Fighting against cancer with his truck called Karma

I’ll be the first to admit that stainless chrome and shiny features are what my eyes often gravitate towards when looking at trucks.

Think your classic kitted-out Kenworth, the sun reflecting ever-so-brightly off some super chrome wheels. 

Stunning, right? 

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However, my mind was recently swayed once I laid my eyes upon Auswide Transport Solutions’ 2021 Kenworth T909.

Built to celebrate their 150th rig, the eye-catching Kenworth is dark. Black paint, black wheels, black accessories.

Far from what many would consider a classic rig. 

The all black exterior stands out amongst the chromed Kenworths

Yet the story behind the now famous prime mover has more to do with resilience than anything else.

The lucky man behind the wheel is Damian Toms, long-time driver for Auswide and Kenworth fanatic.

“I’ve been with Auswide for just around five years now doing general overnight express,” Toms says.

“I’m loving it. I wouldn’t go anywhere else.”

When he was approached about helping them design a new truck for their 150th, he had some strong ideas on what it should look like.

“I’ve always had big, blingy trucks and this time, I thought it would be nice to try something different.

“I suggested we go all black with some gold.”

Initially planned to be black with gold grill bars, tank straps and pin striping, that idea was promptly changed when the idea of airbrushing came up.

All was well and good until “a little more airbrushing” came up, and “maybe even a little more”.

If you haven’t peeked at the pictures yet, the Kenworth is adorned with some stunning yet controversial artwork.

“I wanted a Grim Reaper, something a bit darker and more sinister,” he says. “And I wanted it to be flipping someone off.”

A cancer survivor, Toms says this was his way of saying, “It’s not your time – piss off.” 

The airbrushing turns this working truck into a work of art

While the Grim Reaper takes real estate on the bonnet and back of the cab, Toms had another pitch for what to chuck on the sides.

“I’ve been driving for 24 years now, and I spent most of that doing runs up to Perth.

“The old Nullarbor holds a sentimental place in my heart, so we decided to do a bit of an Australian theme on the sides.”

Through the luscious clear coat is a stunningly painted landscape of the Nullarbor, with the Southern Cross up in the clouds.

In an effort to tie in the nature scape with the greeter of death, they chucked in some skulls and bones for good measure.

“I wanted to be able to sit there and just stare at it and get lost in the paint.”

While Toms lost out on his touches of gold on the exterior, he sure wasn’t missing out on it in the interior.

“The red and gold contrast so well with the black, it makes it pop.

“It was a no-brainer really.” 

Despite the time, effort and thought that went into creating the work of art, Toms has found a lot of people aren’t fond of the stylistic choices made.

The interior is where Toms could add his little touch of gold

“Why don’t you have chrome on it? It just looks stupid.

“I always just say, if I had chrome on it or listened to you, it would look like every other truck on the road and it wouldn’t be nearly as special.”

The negativity even inspired its name, Karma.

“It’s for all of the haters that have slung shit on us over the years,” he laughs.

With driving a special truck comes the challenge of taking extra special care of it.


Toms says he doesn’t take that job lightly, ensuring it gets washed every day.

“Every two or three weeks I’ll put it up on the hoist and give it a full detail underneath.

“I’m pedantic and anal when it comes to cleanliness, so I’ll even polish it and do the engine bay every four or five days.

“I place an immense amount of pride in that truck.”

The love and admiration for the rig is crystal clear, and we can’t imagine seeing anyone but Toms driving her around. 

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