Whiplash: Heard Trucking’s cabover lover’s dream 1996 Freightliner FLD

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Travis Heard’s “Whiplash” 1996 Freightliner FLD cabover is named for the medical condition Heard hoped to inspire in onlookers who see it and its matching reefer trailer (used mostly for dry freight) go by out on the Midwest roads his Howells, Neb.-based business’ few trucks travel. It stands up a unique profile, it’s sure, among the majority of trucks traveling the road today with their big square or sloped hoods.

Travis HeardTravis Heard

“It’s working,” Heard says in the video interview above, shot and recorded at the Guilty by Association Truck Show in Joplin, Mo., in late September. He describes one of many encounters with the Whiplash-afflicted — this particular one with a woman at a fueling station who asked to take a picture of the pristine custom unit Heard found in fairly ragged-out condition in Oklahoma after a Craigslist search several years ago. The woman wanted evidence for her husband, a truck enthusiast she said just “wouldn’t believe” it otherwise.

Heard Trucking’s 1996 Freightliner FLDHeard Trucking’s 1996 Freightliner FLD

The Heard family farms row crops and otherwise trucks, Travis serving as dispatcher, broker, driver and more on the company’s contract with livestock feed manufacturer Central Plains Milling — he runs himself most often in a 2006 Peterbilt 379, while the cabover runs occasionally in the independent Heard Trucking operation.

Heard put in copious work on the unit — from re-dyeing the originally brown interior panels all black to:

Laying household carpet throughout the interior, including over the doghouse;Laying household carpet throughout the interior, including over the doghouse;

Repositioning the battery box to clean up the deck lines; and

Finding a spot for the ever-important duck hood ornament. “Conventionals get to have cool ducks — a cabover can too,” Heard says.Finding a spot for the ever-important duck hood ornament. “Conventionals get to have cool ducks — a cabover can too,” Heard says.

Run through the project via the video above, and find a bevy of photos in the slider gallery below.

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