Theresa DeSantis, out of Apache Junction, Ariz., has been a truck driver for 34 years and has been driving the same 1985 Peterbilt 359 since she and her husband, Dean, bought it new. In recent years, she has transformed the rig into “The Witches Inn,” making light of how she was received in the trucking industry early in her career hauling hazmat.
“The theme came from stopping at railroad tracks and getting called something other than a witch,” she says. She now hauls steel coils and “whatever can fit on a flatbed” everywhere except the Northwest and Canada.
DeSantis had the truck on display at the 2018 Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville in March, where she picked up several awards in the PKY Truck Beauty Contest, including Working Combo Best of Show, first place in Working Combo Custom Paint and Graphics, first place in Working Engine, and first place in Working Interior OEM Cab and Sleeper.
The truck’s grille features hundreds of witch hat cutouts, while the front bumper has witch boot cutouts. The hood ornament is also a pair of witch boots.
The color scheme of the truck is original from 1985 when Peterbilt only made about 250 trucks with the red and orange paint scheme. It has been repainted a few times over the years, keeping with the same scheme, but adding graphics here and there, including bats on the rear fenders. Her 2016 East curtainside trailer features a graphic with a witch stirring a cauldron on the front of the trailer over the fifth wheel.
She says she personally has taken care of the truck as far as washing and polishing it to keep it in pristine condition through the years.
Under the hood, the rig sports the original 3406 Caterpillar, which has been rebuilt five times over the last 33 years. DeSantis says she switched to an 18-speed transmission with 3:25 rears a couple years ago. She has also stretched the wheelbase from 252 inches to 285 inches and added an extended hood.