The initial story of the “Service and Sacrifice” military veterans tribute 1988 Freightliner cabover was told following its Mid-America Trucking Show debut in 2017 — track back through the truck at that time via this link.
Among bobtails showing in Overdrive‘s Pride & Polish main event at the Great American Trucking Show for the first time this year is a rig that is nonetheless familiar. I came across Arkansas-based Ed Harwell and his project 1988 Freightliner FLT at Mid-America in Louisville in 2017, regular readers may well remember, and since then Harwell says he’s learned scads from fellow truck-show participants at a variety of events around the country — well needed for the self-described “truck guy” who has served in recent years not as an owner-op but as a vice president (government services, most recently) for the J.B. Hunt fleet.
Harwell walked me through some of the updates he’s put into the unit, and the sweat equity that went into its detailing ahead of the GATS show, ongoing through Saturday.
This rear view shows the new fifth wheel and work put in on fender hangers and more.
The stacks and breathers “have never looked so good,” Harwell says, as a result of plenty polishing and cleaning in advance of GATS. In the near future, Harwell plans to replace the rig’s half fenders with a full-fender look as he continues to tweak the truck.
Harwell estimates he’s attended 10 events a year since he put together Service and Sacrifice, having rescued the unit from a field where it’d been parked for quite some time. Most are veterans events, but some truck-show wins — the Workman’s show in Arkansas and an American Truck Historical Society show there as well — have been edifying. The T-bar shown here is a new addition.
A new filler panel bewteen the tanks and stainless saddle covers above, among other elements, reflects the T-bar design ahead of the tandems.
“The more I do the truck,” says Harwell, “the more people love it.” Harwell is clearly passionate about the rig and its mission himself. “When I open the barn” where he stores the truck, “I say, ‘Hello, beautiful.'”
The driver-side door is a replacement for the original, and it actually came from an FLD rather than an FLT, says Harwell. The passenger-side door, meanwhile, doesn’t contain the Freightliner labeling on the handle, and he’s planning to work in stainless inserts on both to tie into new stainless additions all throughout the cab, on the dash in particular.
As noted, dash updates include a variety of stainless and, as you’ll note, a new display from which Harwell as driver can toggle front, rear and side camera views if need be for backing, merging or other purposes.
The front- and side-view cams are shown mounted on the passenger-side mirror bracketry — the front view points down into the area just in front of the truck’s grille.
The rear camera sits in the center and at the back of the cab.