LEGENDARY TRUCK – Kenworth SAR Living a Legend

By: Steve Brooks


The secret’s out. One of many headline acts at this year’s Brisbane Truck Show will be a highly exclusive Kenworth model known simply as the ‘Legend SAR’.

LEGENDARY TRUCK – Kenworth SAR Living a Legend
Restored Kenworth SAR from 1986 still looks the goods

As the name implies, it is the modern-day descendant of a truly legendary truck and just as it did four years ago with the hugely successful recreation of the original T900, Kenworth will be taking orders for the Legend SAR for just one day. After that, there will be no more.

According to several sources, excitement in the retro special is already running high with plenty of operators expressing a willingness to pay handsomely for the opportunity to own a truck which will almost certainly become a classic of the modern era. Guesstimates both inside and outside Kenworth are suggesting a minimum of 300 orders with the real potential for significantly more.

Kenworth SAR a legend in the metal

For many, the truck known officially as the W900SAR is the greatest, most revered Kenworth of them all. With its uniquely high-set cab affording greater cooling capacity for higher powered engines, the SAR was the first Kenworth fully conceptualised in Australia, for Australia, striking a happy chord with truck operators from the moment the first model rolled off the Bayswater (Vic) assembly line in July, 1975.

In its original engineering form, SAR stood for ‘Short bonnet A-series cab Right-hand drive’, before being localised to ‘Short Australian Right-hand drive’. Whatever, the model stands as a bastion of the Kenworth brand.


Kenworth T410 SAR is the real deal


For now, Kenworth isn’t giving any details about the final appearance or finer features of the ‘Legend SAR’ but you don’t have to dig far to find the sort of passion and devotion accorded the model, nor a hint of the styling cues driving the design.

Take, for instance, the beautifully restored SAR pictured here. It’s a 1986 model punched by a Cat 3406B engine rated at 425 hp, feeding into an Eaton 18-speed overdrive transmission. The proud and decidedly protective owner is Brett Cleary, operations boss at the high profile, family-owned Cleary Bros company based at Port Kembla, south of Sydney.

Interior of the SAR nearly looks as good as the outside

Cleary Bros runs a big fleet of trucks in everything from agitators to truck and dog, semi-tippers and heavy haulage, just to name a few. Likewise, there’s a wide range of makes and models but Kenworth certainly isn’t the most prevalent. Not by a long shot. In fact, Brett’s stunningly restored SAR never even worked for the company.

So why the obvious passion for the SAR?

He smiles and chooses his words carefully: "I’ve always had a thing for Kenworth, especially the SAR. I just love the look of it. Always have, but it wasn’t an easy thing to grow up with when you’re the son and nephew of men who had more of a liking for Mack."

"So, anyway, when I turned 40 (around five years ago) I decided to shout myself an SAR that I could restore to something special, and this is it.

Presence of the Kenworth SAR makes it a king of the road

"I found it in Western Australia and paid around $32,000 for it. It wasn’t in good shape but the chassis was straight and it was just right for what I wanted to do."

As for how much has been spent on bringing the truck to its present glory, a smirk comes with gritted teeth, "I’ve stopped counting. Let’s just leave it at that."

So, does the Legend SAR figure in the future?

"Ya never know. Again, let’s just leave it at that, for now."

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