If it weren’t for Chicago’s United Center behind Terry Berry’s 1990s-era Passport auto-hauling Peterbilt, it’d be pretty difficult to determine which pic showed a 60-footer and which a mere five-footer. What started out as “a hobby” of one Chicago Class 8 truck enthusiast, says De-Elegant Model Truck Fleet founder Kuenn McClinton, is now a family business that got its start via none other than the pages of Overdrive. McClinton says that, in the early 1980s, he’d asked the mag’s founder a few times if he’d consider featuring his work before “he told me, ‘If I send you a picture of a truck and you build it, I’ll put it in the magazine.’” After it was done, it attracted the attention of Ray Miller of custom sleeper manufacturer Double Eagle, who asked McClinton for a couple prototypes. McClinton was Double Eagle’s guest at the 1986 Mid-America Trucking Show, and in subsequent years McClinton participated in the show with his own booth, a growing customer base, and ever-growing pride in his custom-model work. The rest, as they say, is history. In 2006 the company (de-elegantmodeltruck.com) celebrated two decades in business.
This item appeared in the January 2009 installment of the Channel 19 column in Overdrive. Click emhereem for the free digital version or to subscribe.