be fun or I ain’t doing it. I like to make things different. I liked the truck in the 80s. It was a good truck then and is a good truck now,” said Crampo.
“It looks pretty cool too is what everyone seems to say once they see it. It’s what was a fun time in the 80s and people that were around back then have said we’ve nailed the truck. I didn’t come up with the idea until I was actually driving the truck up to Brisbane to get it painted.”
Crampo created the artwork, with Fleetmark doing the amazing sticker work on the bins, while the heritage paintwork on the Kenworth was completed by Damo at Master Art Designs. He also wanted to thank all of the suppliers who helped bring the truck and dog to life. “The bodies were done by Hercules in Brisbane, with all the polishing done by Ultimate Shine Metal Polishing. Inside was finished off by Briskair in Brisbane, putting aircons, TVs, etc. Stainless work was done in Albury by Rob from RC Metalcraft, the abundance of lights and cameras were done by Active Car and Truck Electrics in Coffs and Brown and Hurley Coffs Harbour, who always assist us in the delivery of our units. It wouldn’t look half as good as it does without all the help from these guys,” he said.
“The paint scheme and linework on the Legend SAR is based on an 80s theme too. That’s the way they used to paint the trucks back then.”
On the truck body, you’ll find Crocodile Dundee, a Sandman panel van out of Mad Max, Strop and Hoges, Olivia Newton John, Elle Macpherson, the Hey Hey it’s Saturday crew, Pacman, Cold Chisel concert tickets and more.
Then the trailer is adorned with images that include the Divinyls, Kylie Minogue, Mel Gibson, a homage to the old Four’N Twenty pie ads, INXS, a pinball machine showing ACDC and Space Invaders, World Series Cricket which started in the 80s, Peter Brock as the king of the mountain, Jimmy Barnes as the “Working class man” and John Farnham as “Whispering Jack”.
Crampo bought his first truck in 1987. It was an Atkinson International 4870 truck and two axle dog. Then he bought his second truck the following year.
Fast forward to today and he now operates a 28-strong truck fleet – mostly Kenworth truck and dogs. There is one truck and dog bearing the Australian flag, another with ‘Great Southern Land’, one featuring the Southern Cross, and a set-up dedicated to the farmers, which was stickered when the country was going through drought.
Most of the trucks are based at the Coffs Harbour depot, with some also located at the company’s second base in Taree.
These days most of Crampo’s Tippers’ work is transporting sand, gravel and fertilisers, mainly throughout NSW as well as some runs into Brisbane.
In recent years, John has also been joined in the business by his son Sam, who is general manager – and at just 21 years of age, he’s already poised to one day take over the family business
As Sam explained, “Officially, I’ve only been here for four years, but when I was younger I was at the depot at every chance I had – changing tyres, changing brakes and learning to do everything. Now I organise the loads, organise the drivers’ runs as well as driving.”
The most recent addition to the fleet, the new 80s themed Legend set-up, came off the production line in March but wasn’t finished and ready for work until October. Under PBS, it’s achieving payloads of about 38 tonne.
The Legend SAR truck and dog made its truck show debut at the recent Grinding Gears and Burning Diesel event, held in Coffs Harbour in November. The event, which is now in its second year aims to raise the importance of suicide prevention and awareness in the industry. This time around, the convoy attracted close to 90 trucks.
Now in its second year, Grinding Gears and Burning Diesel was started by truckie Ian ‘Eno’ Taylor after losing his colleagues Mark Haines and Tom Seccombe to suicide. It raises money for Lifeline North Coast.
“We took a few trucks to the event last year as well, that was the first time it was run and what happened to those fellas was still quite recent. Both the boys were local guys. We didn’t know them personally, but we knew of them and wanted to show our appreciation,” explained Sam.
Looking ahead, Sam says he’s hoping to take the 80s themed truck to various other truck shows in the near future, including the Casino Truck Show later this year.