NZ Transport Imaging Awards

 
 TKO’s knockout

TKO’s knockout

NZ Transport Imaging Awards

 October 2021   

Generation Y Auckland transport operator Kohan Wilson’s background shines through in the look of his fast-growing fleet of trucks.

The 35-year-old channels an interesting mix of a love of fast Mazda rotaries, old Holdens and Harleys, plus social media smarts, biker/skatie culture….

And memories of growing up being helluva impressed by big trucks with towering exhaust stacks coming down the road – loving how they looked like something out of Mad Max.

He’s also clearly driven to succeed, entrepreneurial, not afraid to take risks, knows what he wants….and goes right after it.

The result of all that reveals itself these days in spectacular fashion. That’s spectacular as in the growth of his TKO Contracting trucking operation that he started just four years ago – putting on 12 trucks in the space of its first three years. And then adding another 11 in the past 12 months!

And spectacular too as in eyepopping trucks with looks good enough to at the very least make people look twice – and remember what they’ve seen…


Subscribers: Please LOGIN to read the full article.

Generation Y Auckland transport operator Kohan Wilson’s background shines through in the look of his fast-growing fleet of trucks.

The 35-year-old channels an interesting mix of a love of fast Mazda rotaries, old Holdens and Harleys, plus social media smarts, biker/skatie culture….

And memories of growing up being helluva impressed by big trucks with towering exhaust stacks coming down the road – loving how they looked like something out of Mad Max.

He’s also clearly driven to succeed, entrepreneurial, not afraid to take risks, knows what he wants….and goes right after it.

The result of all that reveals itself these days in spectacular fashion. That’s spectacular as in the growth of his TKO Contracting trucking operation that he started just four years ago – putting on 12 trucks in the space of its first three years. And then adding another 11 in the past 12 months!

And spectacular too as in eyepopping trucks with looks good enough to at the very least make people look twice – and remember what they’ve seen…

And, much more likely, striking enough to provoke a “wow,” a “WTF!”…or something stronger.

His attention-grabbing abilities were first applied to the company name: “It’s easily remembered,” as he says.

Then there’s the eyecatching zebra-like, tyre-tread striping (black on the silver bins, silver on the white cabs) that features on the bins of all of TKO’s tippers – dating back, he reckons, to the first new truck he bought, in 2017.

Kohan, a onetime panelbeater and car-painting apprentice, designed the stripes: “Yeah, I just saw those bins as a big, boring space. I just wanted to see something that comes past, catches your eye. 

“I wanted it to be like: ‘Oh you’re those guys who have those patterns on their bins’ …. ‘Oh, that’s that TKO company.’ ”

So TKO had already made its presence felt on the Auckland tipper scene before Wilson bought two new Scania R620 6x4 tippers last year – spending a couple of hours with a mate at Cannon Signage Concepts in Taupaki to modify the striping and the logo that Kohan had designed for his former building and earthworks businesses.

The diagonal tyre tread pattern went from the cabs, in favour of the new logo and swooping black and silver stripes. An orange stripe along the bottom of the truck and trailer bins was extended forward onto the cab.

The redesigned logo and imaging, says Kohan, was “bang-on – it’s clean and simple. It looks like it’s moving….fast.’ ”

Since then the fleet has grown – dramatically. Now, there are 13 truck and trailer units, including seven Isuzus, an International Eagle 9870, the two Scanias and two new Kenworth K200s added this year. Plus there are five 6x4 Isuzu tippers, three tractor units pulling semi-trailers (including a fully rebuilt 2003 9800 Inter – “something old that we turned into something cool”)….

And the new pride of the fleet – two brand-new Kenworth T909 heavy-haul tractor units.

The two Cummins 600-engined conventionals were originally going to be tippers, but a decision to develop what had been a modest entry into transporter work, using leased gear, prompted the thought: “Oh man, it’d be nice to have a couple of real horny tractors to pull these trailers.’ ”

Of the Kenworths, Wilson says: “Oh honestly, they’re stupidly expensive – but they’re just f***ing cool. They take you back to the old-school. You know, you’ve only got to jump into the cab of one of them to get all excited. You know, the oxblood interior, we’ve gone for all gold chrome dials….just to look really, really nice.”

“But, you’ve gotta have a mixture mate. So I’ve ordered two Mack Tridents. I’ve always wanted a couple of Macks.” He also has three new Inter 9870s on order – a 6x4 and two 8x4s.

Sub Signs in Auckland has done the imaging work on the bins of all the recent units, but the design of the cab striping on the Kenworths and the Inter has been done by Rotorua’s Darren Caulfield – who was first called on to apply the redesigned logo and cab striping on the new Scanias.

The arrival of the K200s needed a redesign – “and we just got in there with Darren, and mate he just nailed it…”

Wilson says of the process: “I knew exactly when we entered the build process of the K200s and the 909s….what I wanted the end result to be. I can visualise it.”

With the new T909s – the first TKO conventionals – he and Caulfield swapped ideas until they arrived at the striking stripe design. 

For the rest, Kohan had very set ideas: “I wanted that aggressive look… I wanted those big stacks turned to the side, I wanted those big scoops…I wanted that big tombstone grille, without the bullbars ....and I wanted that big front bumper.”

He also wanted lights – and plenty of them: The Scanias had some lighting, the K200s had more…. “and then we went to town on the 909s. 

“So when they’re lit up and they start coming down the road – mate, people just start hooting. They’re unbelievable.

“They’re just really like in your face – you can’t miss them. I sort of approached it like, ‘oh well, if somebody’s got a $300,000 or $400,000 asset we’re moving, I’d be pretty f***ing happy if a truck like that turned up to take it.’ It also gives our customers some good visual promotion while their gear’s in transit.”

And yes, that kind of visual impact even attracts work: TKO was already busy in the transporting side of things – “but since we’ve had those 909s the phone really started ringing. I think a lot of guys just wanted to see them roll up on their sites.”

Besides, he’s of the opinion that a heavy-haul truck not only has to have the necessary power and grunt, it also needs “that real staunch look….. That’s the sort of truck that should be doing that job.”  

Gallery

 


Search Articles

NZ Truck & Driver Magazine
Read Now