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TWO OLD-TIMERS

by David A. Bontrager

Photos by Author

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1958 Bullnose Kenworth and 1969 Fruehauf 40’ stainless steel trailer owned by Ray S. O’Hanesian.
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This 1958 Bullnose Kenworth was the last one produced and purchased new by Ray S. O’Hanesian.

 

GENERAL SPECIFICATIONS

·        1958 Bullnose Kenworth Model #KDC825C

·        Ordered new from Colorado Kenworth, salesman Keith Coates

·        Last Bullnose built.  Built after production was ceased, but before the dies were destroyed.

·        Plant superintendent at the Seattle production facility, Moe Buringrud.

·        Ordered with Aeroquip airlines throughout in place of copper, which was standard at that time.

·        Cab is 80% aluminum

·        Aluminum frame

·        Original cost between $22,000-$26,000, which was considered expensive for that era.

·        Original engine, 275 Cummins.  Last and current engine, NTC 380 Cummins set up to 420 hp., installed by Ray sometime in the eighties.

·        Jacobs engine brake (Jake Brake).

·        Original transmission, 5x4 Spicer, 8,000 lb. boxes.  Later upgraded to 5x4 Spicer 12,000 lb. boxes.  Shift levers run down through the floor with the auxiliary lever straight rearward of the main box lever.  The linkage for the main box is a solid rod and the linkages for the auxiliary are two cables running through housings.

·        5th Gear in main transmission is Direct.

·        4th Gear in auxiliary transmission is Overdrive.

·        Original rear ends, Rockwell SQHD.  The rear ends have been rebuilt several times, but have always remained Rockwell SQHD.

·        Ordered with torsion-bar suspension, which remains in place today.

·        Originally had single headlights.

·        Original 264” wheelbase later shortened to 224” to run east of Nebraska.

·        When Ray installed a bigger engine he blocked up the front springs to allow room for a longer (taller) radiator.  When he shortened the wheelbase he installed heavier 15,000 lb. front springs to carry more weight since the fifthwheel had to be slid forward to meet the 55’ overall length requirements east of Nebraska.

·        The truck never has had power steering or air conditioning.  Actually, Ray at one time did install a frame-mounted air conditioner, but it never worked for more than a few hours at a time before breaking down, so he removed it.  To be more correct, Ray removed the a/c unit, ran over it with the truck and returned it to the dealer along with a few choice statements of dissatisfaction with the product!

·        Propane tank on the frame behind the cab fuels an engine heater and bunk heater.

·        Total miles unknown.  In 1998 it had over 5,200,000 miles.

·        Retired from continuous revenue operation in 1992.

 

RECAP OF TRUCKS OWNED BY RAY

·        During Ray’s career as an owner-operator the 1958 Bullnose was his seventh truck in total, and his third Bullnose Kenworth.  The two previous Kenworths were purchased used and were maintenance headaches, so Ray decided to buy a new one.  The trucks he owned are as follows:

1.      1948 R-Model International

2.      1949 International

3.      1952 or 53 Diamond T (gas)

4.      1955 Diamond T Model 931 conventional (diesel), purchased new

5.      1954 Bullnose Kenworth, purchased used

6.      1955 or 56 Bullnose Kenworth, purchased used

7.      1958 Bullnose Kenworth ordered new

 

RECAP OF RAY’S CAREER

·        During Ray’s career as an owner-operator he was leased to the following companies:

1.      Rocky Mountain Transportation (Denver, Colorado)

2.      Wright Motor Lines (Rocky Ford, Colorado)

3.      Brady Motorfrate (Des Moines, Iowa)

4.      Ace Lines (Des Moines, Iowa)

5.      Heartland Express (Iowa City, Iowa)

 

SIDENOTES

·        An Iowa DOT vehicle inspection report, dated May 25, 1979 not only shows a perfect inspection, but the inspecting DOT officer made the following hand-written comment on the inspection report, “Vehicle has about 5 million miles & is in excellent condition.”  In addition to this the Director of Motor Vehicle Enforcement at the Iowa DOT sent a copy of the inspection report to Ace Lines, Inc. as a compliment to Ray and his truck.

·        In 1988 Kenworth put the truck on display at the Seattle production facility as a tribute to both the truck and Ray.  Employees were allowed to take a “tour” of the truck.  Kenworth wanted to show their employees the importance of building a quality truck.  The photo on the cover of the company newsletter, “Kenworth Cruiser”, December 1988 issue, Ray’s Bullnose is shown between a new cabover and a T-600 along with a short article on Ray and his truck.

·        In 1988 the governor of Oregon awarded Ray a plaque in recognition of his service to the trucking industry and operating the same truck for thirty years.

·        After retirement Ray purchased the 1969 Fruehauf 40’ stainless steel dry van to have something to pull around with the old tractor.

·        Still driven frequently for personal use.  Ray takes it and the Fruehauf van to shows and uses the tractor/trailer combination as his vehicle of choice for vacation trips.  The trailer serves as a motorhome.

·        In the same issue of “Kenworth Cruiser” this additional information is provided: (quote) “The ‘Bullnose’ COE was Kenworth’s first COE built after World War II.  The first units were delivered to ICS (Illinois Colorado Express) in 1949.  In the later 1950’s Kenworth introduced a COE that had no nose, so customers assigned the ‘Bullnose’ designation to differentiate between the two.” (end quote)  Author note: I believe the above quote has a typo and it should have been ICX (Illinois-California eXpress).

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There simply isn’t much that I can add to the above chronology of a man and his career with a fine old truck – Ray S. O’Hanesian and his 1958 Kenworth – two old-timers.