Many big-rig customizers back their way into building a dream truck. After years of on-road hauling, all the while slowly acquiring the technical know-how to take a working tractor and turn it into a project truck, they hot-rod an old family workhorse or turning a junkyard find into a machine that gleams like new.
Jerry Beaudoin, owner of the Southington, Conn.-based SRS National fleet of 10 company-owned straight and tractor-trailer dumps specializing in contaminated soil removal, did the opposite.
He built his business to back up “my disease for chrome,” as he jokingly calls his customizing obsession.
How does he do it? As his latest custom creation, a 2007 Peterbilt 379 he calls Triple One, shows it takes dedication. Beaudoin specs a new truck, ordering very little in the way of finish.
“We usually order them with customizing in mind,” he says. “We order our trucks with no visors, no chrome, and just basic paint. Then we take them apart—right down to nothing.”
The work on this SRS National’s latest creation then proceeded over a four-month period, focused on what Beaudoin calls a guiding vision of creating a long, low and clean, seamless design from front to back. Inside, too.
The cab is unadorned with any kind of panel trim, the smooth-paneled doors painted to match the striping on the exterior. That paint job, finished with “three or four” layers of clear coat for a no-edges finish over the stripes, was laid on by New Haven Truck and Auto Body, whom Beaudoin and company rely on for paint and some body work.
Otherwise, “My shop team is me and three or four drivers who like to do the same thing.” They perform the rest of the work totally in-house.
Among special features unique to the Triple One build is the team’s successful engineering of a blind-mount arrangement (under the custom deck plate) for the hydraulic hose that feeds the dump trailers it hauls from cleanup sites.
“I’ve seen guys try to do that,” says Beaudoin, but turning and dumping then typically become problematic. “I figured out a way to do it so the hydraulic hose stays on the truck and you can turn and dump with it. Once you figure it out and look at it, it’s pretty simple, really.”
“We get approached quite a bit to build trucks for people, which we do from time to time” the 38-year-old Beaudoin says. “I’m not set up to do it as a business, per say, but this may be a platform to get to that point someday, when I’m tired of dealing with chasing work.”
In any case, Beaudoin certainly has the know-how. Watch for more custom rigs popping up from him in the near future.
Owner: SRS National/Jerry Beaudoin, Southington, Conn.
Model: 2007 Peterbilt 379
Engine: 565-hp Cummins ISX
Transmission: 18-speed Eaton Fuller
Interior mods: low-base leather seats; twin-stick shifters; custom-built aluminum flat panels; interior stripes painted to match the exterior; painted dash; stainless steel headliner and floor; solid chrome steering wheel
Exterior mods: suicide doors; removed door handles, cab lights, horns and emblems; automatic hood opener; painted and chromed motor; blacked out grill; remote control-operated, bumper-mounted revolving headlights