Fine-tuned flattop 1984 Peterbilt 359 -- owner-operator Greg Crispell's 'baby'

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Updated Jan 8, 2024
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Owner-operator Greg Crispell pulls a step deck mostly within New York State and surrounding areas with this custom 1984 Peterbilt 359, originally a short-hood daycab he bought at age 21 and put to work.

The Dryden, New York-based independent hauls a lot of landscaping-related commodities -- various stone products -- and apples and other agricultural commodities on occasion in the fall. This truck and Crispell's work itself builds on the legacy of his father, also a working owner-operator of a 359. The elder Crispell's 1986 model he “bought the same year I was born,” Greg said. “I grew up around that truck,” and always aspired to own one much the same -- the veritable Platonic ideal of a truck in his mind.

The elder Crispell’s rig was a stock 250-inch wheelbase when he bought it, where it remains today, pulling the owner’s dump trailer full of agricultural commodities, mostly.

Greg Crispell and his 1984 Peterbilt 359Greg’s taken his own 1984 359 a shot further, having added the flattop sleeper and extending the wheelbase to 280 inches, modifying the front to an extended hood, painting and making many other custom touches throughout, much of the work done himself.

Greg Crispell's put a couple years of metal-fab education in high school to work, too, designing first an aluminum -- then stainless steel -- visor and other bright parts around the rig with a distinctive bead roll that’s caught the eyes of other owner-operators around the nation.

Visor detail on the 1984 359Detail of the visor on Crispell's 359

The growing notoriety of his work is no doubt part of the reason he got the invite to Peterbilt's 2023 Pride & Class parade and truck show for employees of the Peterbilt factory in Denton, Texas, where Overdrive caught up with the owner this past October.

“About a year ago," he said, "I got hold of some mirror stainless and started playing with that, building visors. I’ve shipped about 30 of them to different guys all over.”

Find him on Facebook and Instagram via the links.

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[Related: Peterbilt's sixth-annual Pride & Class parade kicks off in Texas]


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Transcript

Speaker 1: This truck comes to us all the way from my home state, New York, owner Greg Crispell's 1984 359, 280-inch wheelbase. It pulls a step deck trailer and it's here all the way from the East Coast.

Greg Crispell: Greg Crispell from Dryden, New York. This is my baby. Like I said, originally it was a short hood. I made it an extended hood, and from when I first got it to when I first put it on the road, that was probably a three, four year. ... I turned 21, got my license, put it on the road, and went to work. And then, four or five years after that, pulled it back apart and made it into an extended hood. So just did all the work myself in my dad's barn. I had a couple of guys help me make the hood panels when I made it into an extended hood, but aside from that, pretty much did everything myself. So originally, it was a 250 wheel base.

It was a daycab when I got it, but it had the opening for one of these sleepers, so I had got that sleeper, bought that from a guy local to me after I got the truck, and put it together. Knock on wood, the motor's fairly untouched. I put a turbo on it, little maintenance, gaskets, air compressor, little things, but haven't done an in-frame or anything on the engine yet. It's a reman engine. There's a tag on it, I'm guessing from the 90s-ish, based on what the previous owner had told us about it. I pull a step deck around. I haul a lot of landscaping material, flagstone, bluestone, stuff like that. In fall time, we haul apples for a little something, just whatever comes up. Used to haul a lot of ag-related stuff, hay and stuff like that. I stay close to home all the time.

Well, usually almost always within New York state. Once in a while, I'll go to PA, or Ohio, or somewhere, but when I was in high school, I took two years of a welding class in school, so metal fab has always been in my wheelhouse. And I always wanted cool stuff and I couldn't afford to pay people to build me cool stuff, so learned how to paint and do that stuff on my own, just figure it out, winged it. This thing was a Guinea pig for a lot of stuff, teaching myself how to do things. It's not perfect, but pretty much did it all alone.

Todd Dills:  You didn't build that visor yourself, did you?

Greg Crispell: I sure did, yeah.

I made an aluminum one for it a couple of years ago out of... I put a bead roll in it, something different. And then, about a year ago almost, I got a hold of some stainless, mirror stainless, and started playing with that, and building visors, and I've shipped 30 of them to different guys all over. So I'm on Facebook and Instagram, both.