Peterbilt 379: Contemporary Classic

Some trucks never go out of style. The 379 arguably tops the list, making it a leader in resale.

Peterbilt offers a long list of features and performance upgrades, including wheel bases in 1-inch increments and six different frame rails. This legend comes as a day cab, a dump truck, or a road tractor with a 70-inch stand-up; or eight other sleepers from Unibilt – the Low Roof in three sizes, the High Roof in two and the UltraCab in three. The UltraCab has a full-size fold-away bed that converts to a dining room table and work space.

While no one considers the 379 an aerodynamic truck, choices among roof fairings, side trim tabs and cab side extenders can decrease drag or simply be used to get a certain look. While aluminum is used extensively, many accessories are stainless steel. The windshield visor, air cleaner, and tool and battery boxes and the surround on the grill are stainless, while the trademark grill, hood and some elements of Peterbilt’s proprietary air suspension are aluminum. Aviation-quality huckbolts are used rather than rivets in the hood and cab. Peterbilt says its frame bolts are the industry’s strongest.

The work space has been improved by making the dash more visible through the steering wheel. The UltraCab opening is also 10 inches taller and the roof has been raised 5 inches to give 63 inches of headroom. Pete’s HVAC system has been designed so that the music aficionado can listen without distraction to his 10-speaker, 210-watt system in comfort when the snow flies or the sun bakes.

Put Caterpillar’s C-16 600-hp engine and a Fuller manual 18-speed on the 379 and you’ve got a truck at the top of the food chain. Like most carnivores, your Pete will look impressive, but its care and feeding may cost a little more with the big power and the relative lack of aerodynamics. That’s a moot issue for most buyers, for whom the 379, with its timeless styling and many evolutionary enhancements, continues to be a classic that only improves with age.