What is it that prompts each of us to take on building a project truck or car? Is it a memory of an occurrence that happened long ago? If you’re like Jeff Jones, it might because of something you recently saw. “What prompted me to build this Kenworth was when I saw a yellow one in Arizona,” Jeff states. “The truck I saw grabbed my attention and I really wanted one like it.”
As many of us can attest, our best-laid plans do not always go as we hope, and in fact, building this ’51 Kenworth was not part of the initial build trajectory. “I initially built a ’48 Kenworth, but someone offered me a bunch of money so I sold it,” Jeff states. “I found this ‘51 Kenworth body in northern California, so I drove out there to pick it up.”
Jeff says he only recently started to build the ’51 Kenworth and with a lot of help from Justin Lamb — the duo has been working 10 hours a day, five days a week — to get the Kenworth to the condition it is now. “It should be finished in a couple more weeks,” Jeff explains with a smile.
The body is all aluminum, and Jeff tells us it was not in very bad condition when he got it home. “It wasn’t too rough but definitely needed some attention,” he quips. “It sits on an extremely modified chevy p30 chassis, has independent front suspension and air ride,’ He says. The 1-ton Chevy rear is supported by a triangulated four-link, also supported by air ride.
The Cummins 12-valve is considered the easiest diesel engine to use for a swap and since this hot hauler utilizes that very mill, Jeff concurs. “Under that long hood is a 12-valve Cummins turbo diesel that is mostly stock.” Jeff also told me it has been rebuilt and then some tweaks have been made to the fuel pump in the name of reliability and added power. Behind the Cummins is a remanufactured Getrag five-speed transmission.
As you can see, the truck is not completed yet. The interior is still a work in progress but you can bet that with its classic minimalist styling, it will be a standout job.
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