2007 - Volume #31, Issue #1, Page #21[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Peterbilt Pickup Is A Real Eye-Grabber
"I have mostly run Peterbilts, and after seeing a Peterbilt-style pickup in California, I thought it would be fun to have one myself," he says. "Lately I keep it in the garage. It gets almost too much attention. Most people just want to know what it is. They've never seen anything like it."
Severt had an extra card up his sleeve when it came to working with Peterbilt. His head mechanic, Mark Kalina, previously worked for Peterbilt in their body shop for 20 years.
The base for the project was a factory-fresh Dodge 3500 Ram pickup with a Cummins turbodiesel and 4-WD. Other components Kalina started with included a 1994 Peterbilt cab and hood and an after-market bed designed for a full size 1953 Chevy pickup.
The experienced body man started by stripping the pickup down to the engine and chassis. Severt had picked the Dodge for its engine.
"I'm a Ford guy most of the time, but the Dodge Ram with its in-line engine looked more like a big truck engine," says Severt. "It had a cleaner look without so much stuff coming off it."
The first addition was 20-in. Weld Racing Rims with 40x13.50-R20LT Mickey Thompson Baha ATZ tires to give it a big truck look from the ground up.
The next step was positioning the tilt front-end wheel openings over the front wheels. The cab was then added and the entire unit attached to the chassis. "I had to move the radiator back a little to make sure there was room for the tires," says Kalina.
The bed required additional modifications, including adding a pair of cut-down Peterbilt front fenders and running boards.
"Fabricating the running boards was probably one of the biggest challenges," says Severt.
Other challenges included shaping sheet metal to fill the gap between the running boards and front fenders and adding a splashguard around the rear.
The bed, though complete, had arrived in pieces. Kalina adjusted it so the middle stake pocket was centered on the rear wheels.
"I had to make a mount for the bed so it would set down on the frame," he says. "I wanted the top of the bed to ride even with the line on the door and the hood."
The Dodge exhaust system was modified to fit the bed. Kalina made special panels so the 4-in. diameter stainless steel dual exhausts coming from the muffler would exit behind the tires.
The cab itself required minimal, though very painstaking, adjustments. To install the Dodge dash and auxiliary gauges, Kalina fashioned a new aluminum dash for the Peterbilt cab. He then covered it with a 3/16-in. wood veneer for trim, stained to match Peterbilt's after-market rosewood and chrome armrests.
The rest of the cab remained largely stock, including use of the Peterbilt air-conditioning system. Air ride seats were installed and, like the air-powered windows, used the functional air tanks mounted beneath the doors.
"We didn't add air horns or lights above the cab as we wanted it to look like a pickup," explains Kalina. "We are planning to put air ride suspension on it in the future, though. It rides smooth on the highway, but can gets a little rough on bumpy city streets."
While it does get driven to work occasionally, there is no doubt this is a showpiece. The custom wood bed has stainless steel chrome strips, and the paint job is an attraction in itself.
"The colors are the original Peterbilt Galaxy Silver, and the fenders are Black Lilac Pearl," says Kalina. "The dark purple really sets off the fenders.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Greg Severt or Mark Kalina, Severt Trucking, 3160 West Beaver St., Jacksonville, Fla. 32254 (ph 904 388-8516; email@example.com).
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