Working Show Truck Of The Month: Paul Vanker
Left to right: Paul's girlfriend Elaine, Paul Vanker, Paul's daughter Heather.
By Robert Conrad
Some of our avid readers may recognize this month's Working Show Truck because, technically, it has already been in Movin' Out. At least part of it has! This may sound like an April Fool's joke but the truck you see this month really isn't the same 1996 KW W-900L that was previously featured. Paul Vanker's showstopping teal and purple beauty is half original and half "new." His original truck's cab was completely destroyed due to an electrical fire back in May of 2009. With over 1,700,000 miles on a burnt-out truck, Paul was faced with a tough choice, look for a new ride or try to rebuild. Most people that saw pictures of the fire, or saw the truck in person, told Paul that it was a lost cause but he wasn't going to give up that easily. He was determined to rebuild the eye-catching, purple-flamed KW that had been a hit at so many truck shows and won him numerous awards. So began a two-year project that resulted in the "new" '96 KW that you see in this month's feature.
Paul's good friends Brian, Ricky, and "Digger" Degraw came to see the truck shortly after the fire and convinced Paul that the chassis and many of the components could be salvaged but he obviously needed a new cab and interior. Paul's daughter Heather, who was a huge help in the restoration project, began searching for cabs & sleepers on the internet. After a number of wild goose chases, and even a trip out to the West Coast, Paul still couldn't find the '96 cab that he wanted. Finally he found a 1996 parts truck that was for sale in Jackson, NJ, only 90 miles from his house! He drove the truck home and began the transformation along with his daughter Heather and his friends Brian, Ricky, and "Digger".
Paul had nothing to haul loads with while working on the truck but his friend Bob Forte', of Forte' Inc. in Wayne, NJ, gave him a driving job so he could pay the bills and buy chrome! Paul sends big thanks out to Bob for helping him get thru such a hard time. Paul's nights and weekends were spent working on the truck. He got it ready to be painted and he credits Panas Auto Body for the paint and bodywork along with award-winning artist Richard Markham for the incredible flames and murals. Richard airbrushed a number of beautiful girls right into the flames and you have to see the truck in person to appreciate its incredible paint job. The new interior was done by Two Bees out of Washington State and installed by Paul along with his girlfriend Elaine and his daughter Heather. It features a Clarion stereo, a 26" flat screen TV, a DVD player, a refrigerator, and a microwave. There is also a video monitoring system in the truck with three cameras by Windshield Cam out of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
There's plenty of "bling" on Paul's KW including an 18" American Eagle bumper, polished 1/2 fenders from 9W Truck Parts, and a custom deck plate and rear light bar combo fabricated by Jason Faber. He got the custom fuel tank wraps from Ridin' High Inc. and the custom stainless battery & box covers from Jeff Etling out of PA. Finally, there are plenty of "chicken" lights from the front bumper to the mud flaps to keep the road lit up.
With enough hard work and determination just about anything can be accomplished. Paul Vanker and his "new" '96 KW are living proof of this. Paul is back in business running PHV Trucking, LLC out of West Milford, NJ. He hauls flatbed loads of building materials to MA, MD, and Long Island, NY. He said he even goes by the scene of the fire about 3 times a month.
When he's not trucking you'll find Paul at various truck shows. All of his hard work on both the old and new trucks has paid off, since he's won a number of trophies including Best Graphics & Celebrity Choice at the Carlisle All-Truck Nationals and Best of Show at the Wishes On Wheels Make-A-Wish convoy in Willington, CT.
Paul wanted to thank Brian, Ricky, and "Digger" Degraw for all of their help on the truck. He also thanked his girlfriend Elaine and his daughter Heather for all of their love, support, and help. Last but not least, he sends a big hug out to his 10 year-old grandson Bud for helping clean and polish the truck for the shows. We at Movin' Out would like to applaud Paul for all of his hard work. His "new" KW is smokin' hot with its purple flames and is, once again, our Working Show Truck of the Month.