“Class Act,” a 1995 Peterbilt 379 (pictured) in the Paul K. Young Memorial Truck Beauty Show competition ending today in Louisville, isn’t your typical truck show entry. It’s not the creation of an owner-operator, custom shop, fleet or dealer. The folks who beautified this truck, in some cases, don’t even have their driver’s license.
“Class Act” was restored from scrap condition (see before pic below) by 35 high school students from the Clarion County Career Center in Shippenville, Pa.
Beginning in 2007, the center’s Diesel Technology Program’s instructor Don Doverspike had the idea to use the talents of his budding truck repair professionals to create a working show truck. The Diesel Technology Program puts high school students aged 15 to 18 through the paces of a three-year program in preventive maintenance, disassembly and reassembly of engine and drive components, brake repair and diagnostics, engine electrical diagnostics, basic electrical diagnostics, air-conditioning and basic welding and cutting skills.
In 2007, Doverspike and the students began working on restoring the Peterbilt, donated from scrap. To add motivation, Doverspike allowed the students to take the completed show truck to Louisville to compete at the event in 2008. By 2010, with the help of several local sponsors, Doverspike and his class of students had restored another Peterbilt, which they named “Class Act.” But they ran into a snag in their plan to take it to MATS.
“The last thing needed to make this truck complete was a new set of truck tires,” Doverspike said. “The existing tires on the vehicle were too worn to pass Pennsylvania state inspection, much less compete.” The folks at Continental Tire North America helped provide the finishing touches with a new set.
Said Doverspike, “There was no way we could take it to the show until Continental stepped in.”
Helping make the connection was a local tire dealer, Good Tire Service, who notified Continental truck tire replacement sales manager Chuck Datsko. Continental sent the students a brand-new set of HSR2 (Heavy Steer Regional) and HDR1 (Heavy Drive Regional) tires for the tractor to complete the show entry.
“Chuck and Continental really came through and helped the students put the final touches on” Class Act, Doverspike said. “The new tires look and run great.”
“We think the Clarion County students and their excitement about their future careers in diesel technology and trucking are the real ‘class act’ here,” said Clif Armstrong, Continental’s director of marketing for commercial vehicle tires in the Americas. “We can’t wait to see how their truck stacks up in this prestigious competition.”
In addition, Continental has provided the Diesel Technology Program with the American Trucking Association Technology and Maintenance Council’s “Radial Tire and Disc Wheel Service Manual” to keep in their classroom and aid in mounting tires. Datsko traveled to the class the week prior to MATS and taught a one-day seminar so that the students would receive a full learning experience about truck tires. The center has “actually asked the Continental rep and the dealer to come back for a second tire seminar,” says Continental’s Jackie Pobiega.
“This has been great. The students have learned that hard work brings its rewards,” Doverspike said. “Now we are waiting to see what the judges think of our efforts, but I know these students will remember this competition for the lessons they have learned and the benefits provided by Continental.”
The PKY Beauty Show takes place in Lot “J” on the west side of the Louisville truck show complex, with a total of 100 entries for 2010. Continental’s “Untamed Innovation Tour” exhibit is located at booth #18252.
A version of this story first ran Friday, March 26, at the Custom Rigs website.