When this 1972 Kenworth W900 was photographed at the Iowa 80 Truckers Jamboree in July 2010 it was owned by Charlie Batzkiel of Atkinson, IL. In 2001, he bought the classic Kenworth from then-owner Charlie Kessler of Hillsdale, IL and discovered that six years of sitting in a barnyard had created a problem – the brakes were stuck to the hubs. But that didn’t discourage him – he just loaded the truck on a flatbed trailer and hauled it home. Charlie (Batzkiel) spent the next two years working on the Kenworth in his spare time, finishing the restoration in 2003. The painting was done by Peterbilt of Iowa, but Charlie did all of the body work himself, including rebuilding the bunk, along with some help from a friend. Except for the pipes and visor, the truck was all stock and it all worked. When Charlie bought the Kenworth it was equipped with a 350 small cam Cummins engine, a 13-speed transmission, and old-style Budd wheels with tube tires. The only work the Kenworth had to do was drive to truck shows and be admired. However, a few years ago, Charlie decided that it was time to sell the truck, so John Leite of Martha’s Vineyard, MA bought it – and then he did a little updating. John replaced the frame with a newer one, installed a 400 Cummins engine, and took the Kenworth back on the road, driving it from coast to coast. John didn’t change the paint, so if you keep a sharp eye out you just might spot it as far west as California – and it is still a reliable workhorse!
John & Shirley Sponholtz have been involved with old trucks for over 20 years. Shirley was editor at Wheels of Time for 12 years before going out on her own and starting Old Time Trucks magazine in 2004. John is an avid photographer who enjoys taking pictures of odd and/or rare trucks (he provides most of the pictures for this article and their magazine). John & Shirley, who are from Richmond, Indiana, have been regular contributors to 10-4 Magazine since 2006.