Trailer Magazine

Driven by passion

  • From the October 2018 issue.
Driven by passion

Along with being a heavy vehicle towing, recovery and repairs specialist, Truckworks has built close to 100 rigid tow truck bodies to date. When it comes to crafting its unique truck bodies, company founder, Lyndon Reynolds, says the versatile Kenworth T610SAR is a perfect fit for the job thanks to its longer wheelbase and great turning circle.

With their unique rigid bodies and striking artwork, Truckworks’ towing vehicles attract attention wherever they go. The fleet is made up of three Kenworths: a recently purchased T610SAR, a C509 and a T659, with the latter being the toughest of them all. An airbrushed image of the hulk on its side is a symbol of strength for the 33 tonne T659 century rotator tow truck, which Lyndon reveals is worth over $1 million. Fitted with a crane boom and its own towing attachment, it is used to service the company’s recovery needs.

Though much of the paintwork is done in-house, all of Truckworks’ own vehicles are painted by an award-winning airbrush artist named Rod Tickle, who runs East Coast Airbrushing on the Sunshine Coast. “He has been airbrushing all of my trucks for decades,” Lyndon says.

When building tow trucks, Truckworks relies on towing and recovery equipment from Miller Industries, a leading brand in the field that is based in Tennessee, in the United States.

Kenworth launched its T610SAR in December 2016, incorporating classic Kenworth styling and the brand’s trademark durability. And as Lyndon reveals, it fit the needs of Truckworks’ tow truck manufacturing division perfectly. “Traditionally, when buying a new truck you’d never get it in the correct wheelbase that is needed for heavy tow work. The reason manufacturers weren’t building trucks that long is because they didn’t reach ADR Standards in terms of their turning circle,” he says.

“With the T610SAR, Kenworth got the turning circle right meaning it can build the wheelbase to 7.5 metres, which suits the length we need; instead of us having to modify the wheelbase in-house and rework the chassis, which is a lot of messing around.”

Though the history of Truckworks goes back nearly 40 years, the business only added building rigid bodies into the mix around 15 years ago, sparked by Lyndon’s passion for tow trucks.

“It was only crash repairs in the beginning, but at the end of day, we can’t just wait for things to happen in the crash repair game – in this industry it’s either a feast or a famine.

“Building heavy tow trucks for other people fills in the blanks. Diversification keeps us all busy,” Lyndon says.

Truckworks began in Tasmania in 1990 but Lyndon saw a great opportunity to build up his business in Adelaide. After opening a branch in Adelaide in 1999, he made the decision to sell up in Tasmania and relocate. “The heavy vehicle crash repair industry in Adelaide was very small. There was only one major operator, who had the monopoly. I was young and ambitious and felt that the market in Tasmania was too small for my ideas. Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane already had lots of tow truck operators so it seemed like a logical choice to go to Adelaide, where there wasn’t much competition,” Lyndon says.

Upon making the big move, Lyndon began working with CMV Truck Sales Adelaide, and since then the business relationship has continued to grow from strength to strength.

“Truckworks has developed a really great relationship with CMV and we’ve purchased about 40 Kenworth trucks from them over the years. Kenworth makes a good product, they have a good resale value and people like them.

“If you’ve got a Kenworth tow truck, you’re king of the hill,” Lyndon says.

Now, tow truck bodies built by Truckworks can be seen attending to crash sites all over Australia and even New Zealand.

“Of the 200 or so heavy vehicle tow trucks in Australia, Truckworks has built about half of them,” Lyndon says. “The T610SAR fits the bodies we build so well, and seven of the tow trucks we’ve built in 2018 are based on that truck model – we’ve even sent a T610SAR to an operator in New Zealand. Typically we build about six or seven bodies a year, but this year we will build 13, so it’s been an extraordinary year.”

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