USED TRUCK OF THE MONTH
— Kenworth T904
TROY MCLEAN spent 13 years working as a driver but always had the desire to have a truck he could call his own.
That finally happened 13 years ago. Nowadays he’s doing runs in a 2008 Kenworth T908.
“I first looked at buying my own truck when I was around 21 or 22 years of age,” Troy recalls. “Things didn’t come together back then and I got talked out of it. Anyway, the opportunity arose so I jumped at it.
“We had looked at being owner-drivers a couple of times and hadn’t made the move.
“My wife Jackie said that if I didn’t do it this time, not to talk about it again. I think Jackie had had enough.”
That first truck, a 1994 Ford LTL Kentucky, had a 425 Cat under the bonnet. Then, through word of mouth, Troy heard of a business that was seeking an operator to cart plasterboard.
He did his first trip as an owner-driver and, pulling up in front of the company’s factory, approached management after he’d heard they were looking for someone to do their cartage. He has been with them ever since.
Troy, however, had his heart set on a Kenworth, so the LTL was traded in on a K104 Aerodyne. This was joined by a new Western Star truck and dog tipper unit.
Under the name of TJ & JJ McClean, the couple employed a driver that Troy put to work on the building the Calder Freeway extension to Bendigo.
Eventually, a second Aerodyne joined the fleet but Troy decided to consolidate and go after the truck he always wanted. He sold the two Aerodynes and Western Star and bought a T908.
It has a Cummins ISX EGR set at 620hp up front, with an 18-speed manual gearbox with the rear end riding on Kenworth’s 8-bag air suspension.
Troy lives at Campbell’s Creek near Castlemaine and uses the 908 to pull a tautliner, doing either one or two trips a day between Bendigo and Melbourne.
“I had always been working towards getting a ‘9-0’. I just wanted that long bonnet,” he says. “It’s as good as I thought it would be. I just love it and it’s beautiful to operate, a real driver’s truck.”
The T908 is impeccably presented and looks brand
new, Troy admitting it’s fairly well pampered. It gets washed and polished regularly, with either Troy cleaning it himself or son Bradley helping out.
Troy says Bradley, an apprentice panel beater, is absolutely “truck mad”. It’s a real family affair, with Jackie handling all the bookwork.
“I’ve never really done any of that side of it,” Troy admits. “Jackie has always looked after the office work. I just come home and put the dockets on the bench and she does the rest. She is the biggest asset I have.”
With the T908 looking the goods, it was a no-brainer to take it to last year’s Rotary Castlemaine Truck Show: “Jackie said as long as we’ve got a truck, it’ll be at our local truck show.”
Castlemaine has always been a truck town, especially when Troy was growing up. Back then there were the likes of Parson’s Transport, Leeches, McClure’s, Thompson’s and Castle Bacon all running fleets out of Castlemaine.
Both Troy’s father, Roger, and grandfather, Max, were truck drivers – Max owned his own rig, a Butterbox ACCO tray truck.
“I was pretty much born into it,” Troy explains. “I’ve been in and around trucks my whole life.
“Max was a local carrier and would cart railway sleepers, slate and granite down to Melbourne.
“Dad started out in cement mixers and tippers. He later drove a fuel tanker and I would go with him all the time.”
Roger later drove for Leeches, Troy helping to wash and polish his truck. Troy was around 10 years old when he snared a weekend job at Parson’s, washing the trucks and later greasing and servicing.
“During school holidays, I would go interstate with David Parsons. As long as I can remember, I was going to drive trucks. That was it, so I don’t know anything different and I wouldn’t have it any other way,” he says. “I still love it to this day.”
After leaving school, Troy stepped up his work with Leeches, doing maintenance and loading trailers.
“They gave me a start and I ran from Castlemaine to Bendigo and Melbourne when I got my licence.”
As he was only 18, Troy was only allowed to drive a radius of 250km, but he wanted more.
Leeches managed to gain an exemption so Troy could do 750km and do runs over to Adelaide.
“The first truck I drove was a little day cab S-2 Kenworth that Leeches still has. It has a 692 Detroit in it. It felt like a big truck back then, like you were king of the road.”
With the experience gained in the yard, Troy was well credentialed behind the wheel. “As far as tarping goes, I would still get rid of my tautliner and have a flat top with a tarp," he says.
"There is something very special about a good tarped load, … it’s got character.”
It’s been a fantastic journey for Troy, especially with the whole family right behind him.
“I think Jackie knew what she signed up for the day we met,” Troy smiles. “She is brilliant, absolutely brilliant. I couldn’t ask for a better person to have by my side.”
Troy McLean’s 2008 T908 is kept in pristine condition
The McLean clan: daughter Michelle, son Bradley, daughter Sarah, Troy and Jackie McLean
Troy McLean’s daughters Michelle (left) and Sarah help out with the truck polishing