Cherry Pie Restoration and Resilience

Daily Big Rig: Cherry Pie: Restoration and Resilience

In the trucking world, where rugged power and durability often take center stage, there is a timeless appreciation for the art of restoration and the stories behind these mighty machines. One such story is that of the “Cherry Pie” 1973 Kenworth W900A, a classic beauty that has captured the hearts of truck enthusiasts and become a symbol of passion and dedication in the trucking industry.

Kate Whiting, the owner and operator of KW Pony Express based in Chetek, Wisconsin, embarked on an extraordinary journey when she stumbled upon this pristine 1973 Kenworth W900A in 2016. “Cherry Pie” is a tale of luck, hard work, and an unshakable love for the world of trucks.

Kate first spotted the truck in a driveway along her regular route, a year before she would eventually become its proud owner. The truck had an irresistible allure, a timeless charm that beckoned her towards it. She knew she had to make it her own. However, the task was challenging, as the truck’s owner was in his 80s and had retired. It took Kate nearly a year to convince him to part with his beloved rig. Fortunately, her determination paid off, and the truck changed hands.

Originally a day cab, the truck’s transformation journey began with local truck shows and truck pulls in Wisconsin, where Kate showcased the raw power of its Caterpillar 3408 engine. The truck’s robust performance and distinctive appearance made it a crowd favorite.

However, Kate had bigger dreams for “Cherry Pie.” She decided to add a sleeper to the truck, capitalizing on its factory-fitted 265-inch wheelbase. After an exhaustive search, she found a 50-inch Double Eagle bunk that perfectly complemented the rig. Heart-shaped windows added a touch of whimsy to the sleeper, giving it its own character. Kate’s dedication to transforming the truck earned her the nickname of “Cherry Pie” as she buffed out the paint and revealed its bright cherry red hue. Her son, passing by during this process, declared that the truck looked like a slice of cherry pie, and the name stuck.

For Kate Whiting, becoming an owner-operator was a different path. She started as a health coach and had no previous connection to the trucking world. Only when she attended her first truck show eight years ago did she fall in love with the people and the trucks. Inspired by the personalities and passion she encountered, she decided to become more involved in the industry, eventually obtaining her CDL and starting her own hauling business, KW Pony Express.

The interior of “Cherry Pie” underwent a significant overhaul as well. One of Kate’s furniture-building clients crafted the unique one-piece flooring, a rarity among Kenworths, further enhancing the truck’s distinctive charm.

Under the hood, “Cherry Pie” is powered by a Cat 3408 engine with a twin-stick transmission and 4.63 rears. Initially owned by Mike Orton, who purchased it brand-new in 1973, the truck served for 30 dedicated years before retiring. It spent eight lonely years parked on the grass until Kate discovered it. With the help of friends in the restoration community, she diligently worked to restore the truck to its former glory.

“Cherry Pie” has been showcased at various truck shows nationwide, earning accolades and awards, including recognition from Kenworth’s 100-year celebration. However, Kate has yet to make plans to let it gather dust as a showpiece. She intends to put “Cherry Pie” back into service, hauling livestock for her company, KW Pony Express, where its power and performance will be put to practical use once more.

The Howes family, known for their contributions to the trucking and farming industries, inaugurated the Howes Hall of Fame in 2020, honoring notable members from these fields. They believe in celebrating the restoration industry and recognize that “Cherry Pie” and Kate Whiting exemplify the spirit of dedication, passion, and expertise that characterizes the world of restored trucks and their restorers.

Rob Howes, President of Howes Products, expressed his admiration for Kate’s commitment and knowledge of the truck’s history, saying, “Cherry Pie’s story and Kate’s role in her resurrection made both perfect representations of restored trucks and their restorers, respectively. We’re so excited that through them, we can pay tribute to the restoration industry as a whole.”

In the world of trucking, “Cherry Pie” and Kate Whiting stand as a testament to the enduring love for classic trucks and the unwavering dedication of those who keep them rolling, beautifully restored and ready to conquer the open road once more. Kate’s journey from a health coach to a trucking enthusiast and owner-operator is a testament to the profound impact that the trucking world can have on anyone who experiences its unique charm and camaraderie. “Cherry Pie” continues to symbolize the trucking community’s heart and soul, reminding us of the beauty in restoration and the stories that these magnificent machines carry with them.

More photos and our thanks to “Custom Rigs.”



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