Giti Tyres Big Test: A Stand Out Even in a Crowd
Travel Auckland's motorways and you can't miss them: Gleeson & Cox's tippers with their distinctive red, blue and white livery seem to be everywhere.
That's not surprising, given that the fleet totals more than 100 trucks, and that the Wiri-based company is a major carrier of roading metal for motorways and other big infrastructure jobs, plus other bulk loads.
On an electronic display board mounted on the wall of Gleeson & Cox's dispatch office, lights show the location of each truck.
At some times of the day more than a dozen lights will glow on the relatively-short stretch of motorway between Drury and the Takanini causeway on Auckland's Southern Motorway. So the trucks are truly out there in numbers.
But among all of these Gleeson & Cox trucks – 15 Isuzus, one Nissan, one Foden, 17 Kenworths, 14 Volvos, four Hinos, four Internationals, 38 Mitsubishis and 18 DAFs – there's one real standout. A new, very special, even glamorous addition to the fleet.
It's a truck with a real difference – the sort of truck that causes enthusiasts' jaws to drop. The sort of truck that conjures daydreams of life on the open road, thundering down the highway looking at the world through a windscreen, carting (or going to pick up) that next load to haul, the next town to visit.
A truck that promises adventure…that triggers an involuntary "wow" the instant you see it.
Pirelli Trevor Test
Driver mati suapaia's done all the hard work, battling through Auckland's morning rush-hour traffic, by the time I get behind the wheel of New Zealand's first Kenworth Legend 900.
Mati's cleared the commuter chaos and we're at the BP Dairy Flat motorway rest stop when I climb up into the Legend's cab, via its two-rail steps that run the length of the fuel tank. They're not overly deep so it's toe-hold only, but the tread plate gives a good footing.
There's a full-length grabhandle on the back edge of the door opening and a small grabhandle just above the cab floor at the front. The small handle helps you get up onto the first step, but after that you need to reach up to either the door itself or the steering wheel for a higher hand-hold.
Once in the cab the traditional Kenworth styling is immediately recognisable, with a flat dash - no wraparound here - and the long gearstick up through the floor.
The dash layout is clean and easy to see, with a full bank of gauges over to the left.
All major switches are on a panel to the right of the gauges, and traction-control switches are mounted at the bottom of the dash.
Immediately in front is the speedo and tachometer and to the left are four more gauges for fuel, temperature and air suspension pressures. The gauges have a nice white background, making them easy to read at a glance.