Restored 1984 K125 Kenworth brings joy to small NSW community

There’s something about that first drive in a truck that sticks with you forever

Everybody remembers the first truck they ever drove, the smoothest drive they had, and the biggest rig they took to the road.

Memories like this tend to stick with us, reminding us of the good times past and provide exceptional anecdotes for roadhouse pitstops.

  • Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter to receive the latest news and classifieds from Australia’s transport industry.
  • Don’t miss a second and subscribe to our monthly Deals on Wheels magazine.
  • Sell your truck with Australia’s #1 truck classifieds

For Paul Fellows, there was one truck and person in particular that he could never seem to get out of his head.

Upon first moving to Deniliquin, Paul decided to purchase some sheep for his new property.

Coming strapped in a 1984 K125 Cabover Kenworth driven by Alan Murphy of J Murphy & Sons, Paul says the truck caught his eye right away.

“It was just beautiful, an amazing truck,” Paul says.

 “And Alan, who delivered the sheep, was just an absolute gentleman.

“I’d been working with trucks for a long time and I had never met anyone like him. He was such a gentleman and that resonated with me.”  Following the memorable exchange, Paul then found himself looking out for the truck, often spotting it running around town.

“I got excited every time I saw it.”

The Kenworth is well known around the Deniliquin area

Shortly after the first interaction, Paul and his transport company Fellows Transport began carting rice.

As if fate was on his side, Paul discovered Alan Murphy had recently sold his beloved truck to a rice farmer.

“This one time, the farmer asked if I would like to drive the truck into town for him,” Paul says.

“I’m a bit of a Kenworth tragic so I said of course.

“It was honestly one of the happiest days of my life, driving this great big Kenworth truck,” he chuckles.

Paul says despite his initial excitement, he quickly noticed something was not quite right with the seat.

The door panels are still original from ‘84 and the vinyl is ‘Kingswood brown’

“It had an Eldorado seat in it. As I’m driving it in, I noticed the seat kept deflating every five or so minutes. I thought, well this is odd, but of course I left it.”

Around 30 odd years later, the truck was still occupying space in Paul’s head.

“About three years ago I saw the truck on Facebook for sale and I wanted it,” he says.

“I was going to make sure we got it.”

Paul ended up securing the truck from the farmer, ensuring he would restore it back to its original glory.

“Murphy’s had been running I think for 100 years and they’d stopped trading, and Murph had gotten a bit old.

“I knew I wanted to tribute it to Murph. He was always such a stand-up guy.”

While holding his own memories with the truck dear to his heart, Paul soon realised the rig had impacted many locals’ lives.

“It’s been a very special truck. There have been a lot of Deniliquin drivers that have learned to drive in that truck or have driven the truck over their career.

“One of the drivers we have now went for a drive with his father in that truck as a child,” he says.

“There’s a lot of people in town that really hold that truck close to their heart.

“It’s a part of Deniliquin and a part of the history.

The interior is just as good as the exterior

Finally driving the truck after 30 years, Paul was surprised to see the seat was still deflating.

“I drove it out the gate and the bloody seat starts going down. 30 years it’s been going down!” he says.

The O-ring in the seat had come off and left a tiny hole, thankfully he was able to fix it in a matter of minutes.

“I just couldn’t believe it,” he laughs.

As soon as the truck graced the Fellows Transport shed, Paul says he went to town on the restoration.

Despite its age, the Kenworth was in pretty good shape mechanically.

“I did the locker boxes, put a new floor in it and got a new engine cover.”

While getting the local upholsterer to take a peep, they pointed out some similarities between his new rig and some classic Aussie muscle.

“He said the vinyl was a Kingswood brown. That’s the same vinyl they put in all the Kingswood cars.”

“Even the lights in the locker boxes were the same ones used in an XD Falcon boot. It was just so interesting.

“There’s all these commonalities and all these parts with the automotive industry in Australia.”

The cosy interior

With most of the work done, Paul then got to beautifying the rig.

“I did the interior, even leaving the original door panels.”

“I sandblasted the chassis and painted it. I also painted the engine and radiator by myself.

Paul then sent his new pride and joy off to Shepparton for a visit to Joe at Cundari Bros for some cab replacement panels and a new coat of paint.

“He did the most magnificent job.”

“We got our signwriting done by hand and not stickers. We wanted it done in the old style and as original as possible.”

Paying tribute, the truck reads J Murphy & Sons.

As the truck is a tribute to Alan Murphy and his family, Paul ensured the rig was restored as closely as possible to the original, including the signage

For the finishing touches, Paul put some quarter guards on the truck and made new hockey steps to access the cab.

“A lot of the chrome work was redone and then that was what we ended up with.”

With an impact on the whole community, the rig needed a big debut, choosing the Deniliquin Truck Show as the place to show off.

“When Murphy’s son saw it for the first time, he got a little bit emotional because that’s the truck he learnt to drive in.

“It’s just a part of the town now.”

Paul says the truck is now part of the family, sitting peacefully at his shed at home.

“We have offered it to the local depot where it may go into rotation. There are some people in Shepparton who would like to display it too.”

“I am just happy we got it done and people get to be excited about seeing it again.”

Read more:

Check out the Deals on Wheels Facebook here.

Send this to a friend