The young career -- and custom 2015 Peterbilt 389 -- of owner-op Tony Gonzalez

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Updated Jul 11, 2022

Owner-operator Tony Gonzalez bought the 2015 Peterbilt 389 showcased in the video up top  a couple of years ago, marking what was his maiden trucking voyage behind the wheel as an owner-operator. It was far from his first time in a truck, though.

San Miguel Transportation-leased owner-operator Tony GonzalezOwner-operator Tony Gonzalez, currently leased to his father's long-running San Miguel Transportation businessHe grew up around the business of his longtime owner-operator father, after whom he's named and from whom he purchased the rig. The elder Gonzalez had run the 389 from new for its first four years, bone stock in his San Miguel Transportation small fleet, headquartered out of Phoenix. His son leased there after a long foray in the suits and ties and high-rise office of Phoenix finance.

Gonzalez leased the 389 to San Miguel and expressly asked his father to treat him just as he would any other owner-operator at the company. Talk to Gonzalez now and you'll feel a clear sense that he's loving his time over-the-road. He comes at his story with exuberance born out of a career decision well-made, no doubt, and, little by little, has extended that to the truck with plenty of custom touches, from United Pacific black-out-style headlights and painted tanks to custom air-dump-capable suspension all the way around and plenty of bright upgrades and running lights.

Tony Gonzalez' 2015 Peterbilt 389 and underglow lights below the front bumperThe rig is powered by a 495-hp Cummins engine, with 1,650 lb.-ft. of torque, a 13-speed, 3:25 rears and a 265-inch wheelbase, functional for tight delivery docks where Gonzalez delivers boxed wine in a reefer trailer.

Rear cab view of Tony Gonzalez 2015 389 and its 44-inch sleeperThe average-length wheelbase, aesthetically, Gonzalez noted, appears more "aggressive" given the 44-inch, "not quite the coffin" sleeper. The look, he said, would be complete with the coffin but "I'd miss the refrigerator," he added, when over-the-road.

I caught up with the owner-operator on the second day of the A.J. Soza Memorial Truck Show a couple weeks ago in Merced, California. Gonzalez hauls a variety of freight in reefer trailers, with dedicated lanes in some cases, for San Miguel's customers. The business extends back to his father's produce-hauling days from a prior home base of Salinas, California.

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Hear more of Gonzalez's story, in his own words, with plenty views of the reefer-pulling 389, via the video. And if you're wondering what's next for him ... 

Work on the interior has been fairly minimal to date, with the exception of added lighting (including the overhead watermelons). Gonzalez has big plans to get moving on an interior remake when he takes delivery of his first new-ordered unit.

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