'Back in Time': Kentucky-based owner-operator's 1989 Freightliner FLC 120

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Updated Jun 30, 2023

Owner-operator Jason Earlywine showed his classic 1989 Freightliner FLC 120, "Back in Time," at the 2023 Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky.

The rig is from the last year of the FLC 120 model before the FLD came out, Earlywine said. 

Jason Earlywine's 1989 Freightliner FLC 120While this truck of Earlywine's is retired to the truck show circuit, Earlywine himself is still working, hauling grain for Bagdad, Kentucky-based Goullon Inc.Video and photos taken by Lawson Rudisill, edited by Andrew Guinn

He’s made some minor customizations to the truck, but he mostly tries to keep it as original as possible. "It’s just your run-of-the-mill Freightliner truck," he said.

Front bumper of Jason Earlywine's 1989 FreightlinerAmong custom adds is the well-lit chrome front bumper and a few other accessories. Earlywine said he tries "not to overdo it."

He's been familiar with the truck since it was new, as it was owned by family friends up until he bought it about 12 years ago, becoming the truck's third owner. The rig's nickname, "Back in Time," is a call not only to the truck's late-'80s heritage, but also a time that Earlywine believes was an especially "good time for trucking."

Under the hood, the truck sports a 400 Cummins with a 13-speed and 4.11 rears.

Interior of Jason Earlywine's 1989 FreightlinerApart from new seats and some chrome pieces on the instrument panel, the interior of the rig is still original.

As much of a draw as the truck is on a show truck lot, an even bigger draw for Earlywine is his Basset hound, Cledus Snow, named after Jerry Reed’s character in “Smokey & the Bandit.” 

Jason Earlywine's Basset hound, Cledus SnowCledus Snow

Wagon for Jason Earlywine's Basset houndEarlywine’s Cledus has a wagon to ride in outfitted like the trailer from the 1977 film.

[Related: 'Livin’ the Dream' with Willie Flores Jr.’s 1995 Pete 379]

Earlywine was among voices of longtime owner-operators contributing to the first episode of Overdrive's 2020 coproduction with PRX's Radiotopia podcast network, Over the Road. The episode, "The biggest tailgate in trucking," dropped into the 2019 Mid-America Trucking Show to set the stage for issues explored for audiences both inside and outside trucking through an eight-episode season. Catch all episodes via this collection.   

Catch plenty more views of the truck in the video up top. For more videos and custom-equipment features delivered to your email inbox, subscribe to Overdrive's weekly Custom Rigs newsletter via this link.

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Jason Earlywine: My name's Jason Earlywine from Lexington, Kentucky. I now live in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. I work for Goullon Incorporated out of Bagdad, Kentucky hauling grain. I have a '89 Freightliner here that I just primarily show it now, but we call it Earlywine Trucking 'cause I have three other old antique trucks.

His name's Cledus Snow, he's a Basset hound. Everybody relates a Basset hound to "Smokey and the Bandit." Everybody thinks of the Basset Hound Fred, which that was the dog in the movie. We wanted to be different. So, we named him after Jerry Reed's character, Cledus Snow. We built him a wagon kind of replica of Jerry Reed's trailer in Smokey and the Bandit. So, he likes to ride around in the wagon from time to time.

We have '89 Freightliner FLC 120. This was the last year of the FLC 120s and the year that they introduced the FLD 120s.

It's got a 400 Cummins, 13-speed, 4.11 rears. Got a little over a million miles on it. I bought it 12 years ago from a family friend. I'm the third owner of the truck. I remember when the truck was brand new 'cause it's always been around my family, as far as friends owning it. I call the truck "Back in Time," considering being an '89 and back then I considered that the best time to be in the '80s. I mean, I was born in the '70s, raised up in the '80s, and I think that was around a good time for trucking.

Since I've gotten the truck, I've added new bumper to it. Far as maintenance wise, I've added new airbags, added a few little chrome goodies here and there. I try not to overdo it 'cause I like to try to keep it as original as possible. They draw a fine line when it comes to being original versus custom. As far as interior goes, I've added just a few little chrome pieces on my instrument panel. I've changed the seats, other than that, it's factory interior. It's just your run of the mill Freightliner truck. I mean, it is what you see, that's all basically all I can say about it. So we have fun with it, I mean, as far as taking it around to different antique shows and so forth.

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