Okay, so yes – this is a test of a new Kenworth that’s the first of its kind in the country….
But let’s just say upfront that whatever else this T410 SAR is, its immediate impact lies in its looks. It is, quite simply, spectacular. It’s very, very likely that there’ll be a Best in Show award (probably many) in this truck’s future.
Invercargill operator Eden Haulage has built a reputation for smart-looking units and this month’s test subject is, very clearly, no exception. The 6x4 tractor unit is resplendent in the Eden fleet colours of broad green stripes over a base of Chardonnay Gold.
But not just any old stripes! These ones feature a woodgrain effect...with a handful of the wood-knots containing little black skulls!
It’s the work of airbrush wizard Darren Caulfield of Rotorua’s Caulfield Signs, who also produced the Western gunslinger Daddy’s Girl mural on the back of the cab.
I was at the launch of the new Kenworth T410 in early 2019, at a test track outside Melbourne, when the question was asked: Will there be an SAR version of the T410?
The answer from Brad May, Kenworth Australia marketing manager, was “maybe.” But, he insisted, “there are no current plans.”
Well, I guess it didn’t take long for plans to be put in place! Because here we are, just two years later, testing the first T410 SAR to go on the road in New Zealand – a 6x4 tractor unit, run by Southland-based Eden Haulage.
We meet the new Kenworth in Ettrick, Central Otago, where it’s being loaded with apples to be carted to Rangiora.
I take over the wheel from regular driver Aaron at the Cromwell end of the Clutha Valley – ready for what should be a good test, taking the Kenworth over the Lindis Pass.
The T410 SAR is an impressive looking truck, even with it being one of the smallest in Kenworth’s heavy-duty range, the square bonnet giving it a traditional KW look.