By Nancy Leasman Note: This feature is in the Jan. TT&C 2014 issue.
Richard is holding the custom two-tone green Kenworth made especially for him by DNA Toys.
Richard’s collection is displayed on the walls, shelves and ceiling.
Favorites (near the top in the photo) are the cabover DAF from Europe (on the left) and the 1/16 scale Monogram kit model in his favorite colors (on the right). The bottom shelf holds American bicentennial edition and Liberty edition trucks.
Richard Walter has spent his career riding the roads across America in Kenworth trucks. He found his passion for collecting model Kenworths in 2001. He’d had a few before that, but meeting a fellow truck enthusiast fired up his fervor. “I was living in Michigan when I met a guy at a truck show. I had a decal from my truck from the Netherlands,” he said, explaining in his lightly accented English that he’d lived in the Netherlands for 18 years, spending three of those years driving trucks. As coincidence would have it, Richard’s new acquaintance was also from the Netherlands. “I never spoke Dutch here but I could talk to this guy. We talked about collecting.” That conversation also sparked a trading connection of Kenworths. “I got all my European trucks from him,” said Richard who supplemented his new friend’s collection with American models. The European trucks that came his way are DAF and Scania, among his favorites on the shelves in the bedroom converted to a Kenworth mini-museum in the Chubbuck, Idaho, home he shares with his wife, Diny. DAF, Europe’s fastest-growing truck manufacturer, goes back to 1928. Two brothers, Hub and Wim van Doorne started the company, which was known as Van Doorne’s Aanhangwagen Fabriek, hence the DAF. In 1948, the acronym remained for this company now headquartered in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, but has since then been known as Van Doorne’s Automobiel Fabriek. Scania, now a global company, has its head office as well as its research and development offices in Södertälje, Sweden. It produced its first truck in 1902. Kenworth is a PACCAR company. PACCAR also makes Peterbilt and DAF. The Kenworth subsidiary, Kenworth Truck Company, builds premium commercial vehicles for sale in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Australia and for export throughout the world. Kenworth model toys are made by a variety of companies. Though DAFs and Scanias may be favorites, Richard collects any brand of Kenworth product, enhancing his 500-piece truck collection with brochures, posters, hats, T-shirts, flags, belt buckles, cup holders, license plates, knives, boxer shorts and other singular items. They fill the shelves and walls and creep across the ceiling with overflow taking pride of place in the garage. He also has about 20-30 truck-themed movies and three photo albums of pictures he’s taken of other drivers’ trucks. His Kenworth brochure collection is complete. He has every one back to the 1950s. They’re a great source of information about the Kenworth line. “When I started, I didn’t know anything. I found magazines, studied ads and web sites,” he said, though he admits he doesn’t know how to turn on the computer. He’s learned to look for online sources of Kenworths and information about them, Diny helps with that, but he’d really much rather find them at toy shows on his truck route from Idaho to Michigan, Texas and Utah. He wishes he ran in Ohio so he could take in the Kirtland Die-cast Collectible Toy and Model Show. “You never know what you’re going to find at the shows,” he said.
Want to read the rest of the story? It's available in the January TT&C 2014 magazine! Download here: JANUARY TT&C 2014