Project 351: A long, low KW W900L

| August 10, 2013

Truck names come from a host of different origins – the occupation of the owner-operator, remembrance of a loved one, a favorite color, a movie hero or any number of other reasons. Two very custom rigs on the circuit take a different tack, getting their moniker from the wheelbase: Project 350 and Project 351. The latter takes its name from something of a challenge.

Most interior paneling in Project 351 is stainless steel, painted on the doors and elsewhere. “The all stainless floor came out great,” says Fischkelta, “one of my favorite features on the interior, though the hardest to maintain.” Since these pictures were taken, he’s replaced the mirror brackets with custom versions made by 12 Gauge Customs specifically for a Kenworth daylight door.

After Richie Acosta put together his now-infamous Project 350 custom Pete that was profiled in the pages of our sister magazine, Truckers News (March 2010), Acosta’s childhood friend, Anthony Fischkelta, was determined to make his own KW project one better.

He spec’d it straight from Kenworth, working with Tri-State Diesel, a dealership the Fischkelta family has a long relationship with for several trucking generations moving product for their Moonachie, N.J.-based Grand Street Warehouse.

That close working relationship came in handy, as Anthony was about to get quite specific indeed about the specs he needed for his 2009 W900 KW, chief among them an odd wheelbase measurement: 351 inches. (One inch longer than his buddy’s custom working class rig.)

“Originally, my truck was going to be a 42-in. flattop in a KW” to complement Acosta’s 36-in. flattop Pete, says Fischkelta. “But at the last minute, matter of fact it cost me $1,000 to change the spec it was so last minute, I switched to a 72-in. Aerocab sleeper.”

“There is a big market for that [style] truck,” says Fischkelta about the decision, but resale considerations weren’t the only factors involved. “I chose to do that hoping to inspire other Aerocab owners that enjoy working on their rides.”

Fischkelta has spent a lot of time fabricating, personalizing and customizing his truck to make it stand out while keeping it functional. The drop air suspension slams the bumper within an inch of the ground, and the other custom touches inside and out make this rolling office a real head-turner.

After more than two years’ worth of work on the KW, it’s clear he’s been abundantly successful in his mission to inspire today, as “Project 351” has become something of a sensation among fellow full-time haulers and custom rig enthusiasts who’ve lit up Fischkelta’s Facebook page with commendations, questions and pictures from the road.

At first, he documented progress on the rig via a static website. But when he moved to the social platform last year he suddenly found out very clearly how he was doing in getting the word out about the project.

“I never knew how many people follow this truck,” he says. “If they’re a truck fan, they pretty much know about it. I don’t need to solicit people. And I never knew it.”

Spec’s

Truck: Project 351

Owner: Anthony and Richard Fischkelta/Grand Street Warehouse, Moonachie, N.J.

Model: 2009 Kenworth W900L, 351-in. WB

Engine: 700-hp Cummins ISX

Transmission: Eaton-Fuller 18

Exterior mods: Custom cab/sleeper panels; 12Ga visor; fiberglass deckplate and fiberglass rear fenders; custom axle covers and tank covers in the rear; one-piece steps designed with 4 State Trucks; HID headlights; custom grille; 20-inch bumpe; air-ride w/ 12Ga Customs suspension drop kit; custom window shades; eight-inch exhaust; custom hidden hood latches

Interior mods: Stainless floor, ceiling and cab sides; painted dash; custom inserts supplied by 4 State Trucks

  • Grumpy Old Man

    There is a point at which long wheel based tractors become impractical for daily wage earning duties of a real working truck. To me this is an excellent example of an unworkable truck, or a “just for show” truck. …. Just my opinion.

  • http://overdriveonline.com/channel19 Todd Dills

    We hear you — I know Anthony runs it fairly hard, though!

  • OUTOFIT

    I totally agree with you. These trucks are impractical for the most part and like a custom car, you never recover your investment. I have always wanted the money to be well spent on investing and upgrading not show. These trucks are pretty much all the same now and I could care less about knockoffs and would rather see a nice workable truck than an overdone money pit.

  • USMC 69-75

    Not to mention a lighting regulated issue…..only head lamps, no markers of any kind? Just show, but no go for the doe, except a show! Nice rig, but lot’s of money to play with helps!!!

  • Daniel Kupke

    I have a 86 model 359 Pete that has a 370 in wheelbase with a 100 in sleeper and 2 train horns (one on each side) that I pull a lowboy and a flat bed with ?? It works every day just like all the other trucks ?? It also has no lights on top of the cab ?? I sealed all that up due to consistant leaks !! Put the lights in the visor n have never been hasselled about it ?? I’ve had this Pete since 89 !! Two Tone Gold with a Rebel Flag on the shield up top of the sleeper and 9/11 Murals on 3 sides of the sleeper !!

    MERCENARY TRANSPORTATION
    % ash_ca_la@yahoo.com

  • godferingrebel

    That sounds like an awsome truck mr daniel. Im a sticker for them old 359′s. Driving an ’85 that i pulled put of the woods and went through. Those long wheelbases are simply used in specialized markets where they work great. Never thought of putting the lights in the visor. I bought a new fiberglass roof cap from big rig crome shop and it still leaks a tiny bit in a hard rain. Keep it rolling and yes i fly the battle flag on mine too. Stonewall Jackson on one side of the sleeper, Patrick Cleyborn on the other side, and Robert E Lee on watching over me from the top

  • “one ton”

    man the trk is awesome!!! I love a sharp lookn w9 . I think you jus have to like long wb to really appreciate a trk like this. would like to lay eyes on it at GATS in big D later this mo.

  • Daniel Kupke

    I thank you sir !! She is a real part of the family !! My only problem is what to do with her when I ever give up the road and really retire !! I have no family to take over the reins when I am gone ?? Kind of like my deceased fathers tools (He was a chevrolet mechanic his whole life ) ?? I would hate to think that all of that would be sold at a auction for 5 cents on the dollar ??

  • blue

    Grumpy old man you’ve obviously never owned a long wheelbase truck. you’d be surprised what an where you can go with one. As for a show truck look it happens to benifit u even more, u might be surprised as to how many customers actually appreciate it…. it shows u take pride in what u do an the image u project, an that equates to taking pride in transporting there product…

  • Deverie Gray

    when you retire, sell it to a young up and coming truck driver with the sense to take care of it. take the time to teach em the history and love behind your truck. i personally own a 2001 379 with 6nz so i know how you feel about your truck.. good luck

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  • Ragman069….’87Pete 359 class

    U learn how to maneuver a longer wheelbase and know where u can put it and where u can’t

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