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2005 - Volume #29, Issue #2, Page #22
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His Pickup Looks Like A Peterbuilt

Don Newkirk wanted a pickup that looked like a semi-tractor. After 3,000 hours of labor, he has one that grabs lots of attention, whether at parades or just on the street.
  "I found a 1978 Chevy 3/4 ton with a body that looked like junk, but was good mechanically," says Newkirk. "I had already picked up a 1974 Peterbuilt body with a cab that was in good shape."
  Newkirk had to strip out all the extras that came with the cab, such as fuel lines, battery lines, brake lines, etc.
  One reason Newkirk went with the older Chevy was to avoid having to deal with air pollution requirements that were instituted after the 1978 model year in Ohio. After stripping the pickup down to the frame, he began by sandblasting and repainting it.
  Before replacing the engine, transmission and other parts, Newkirk set the Peterbuilt cab in place. While it fit fine, he didn't think it looked right. After removing the cab, Newkirk cut away the frame from in front of the bed to the front end of the A-frame suspension. He dropped that section of the frame about 5 1/2 in., essentially the width of the frame rails. This created a saddle for the cab to sit in. He also had to make changes to the floorboards.
  "I wanted to keep the flat look of floor boards in the Peterbuilt," says Newkirk. "To clear the transmission, I had to raise the floorboard about 3 1/2 in."
  After making new mounts for the cab, he replaced it, as well as the engine and transmission. He put on all new brake lines, a master cylinder and booster.
  "My next step was to start whittling on the hood," recalls Newkirk. "I took 5 in. from the length of the hood, cut the fenders off and narrowed the hood about 5 in. That meant I had to cut down the front grill to match and weld it back together."
  He took 7 in. from the width of the front fenders. For a bed, Newkirk returned to the salvage yard, where he found one from a 1991 Dodge Dakota. It fit fine, but needed a little work.
  "I had a metal shop roll rear fenders for me so they would be in a straight line with the front fenders," says Newkirk. "They also made a running board for me and bumpers out of 304 stainless steel."
  Originally the pickup had its fuel tank mounted outside the frame rail and inside the bed. Newkirk didn't want it either on the side or at the rear, so the bed had to be raised a few inches. He fabricated and installed a new 31-gal. aluminum tank. He also modified the tail section to accommodate 1959 Cadillac taillights.
  Once the truck was together, Newkirk rewired it, using more than 200 ft. of wire. He installed turn signals that light up in succession across the front of the hood.
  In the cab itself, he retained most of the original Peterbuilt dash. Some no longer needed gauges and all switches were eliminated. A new tach to go with the 350 Chevy engine replaced the Peterbuilt tach, which registered a high of 2,200 rpm's. Other gauges were moved around, and Newkirk installed heated Audi power seats.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Don Newkirk, 27450 St., RR 41, Peebles, Ohio 45660 (ph 937 587-2975).
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2005 - Volume #29, Issue #2