Top cattle travel in pure Kenworth luxury

After years of hard work and a collection of solid farm trucks, this regional Australian family opted to go big for their latest fleet upgrade and the result is stunning

Welcome to ‘Marble II’ – A stunning Kenworth T410SAR. Arguably one of the coolest T410s on the road, this exquisite piece of equipment is 50 years in the making. Born of hard work and dedication, it is a well-earned piece of luxury and a well-deserved reward. It is also more than just a pretty face. It is a hard-working practical piece of equipment that is making life a hell of a lot easier for a small family business. And on top of all that, it has come out of nowhere – allow me to explain.

The cool thing about this truck and the story is that it isn’t really a trucking story. Yes, it includes a truck, and yes, it is an epic truck. However, the folks involved in its conception aren’t full-on truck people. Don’t get me wrong, they aren’t strangers to trucks either but when you see a truck as grand as the Whitaker’s T410 you kind of assume that driving and building cool looking trucks is in their DNA. Well, it’s not.

Care to take a guess what the Whitakers were traveling around in before they put this Kenworth on the road? A 1981 Isuzu SCR. Yes, you read that right. From a 40-year-old Isuzu into a state-of-the-art, Australian-built masterpiece. Now you are starting to understand what makes this truck and story just a little bit different.

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Clint and Robyn Whitaker are the couple who own this impressive rig and the couple behind Whitaker Beef and Whitaker Brahman Stud. Their passion is in breeding very fancy ‘moo moo’ cows. I’m not talking about the kind of thing you’ll see for $35 a kilo at Coles. I am talking about prize-winning Brahman, Charbray and Charolais bulls. The kind of quality cattle that people pay thousands for in order to enhance their own breeding stock.

For over 20 years now this family-run operation has been growing a name for itself on the back of some good-looking cattle. I’d love to quote you all the awards and prizes they have won from showing their bulls at different events, but it would probably go right over your head as it did with me. Suffice it to say they are very good at what they do. Up until late last year, their emphasis has solely been on growing the herd, so to speak, and building their reputation and putting their resources into a quality product.

Transportation of themselves and their stock had never been a major factor in their business. When Clint and Robin first started their venture back in the early 2000s, they would transport their stock to shows using their farm ute and a gooseneck trailer. If they needed to move any of their stock to sales or between properties, they just utilised local cattle carters. It wasn’t until Beef Week 2009 in Rockhampton that the couple gave some serious thought to the transport side of their business.

“We used to go to all the shows in our gooseneck,” Robyn tells me. “We’d have to carefully pick our team ’cause we could only fit a few on. Then we decided at Beef 09 to buy a truck.”

Clint and Robyn along with Clints’ parents Carole and Barry. It’s a long way from Barrys’ old Perkins now

Moving from the gooseneck to a small rigid truck would allow the couple to almost double the amount of cattle they could include in their show team.

Clint was left in charge of sourcing out Whitaker Beef’s first official stock truck as he was the one with trucking in his heritage. Clint’s younger years had been spent around trucks; both his father and his grandfather were involved in trucking. He can still recall the memories of his grandfather’s truck.

“Admittedly it was about the same size as our ute,” Clint laughs. “It would fit one log on it and It would be done.”

Clint’s father and his uncles also used to run trucks. “I remember the old petrol Perkins that used to take 23 hours to get from Eidsvold to Brisbane and back home,” he says. “There was one hill that Dad would get the local farmer to tow him over; he even got towed over it by a motorbike once.”

That same old Perkins would arrive in Brisbane around the same time everyone was crammed onto trams heading for work. The trams were loaded with dolled-up workers and the Perkins was loaded up with cattle and excrement. Those two didn’t mix well when Clint’s dad would have to brake suddenly.

After years working their old Isuzu Clint Whitaker and his wife Robyn rewarded themselves with their stunning T410SAR.

Back in those days Clint was like every good kid. School days were spent drawing pictures of trucks and then skipping homework to help dad in the truck and filling his weekends and holidays off-siding or cleaning trucks.

His dad ran several different truck makes after the Perkins, but the one that Clint was drawn to though was a Cummins-powered International. It was a much more comfortable seat for young Clint to spend his extracurricular hours and a great truck for him to learn to drive. It also solidified Clint’s transport addiction.

However, by the time Clint was old enough to get his licence, his dad was out of the transport game. He still had the old International and had it converted it from a single drive semi into a camp draft set-up body truck for property work. Freshly licensed Clint spent a fair bit of time using the International to move stock around the family property, but instead of moving forward with his love of trucks he followed the livestock path instead.

“What happened with me was I went to Gatton College and became a stock inspector,” Clint says. “Basically tick line clearance, any form of market access.”

The new Kenworth with the family’s original International

Working with livestock created a passion for that lifestyle, but the love of trucks was always just sitting below the surface. “Here I was, all these years, taking the cattle off the trucks and dipping the cattle but to a certain extent I would much rather have been driving the truck,” he smiles.

Next thing you know Clint is all over Queensland as a stock inspector and trucking became a distant memory. His spare time, along with that of his wife Robyn, was spent laying the groundwork for the company that would eventually become Whitaker Beef.

Truck passion

As Whitakers Beef started to grow and build a reputation in the breeding arena, Clint found it was taking up more and more of their time. They were required to show their cattle at more events and they also started running more cattle on their properties. This meant the addition of a gooseneck trailer to tow behind the ute. But they soon outgrew their gooseneck setup and the four to five cattle it could move.

Both Clint and Robyn are blown away by Kenworth’s quality and comfort

Bring on Beef Week 2009 and Robyn’s call to look into getting a dedicated stock truck for the company. This was the catalyst for the re-emergence of Clint’s passion for trucks. His childhood love of all things diesel had been reignited. He would take those fond memories of time spent in the mighty International and get himself his own mighty machine. That mighty machine, the workhorse of Whitaker Beef would be … a single drive Isuzu! A 1981 single drive Isuzu at that, making it a 28-year-old second-hand truck. It didn’t exactly fulfill Clint’s childhood big rig dreams, but practicality had to beat flamboyance at that stage.

“It was an old truck that had always been around the area and the bloke that owned it said to take it to Beef Week and ‘if you like it, take it’,” Clint recalls. Robyn adds that they were all as keen as mustard, they loaded up about nine head of cattle in their team, she jumped in the passenger side, and off they went to Rocky.

“We barely made it out of town and the front wheel was making all kinds of noises, the whole thing just wanted to run,” Clint laughs. “We had a mate that ran a ‘one day garage’ in Thangool. One day you drop your truck off and one day you’ll pick it up. So we called it to get him to check it out and found a whole bunch of broken stuff on the front end. Nothing bad, just didn’t sound good.”

The Leader crate is a luxury for those traveling in the back

It was able to get the Whitakers to Beef Week though and they left it at a local workshop to get it fixed up for the return trip. The show lasted all week and the truck took that long just to straighten out the front end. Seven days later the Whitakers returned. Robyn recalls that trip fondly.

“Yeah, we picked it up, it was all fixed. We loaded the team back in and headed for home. We didn’t even make the roundabout on the way out. There was no way I was traveling in that, I’d have a heart attack, I would die.” It was not the joyous trucking experience that Robyn had envisaged.

“We ran it from ’09 until 2021 and I drove in it twice,” Robyn laughs. “One other time I got the guts to drive in it, we went and picked up some cattle and were driving back and I started saying to Clint, ‘what’s that smell, that burning smell, quick pull up we need to get these cows off before we burn them’.”

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It turns out in that instance someone had put too big a fuse in and it was starting to melt behind the dash.

There are plenty more stories that make you wonder how the old Isuzu lasted, from Clint’s dad blowing the motor up and just leaving it on the side of the road. To the fact that in the rain you had to sit sideways on the driver’s seat because the rain would come in from the side window. It was a cacophony of catastrophes, yet at the same time it did exactly what it was supposed to. It helped the Whitakers get their prize-winning cattle to many a show and made moving stock between properties a lot more manageable.

“It’s still a good truck,” Robyn says. “Mechanically the new motor is solid, it’s just the rust in the cab and stuff for the roadworthy that’s a bit iffy.”

That’s why, come 2021 the Whitakers started looking at getting a replacement. “I was always looking to extend a prime mover and put a crate on it,” Clint says.

Big on bonnets

Even though he had long expressed the desire to have a cool bonneted truck, he had already written the likes of a new Kenworth off. The assumption being that it would be well outside his price range.

“We looked at a couple of second-hand ones and checked out a few options. By the time you extend them, you’re three parts of the way to a new truck.”

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As much as Clint’s trucking fanaticism had him pining for a big, bonneted truck, common sense and affordability had the family looking closer at a very similar, yet more modern replacement to the old Isuzu. “I sent Robyn and Sam off to Toowoomba to look at and drive a couple of the Japanese replacement options,” Clint says. “After test driving a couple Robyn made it clear she wasn’t spending a thousand kilometres in those and packed up to come home.”

They called into Brown and Hurley in Toowoomba on the way and one of the parts people gave them a brochure for the T410. More out of curiosity than anything, Clint and Robyn followed up with salesman Angus Short and, to their surprise, found that a custom-built T410SAR with a brand-new crate was actually a feasible option.

Although Clint was still a little sceptical, Robyn pointed out that Clint had always wanted to have a cool classy, bonneted truck. It would be a truck that would make their lives a lot easier and if they could take an old Isuzu from its 28th birthday through until its 40th, then a brand-new Kenworth would still be working when the kids were running the show.

Clint still remembers that call to Angus to discuss exactly what he wanted. “I’ve driven this old truck for long enough mate, all I want is when I drive out of Mundubbera, I don’t want to see that hill,” he says, referring to the long pull out of his hometown. It’s a hill that, in the Isuzu, would allow Clint enough time to make a couple of sandwiches and boil the jug for a coffee.

But Angus assured him that in a new T410 with a 510hp Paccar motor and 18-speed gearbox, he would not have time to finish a biscuit yet alone make a sandwich on the Mundubbera hill. With that assurance, the truck was ordered.

The hard-working dogs also get their own ride in the new truck

The next step was to design the truck and crate for the back. The crate was left in the hands of the Toowoomba-based company Leader who designed and fitted a system that would allow the Whitakers to load all manner of animals safely and easily.

The whole crate system right down to the dog boxes on the side has its own light system so work can be done whenever needed. There’s an extremely handy hay tray that sits on top of the crate and allows the Whitakers to bring their own feed on the longer runs.


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Another lesson learned from those hard-laboured Isuzu days was storage. “No way did I want to be loading gazebos and stuff on top of the truck again,” Robyn laughs. “So we got an extra-long locker box down the driver’s side for all the tents and stuff like that.”

There are four separate dog boxes down the passenger side that allows Clint to take up to eight dogs when needed.

With the practical side sussed out, the next job was more about cosmetics and luxuries. “Robyn had two very specific stipulations,” Clint says. “One, it has to be maroon. If you notice, everything else around here is maroon, so the truck needs to be maroon. And two, it needs to have an air-ride seat on the passenger side.” Done and done, though the first wasn’t as easy as expected.

Tay Porter from Signs and Lines took pictures from the Whitakers’ past and used them for sign covers on the bull bar. On the driver’s side is a shot of Clints’ dad working a team up in Woolooga, Queensland (pictured above). On the passenger side is Clints’ grandfather leading a team down Brisbane’s main road to the Ekka show (pictured below)

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‘If we didn’t chase one truck we chased them all,” laughs Clint as he recalls them scouting out any maroon-looking truck. The couple spent months finding the perfect maroon and eventually stole the colour code off their good friend Robbie Mills when they saw one of his maroon-coloured MFT Kenworths.

Cosmetic touch

The next challenge was the overall look of the truck. Round tanks versus square, wrapped or painted, polished bull bar or chromed – there were so many options. Thankfully for Clint, he had friends like Daltrans Bulk Haulage owner Dallas Kropp. That man has plenty of experience making trucks look cool and had no hesitation assisting Clint.

“I still remember Angus coming out to us just before the end with a brochure for all the extras available on a T410,” Robyn says, as she addresses the cosmetic side of the truck. “I just handed it back to him and said, ‘you show me in there what we don’t have already’.” That pretty much sums it up.

This is a one-time truck for the Whitakers and they have deservedly gone all out on it. It was a truck built to work and just by chance has turned in to an absolute jaw-dropper. “I remember when we picked it up and were heading home there were people grabbing photos all the way,” Robyn recalls. “We could actually follow our progress through Facebook as we were spotted in all the little towns.”

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After years of flying below the radar in their 40-year-old Isuzu, it is a whole new experience for the couple. I can actually say ‘couple’ now as well, for while most of the Isuzu experience was bestowed upon Clint as he travelled solo, Robyn has found the passenger seat of the T410 a lot more to her liking.

“I went twice in the Isuzu in about 10 years and I haven’t been out of the Kenworth yet,” she laughs. Heck, Robyn is even driving the 410 as well.

Time to wrap up. All this talk of cattle has me yearning for a steak now. But seriously, like I said at the start, this isn’t your standard truck story. It’s the story of a farming couple and the rewards they have earned. It is the story of a stockman that grew up drawing trucks and dreaming of the open road who finally gets to bring to life his dream truck.

It is the story of an extremely cool Kenworth T410SAR.

Photography: Warren Aitken

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