Ross Transport’s newest addition is hard to miss – and that’s the point.
It’s not every day you see a hot pink prime mover on the interstate highways in Australia. But for Ross Transport, pink was the perfect colour for what they wanted to convey.
Ross Transport is a family-owned and operated heavy vehicle haulage business. Reg Ross and his wife, Frances Ross, started the business in 1975; and today, there are three generations onsite managing a fleet of 57 prime movers and 110 trailers.
Reg’s son, Alan now runs the business with his daughter True, learning the ropes beside him as well as getting trucks of her own. And it was True who came to pick up the truck from the Kenworth factory in Bayswater, Melbourne.
“We drove in the driveway and the pink truck was out the front,” says True. “Usually when I collect a truck, it’s around the back, but we drove straight in and there it was. It was the greatest thing ever.”
But this hot pink T909-model truck had been turning heads for a while.
Locally designed and manufactured at the Kenworth Factory in Bayswater, the “Pink Truck” as it was affectionately dubbed internally, had ignited conversations among workers who had never before seen a truck that size painted in such a daring colour.
Working with a local paint supplier to find just the right shade of pink, the Kenworth team and Ross Transport sparked questions wherever they went, which is exactly what they hoped might happen.
When Kenworth parked the hot pink beauty out the front of the factory for True to collect, it had already been a catalyst onsite, for deeper discussions among employees and visitors from the industry.
On its maiden journey, from Kenworth in Victoria to Port Kembla on the New South Wales south coast, the freshly painted pink truck, understandably, attracted even more attention.
“As we drove home, everyone was staring and calling us, saying how awesome it was,” says True, proudly reporting she drove a small portion of the almost 12-hour trip, alongside driver, Shane ‘Zoom’ Kissell.
Since then, Ross Transport’s Facebook page has been flooded with positive comments, from ex-employees who know the company well and truck enthusiasts who are just as effusive in their praise.
For the Ross family, there’s more than one reason behind the Pink Truck.
There’s the Illawarra Convoy, which Ross Transport has been part of since its inception 11 years ago, a popular community event that raises money for children with cancer. In 2016, the Illawarra Convoy had raised $1.8 million. Hundreds of truck and bike enthusiasts fundraise and travel the Illawarra coast in November.
“Dad and I thought a pink truck could support and promote cancer awareness in the Illawarra Convoy,” says True, adding the Pink Truck will lead Ross Transport’s fleet this year.
Another reason was to celebrate the women in Ross Transport: True’s grandmother founded the company with her husband more than 40 years ago and today, she still pops in to do a few hours’ work every day, at the age of 75.
“My grandmother has been part of the business for a very long time and we wanted to say thank you for everything she’s done,” says True. “We did it for her and for other women in the transport industry.”
True and her father also hope the truck will bring Ross Transport’s employees together.
“Even though it’s pink, it represents all cancer,” says True. In the coming months, Alan and True hope to invite employees to write the name of any loved ones they’ve lost to cancer – like Zoom’s mother – on the back of the cab.
“I think everyone’s been affected by cancer in some way, whether it’s a family member or a friend or themselves,” says True. “We’ve been told this is such a good idea – that it really brings people together.”
The truck will drive between Melbourne and Sydney, and may also travel to Adelaide and Queensland. “It’ll be going on quite the adventure,” laughs True. “Everyone is excited and happy that we’ve done this!”
Until then, you can follow the Pink Truck- now named Truly Frantastic, on Ross Transport’s Facebook page.