One thing is for certain, America would grind to an ugly halt if it wasn’t for big rig trucks transporting goods across the country every day. One of the most common trucks doing this is the Peterbilt 359.
T.A. Peterman had a logistics problem in his lumber company and needed an easier method of transporting cut logs from the forests of Washington to his lumber mills. The current methods were either floating them down a river or mule trains. So being a true entrepreneur, he started utilizing a new technology: automobiles. These early trucks were rebuilt army surplus trucks and improvements on technology were made with each truck. He invented new methods along the way including the electric ignition instead of manually turning the crank. Peterbilt started out in 1939 and has since opened several manufacturing facilities across the United States and one location in Canada.
The Peterbilt 359 was introduced in 1967 and was the first ever long nosed Peterbilt. The very first Peterbilt 359 was made as a wrecker and built for Coast Counties Peterbilt. The ’67-’72 models featured a small windowed “Unilite” cab. 1973 models had a new 1100 series cab that incorporated a new bulkhead style door that are still in use in today’s models. A very special and distinct “Corvette” dash style layout and feel was added later in 1977.
Peterbilt 359 was a popular design and had a long production run until 1987 when it was replaced by the 379 model. Peterbilt 359 fans were thrilled with a limited run of the “359 Classic” in 1987 when Peterbilt made 359 trucks with special numbered dash plates featuring its production number making them a much sought after collector’s truck of long time truckers.
In the trucking world there are few trucks that have been as hard working and beloved as the Peterbilt 359. Its durability and looks are well ingrained in Americana as what a full sized heavy duty semi-truck looks like. Long nosed, twin rectangle headlights, large panels for custom paint jobs and company logos make them stand out from other models and other brands of trucks. Most of the production fleet is still in use today and are lovingly maintained by hardworking private owners and companies not willing to get rid of one of these workhorses.
There are many rally’s and shows all across America that fans of big rigs flock to and the Peterbilt 359 is usually the star attraction. These restored trucks have won best of show time and time again and rightly so, they have some of the largest canvases for artists to utilize for unique paintjobs and plenty of room for shining chrome accessories to really trick it out. Oddly enough accessorizing a truck is referred to as chroming or simply chrome. There is a multibillion dollar industry that caters to these behemoths and the wild bunch that has tamed these beasts. Without Peterbilt 359’s America would have never boomed and will certainly grind to a halt without them.