Sweet 16

| January 01, 2007

Fries still owns the 1989 W900B Aerodyne.

“It now has 1,200,000 miles on it and is as solid as my 2006 W900L,” he says. “I still drive it mostly during nice weather and hope to someday restore it to new condition.”

First and Last
Jerry and Ronda Diemoz believe in the Peterbilt 379. Nothing else will do for their company, J & R Trucking out of Rock Springs, Wyo. In October 2003 Jerry heard that Pete was planning a special edition of the tractor, the 379X. At a truck show in Las Vegas, Jerry approached the Pete booth and told them he was getting the very first one. “You can’t be,” the surprised Pete man said. “Yes I am,” said Jerry.

That same man was waiting at the front door of Pete’s Denton, Texas, plant when Jerry and Ronda flew in to watch the first 379X roll off the assembly line. “Sorry,” the Pete man said sheepishly. Jerry and Ronda were given a cake, a plaque and a ribbon-cutting ceremony before they took the new tractor home.

They loved the truck so much that when Jerry heard the last of the limited edition X was about to leave the plant, he bought that one, too.

“The 379 is just the best truck that was ever built,” says Jerry. “I don’t think you can stack anything up against it. It’s also got the most drive appeal of any truck every built. Over 40 years I’ve had some of the best Petes ever built. I went into 379s when they stopped building the 359. I wanted a really classic 359 but never got one, so when I heard about the X, I had to have the first one. I did have one unique 359 though. It was the most expensive Pete ever built when I bought it in 1980 for $112,000.”

The J & R Petes haul equipment on low boys but specialize in oilfield hauling, running as much as 40 percent of their miles off road. And they are big, tough trucks.

“I’ve always been a believer in horsepower, so we have big engines. We have a 60-inch spread in front because they handle the washboards on dirt roads better than the 54-inch spread. We have double steel frames, big 18-speed transmissions and all-locking rear ends; you need those when you run through 3 feet of mud.”

Today the company runs 15 Peterbilt 379s, from 1999 to 2007 (with 2006 engines) models. But they don’t run the double Xs.

“They are state of the art, about the best trucks you could ever buy. The first one has 184 miles on it and the last one has 400, and that’s just because we had to go into Salt Lake City for some updates on it. I bought them to keep as classics. I hope in 20 years they’ll still look like new, and I’ll be showing them off at truck shows. I drive them every month to keep them lubricated, but I’m really like a classic car enthusiast who has hit the jackpot.”

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