A taste of Texas tea

The old pumping unit in front of the science and planetarium building at Fair Park in Dallas has seen its share of the “black gold” from which Rusty Conn’s truck gets it name.

When Rusty Conn named his 2003 Peterbilt 379 Black Gold, Texas Tea, he was asking for trouble. Everybody seems to recognize the phrase from the theme song to the TV classic “The Beverly Hillbillies.”

“I get a lot of comments on the radio,” he says. “One guy even sang the Jed Clampett theme.”
Turns out that Conn hauls chemicals, not the black gold for which Texas is famous. He works through the Diboll, Texas, terminal of Fort Worth-based Andrews Transport, where he is leased.

In planning his truck’s motif, Conn says, “I wanted something with black, and I wanted something with Texas, so I put it all together.”

The interior brings in the exterior’s rose tint through bezel-jewel-tipped switches, even on the CB, and a shift stick fattened with PVC pipe. Hand-carved cedar sun visors, rosewood trim plus a swinging saloon-style door in the sleeper round out the interior’s special touches. Conn’s efforts paid off with three awards at the 2006 Pride & Polish at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas: Second Place in Conventional Bobtail 2003-2004 and Third Place in Interior Excluding Sleeper and Custom Paint Non-Mural Bobtail.

Conn says his labor with the truck largely is a tribute to his father, Cleburne Conn. “He got me my first job right out of high school. I had no experience, but they hired me on the spot, just because of who he was,” Conn says. “I owe everything I have and I am to him.”