Bringing out the stripes in an ’86 359

| August 16, 2013
Among the Pete’s unique features is the differing color treatment on the hood, cab and sleeper roofs, which unlike most striped-up rigs don’t match. While the hood is base black, the roofs above the cab and sleeper are purple – the dark metallic violet Ronnie Adams and company chose for the Adams Motor Express flagship rig.
Among the Pete’s unique features is the differing color treatment on the hood, cab and sleeper roofs, which unlike most striped-up rigs don’t match. While the hood is base black, the roofs above the cab and sleeper are purple – the dark metallic violet Ronnie Adams and company chose for the Adams Motor Express flagship rig.

Before this 1986 Peterbilt 359 became the flagship show truck for Carnesville, Ga.-based Adams Motor Express, the fleet’s legacy resided solely in the history of its business. Like many small fleets in the Southeast, Adams’ predecessor fleet, Bulldog Trucking, fit a regional niche in the pre-deregulation carrier scene, and Adams Motor Express – launched three years after current owner Ronnie Adams’ father sold the Bulldog business in 1985 – followed in its path.

“The interior had already been redone – upholstery and everything,” Adams says. The gauges were original and in near-mint condition.
“The interior had already been redone – upholstery and everything,” Adams says. The gauges were original and in near-mint condition.

When the opportunity arose roughly five years ago to become just the third owner of a “piece of history” in an ’86 Pete, Adams couldn’t resist.

“I’ve been looking for a truck like this for 10, 15 years,” he says – a rig that was of the era of Adams Motor’s founding but in good enough condition to get to show quality without too much work. The truck had been kept in immaculate condition by its second owner.

“We had to put some flash to it” to compete on the show circuit, says Adams, who worked with sons Trey and Tyler – both teenagers at the time – and company personnel, eventually combining three historical Paccar paint/stripe schemes from the 1970s and ’80s to create the unique combination of dark metallic violet, gold, black and white – Adams Motor company colors – you see today on “Old School.”

  • Daniel Kupke

    GREAT LOOKING 359 !!!

  • Tim Cooley

    Awesome ride Ronnie! Would like to invite you to be in the SC Special Olympics Convoy but can’t find your email”

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