Owner-operators’ love of well-kept, shining trucks made the Tractor of the Month and similar monthly features popular in Overdrive’s early years. That enthusiasm flourished in 1990 when the magazine started Pride & Polish, the first truck beauty contest held at a major trucking convention. By the second year, 40 rigs competed in 11 categories.
The competition, now part of Overdrive’s Custom Rigs, rises to a new level this year with a national championship. The winners of Pride & Polish shows held at five events over 12 months will compete at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas, Aug. 25-27.
This 1953 handmade Autocar was Overdrive’s January 1973 Tractor of the Month. John G. Glaser Jr., of Camden, N.J., owned the tractor, which was powered by a 1960 220-hp Cummins. The truck was customized with chrome on the heated mirrors and brackets, horns, door handles, hub caps, running lights and turn signals. The handmade bumper and Peterbilt conventional headlights were stainless steel.
Defiance, a customized White Freightliner, popped wheelies and roared down race tracks in the early 1980s. Its 2,000-hp V-12 Allison aircraft engine was typically used in World War II fighter planes. Twins Jerald and Gerald McBee invested $130,000 to transform the rig. The truck’s estimated top speed was 150 mph with 7,280 pounds gross weight and 10-by-22.5-in. wheels, according to the February 1980 Overdrive.
Plum Classy, a 1988 Peterbilt 379, had won four Pride & Polish Best of Show titles by March 2005 when Overdrive featured the show truck. Owners Neal and Barbara Holsomback enjoyed the awards and the camaraderie. “I spot check everything with a wet rag in one hand and a polishing rag in the other,” Barbara said in 2000. Neal, who assisted with the shows for years and still does today, says fellow enthusiast Victor Verret, owner of a 1994 Kenworth W900 named Blew By U, inspired him.
Bob and B.J. Montgomery won Best of Show at the first Pride & Polish in 1990, held in Louisville, Ky., for Something Special, a 1986 Kenworth T600A. A mural memorialized the seven astronauts killed aboard the Challenger space shuttle in 1986. Idaho artist Bill Campbell depicted Christ receiving the astronauts into heaven.
Robert and Shelly Brinker’s Legend of the Black Pearl, a 2000 Freightliner Classic XL, has won many Pride & Polish awards with its extensive graphics and accessories that pay homage to Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean” films and the couple’s daughter, Amie Knight, who died in 2005. The truck “seems to be a crowd favorite, I guess, because of the movies being so popular, and everything on the truck looks so real,” Robert told Overdrive.
By 2005, Darian Stephens, of Hereford, Pa., had won six Best of Show Pride & Polish awards with Keystone J.R., a 1995 Freightliner Classic XL. His favorite award was Participants’ Choice. “That stuff moves me – to have your peers choose you,” he said in 1999.
Overdrive’s 1999 Trucker of the Year, Harvey Zander, and his wife, Karen, won many awards in the bobtail category for their 2003 International 9900ix, Icy Blu 2 (pictured) and its predecessor, Icy Blu, a 1996 Freightliner Classic. The truck’s murals depict the Zanders’ granddaughter Becca on the driver side and their grandson Jake on the passenger side.
1963: Rubber Curing
Improvement for retreads
By John Baxter
Retreads have a reputation for early failure on the road for good reason – that used to be the case in the early days. That changed in 1963 when Bandag invented a rubber curing envelope that utilized air pressure in the curing oven to hold the tread tightly to the casing. This eliminated the use of metal bands, which were costly and difficult for workers to use properly, for bonding the tread to the casing.
50 Years of Equipment Innovations
Visit OverdriveRetro.com to view some of the top 50 equipment milestones during
Overdrive’s 50-year history. All 50 milestones will be published in the September issue.
Let us know your favorite trucking memories. Write Lucinda Coulter at email@example.com or Overdrive, P.O. Box 3187, Tuscaloosa, AL 35403.