Peterbilt Trucks

[box type=”shadow”]Peterbilt was founded in 1938, when T.A. Peterman purchased the former Fageol Motors Company (Oakland, California) from Waukesha Motor Co. & The Central Bank of Oakland – the two practically kept Fageol alive after its declared bankruptcy in 1932. The Denton, Texas-based Peterbilt Motors Company builds tractor-trailer big rig trucks and smaller models in the Class 5-8 size range.[/box]

[box type=”shadow”]Origins

Peterbilt was founded by happenstance and evolved over a slow period. Transporting cut trees in North California, Oregon and Washington from forests to mills was a labor-intensive, costly and time-consuming process. Lumber tycoon T.A. Peterman, of Tacoma, Wash., sought a heavy-duty vehicle to do the job. In the 1930s, Peterman began using surplus military vehicles and developed the technology for heavy hauling.[/box]

[box type=”shadow”]Part of the Family

PACCAR went on a buying spree over the decades, assuming control of the Dart Truck Company, British truck maker Foden Trucks, the Dutch DAF Trucks and the once mighty England-based Leyland Trucks. Subsidiaries Peterbilt and DAF were PACCAR’s biggest producers, giving the company the number-three spot in total big rig truck sales in the United States behind Freightliner and Navistar International.[/box]

[box type=”shadow”]Early Models

Peterbilt briefly produced the 260/360 series trucks before halting for war production in 1942. It followed with its popular 280/350 “Iron Nose” series, which were conventional trucks with separate fenders and a deep vertical grille with vertical shutters.[/box]

[box type=”shadow”]Year 1960’s

Peterbilt’s most durable line was the 281/351 series produced from 1954-76 with its now-reshaped narrow nose and butterfly hood. Tilt cab-over-engine models started in 1959 and were extremely popular with truckers for their easy access to the engine and compact dimensions. COEs fell out of favor by the 1980s when the trucking industry was deregulated and truck size rules were relaxed.[/box]

[box type=”shadow”]Later Models

The 362 replaced the aging 352 in 1981 as the company’s flagship cabover. 362 was available with a large one-piece center windshield with three wipers or two center pieces with two wipers. The latest refinement was the 362E, which had a slightly set back front axle for longer front springs. There was also an 8×8 362.

The 379 model was Peterbilt’s top-selling truck from 1987-2007, with its iconic long square nose and aluminum hood. The 2006-07 models were vastly improved, especially driver visibility, with redesigned windows and an enlarged rear window.[/box]

[box type=”shadow”]Sleepers

In the 1960s and 1970s, Peterbilt used the shell of a KW sleeper with Peterbilt skin, doors, roof and interior. 30″ and 36″ sleepers were available. If a buyer wanted a larger sleeper, Peterbilt worked with Mercury Sleepers for 40″ and 60″ and custom sized sleepers. Mercury would paint the sleeper to match the factory paint or the sleeper came with polished quilted aluminum. In 1978 Peterbilt’s engineers were tasked with making a bigger sleeper. They designed the 63″ sleeper with rounded doors and a walk-through from the cab. The sleeper debuted on a 359-127″ nicknamed “Big Mamoo” by the engineers and can be seen in the 1978 brochure “Best in Class.[/box]