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My first encounter with this Kenworth, nicknamed 'DETROIT DEMON', was at one of Auckland’s busy new housing developments where it was picking up a load of dirt. Blown away by the colour, the size of the sleeper and the huge straight pipes, I didn’t recognise that this classic Cabover was formally owned by AC Diggers. As you can see from the photo (below right), the truck has undergone a major transformation.

The truck is now owned by Stephen Dean of SD Performance. Stephen runs a workshop in West Auckland which does custom fabrication, maintenance and repairs on vehicles, ranging from cars to trucks. Shortly after purchasing the Kenworth, Stephen removed the aero kit, stainless back plate, front bumper, visor and side skirts.

His vision was to have the truck in red with lots of stainless. The 8” straight pipes means you hear the truck before you see it. SD Performance fabricated the mounting frame and the 8" stacks, which are full stainless right up to the turbo. The impressive 600mm front alloy bumper is on a SD Performance designed cantilever system with air rams allowing it to be lifted.


SD Performance also made the drop visor, stainless mirror arms, chassis covers, K200 style side steps, stainless tank straps, tank steps and stainless rear light filler panels.

Under the cab sits a Detroit Series 60 engine, which has been tweaked and now puts out around 480 hp and a 18 speed Roadranger transmission. There are Rockwell diffs on air at the rear. Inside the cab it is very tidy.  The sleeper features a double sized bed.

The truck is driven by Shay who says he gets a lot of positive comments about the truck. He also adds "it’s a privilege and a great truck to drive". Shay can be seen driving the truck around the greater Auckland area.

Big thanks to Stephen and Shay for the opportunity to photograph this impressive custom SD Performance Kenworth.

 Article and photos: Simon Teahan


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