Rusty’s Old Inter
Dennis ‘Rusty’ Radburn’s 1974 D1910 International has sentimental significance
Dennis Radburn has been a truckie all his life. Before him, his late father Russell was a truckie from the age of 17. In turn, thirdgeneration Radburn truckie Damien now runs Kerden Haulage from its base at Nowra on the NSW south coast.
Spanning the three generations is this lovelylooking old D1910 International which, believe it or not, was a highway hero in its day. Dennis and Russell used to run similar old Inters, but this one was recently restored after being bought from a bloke at Coffs Harbour on the NSW north coast.
The emotional tie comes in with the personalised rego plate – RR 2157 – which belonged to Russell Radburn, the first ‘Rusty’ in the Radburn lineage. Russell was a single-truck owner-driver his entire career.
LABOUR OF LOVE
The 1974 D1910 was restored in Kerden Haulage’s own workshop after being stripped back to the chassis rails. It boasts a 392 International V8 engine, which equates to
6.4 litres. Power was about 190hp (140kW) with torque of about 300ft-lb (407Nm).
That’s not much to be pulling a bogey trailer by current standards, but the single-drive classic is only rated to 24 tonnes GCM (gross combination mass) anyway.
Not that the Inter pulls its Loadmaster trailer much. The combination has been to the Penrith Working Truck Show, the Sydney Classic and Antique Truck Show, and the Clarendon Classic.
Rusty is gearing up for next year’s Haulin’ the Hume along the old Hume Highway between Sydney and Yass.
The prime mover does a little bit of yard work if necessary, but Rusty avoids even that.
“I don’t want to get it dirty,” he declares.
There’s a lot of other gear in the Kerden fleet, which boasts 30 prime movers – mostly Kenworths, including a new T950 ‘Legend’ – and 54 trailers in a wide variety of types since the company diversified from brick cartage.
Rusty started the company with a single truck in 1992 alongside his wife Kerry – hence the name ‘Kerden’. The couple have been together since they were 14 years old.
Kerden does everything: from interstate linehaul with depots in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane
and Adelaide; to local work around the south coast and southern tablelands. Trailers include tautliners, flat-tops and high-cube tippers.
These days Rusty oversees the workshop, which has five mechanics. He and his father had a couple of cousins to the D1910, including one powered by a Perkins diesel putting out only 125hp (91kW).
“I can still remember sitting up driving the bloomin’ old things,” Rusty says.
“They were very slow.”
But the old Perkins motors were reliable. My own father used to say it was sometimes a hare and tortoise situation, with V8 petrolpowered Inters getting there much quicker but sometimes not at all.
Rusty agrees, and adds that the old Perkins actually had a bit more torque for the hills. They also used less fuel, of course, but fuel prices weren’t such a big consideration back then.
Rusty reckons the old petrol Inters were so thirsty that owners would chain a couple of 44-gallon drums to the chassis for extra capacity. That also helped make them highly dangerous.
“If you had an accident you had to get out quick,” Rusty adds.
His ‘new’ D1910 was already converted from petrol to LPG, so he’s continued to run it on gas. It’s got a five-speed Fuller box with a two-speed diff.
Colin McKenzies’s book, Inter to Iveco – an
Australian Truck Story, says this of the Australian D Series from 1971 to the end of production in 1977: “With customer interest shifting from bonneted vehicles, the upgraded D series was another ‘refresh’ action to maintain a projected small level of sales that would still be profitable.”
Rusty recently turned 64 and still works every day except Sunday.
“Everyone says what a hard industry it is, but I think if you put in the hard yards you get the return out of it,” he says. “It’s a 24/7 thing, you never get away from it.”
Kerry has also always worked in the business, and has truck and forklift licenses to prove it. “I’ve never whinged about any of it,” she adds. Damien’s wife Stephanie is following suit in helping her husband run the business. And now there could be a fourth-generation Radburn truckie in the making.
“Our granddaughter Imogen sits up with Damien,” Kerry says. “She loves it.”
1. Dennis ‘Rusty’ Radburn 2. Clean old V8
3. Simple interior
4. Matching Loadmaster trailer