2019 Pete 389 glider a patriotic tribute to owner's trucking mentors

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Robert Burleson, the owner of North Carolina-based Jack Hicks Inc., bought the company from its namesake in 2010. 

Hicks started the company in the late 1970s, Burleson said. He drove for Hicks for a number of years before moving into the office to help manage the business. "He was like a second dad to me," Burleson said.

The company has always run from North Carolina to the West Coast, and it continues to do so today, mostly out to Idaho and back. 

Burleson's father, Alex -- whose CB handle was Tom Cat -- also drove a truck, and the influence of both first and second dads manifests to the fullest extent in the 2019 Peterbilt 389 Burleson showed at the Mayberry Truck Show in Mt. Airy, North Carolina, last Fall. 

Robert Burleson's 2019 Peterbilt 389The truck was bought new as a glider from Fitzgerald, equipped with a 550-hp Cat with an 18-speed and 3.08 rears.Video and photos by Lawson Rudisill

The rig was already heavily customized when he brought it home from Fitzgerald, with plenty of parts from 12 Ga. Customs, he said. The truck's paint, however, is a custom job by a member of the Jack Hicks team, Patrick. The paint work is impressive enough to have earned the win in Best Paint at the Mayberry show.

[Related: Watch the rigs roll through in the Mayberry truck convoy, full show results]

The truck's patriotic theme may not be noticeable at first glance, but a look at the finer details makes it plain.

American flag-painted floor of Robert Burleson's 2019 Peterbilt 389Opening the door to the inside of the cab is the first giveaway, as the truck's floor is painted as an American flag.

Painted fan blades of Robert Burleson's 2019 Peterbilt 389Even the fan blades on the engine are painted with stars to continue the theme.

Burleson put his own custom touches on the rig, too, including this hood ornament, reminiscent of what was seen on the Ford Model T.

Hood ornament on Robert Burleson's 2019 Peterbilt 389Burleson said he bought this hood ornament for the second truck he ever owned, and he has put it on all of his trucks since. "I just like it, something different," he said.

Burleson doesn't consider the truck a worker, as he just runs one or two trips a year in it. He built it in memory of his two biggest mentors -- his father and Jack Hicks. 

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Tributes on the back of Robert Burleson's 2019 Peterbilt 389Burleson's 389 is hooked to a 2004 Great Dane reefer that has also been customized and painted to match the rig. On the trailer doors, Burleson honors "the two that got me started" in trucking, he said.

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.


Robert Burleson: My name's Robert Burleson. It started with Jack Hicks in 1978, I think. I ended up buying it in 2010. He was like a second dad to me. And we run the West Coast, always have. Now, we're in mostly Idaho. We've got a good crew, a bunch of good drivers.

It's a 2019 Peterbilt. It's got a 550 cat 18 speed, 308 rear ends. It's a Fitzgerald Glider. We bought it in '19. Patrick painted it, and done all the custom work to it. He custom painted all of it.

Lawson Rudisill: What exactly have you done under the hood?

Robert Burleson: Well, just the turbo and the manifold, and the air ride system on the front.

Lawson Rudisill: Did you paint that fan?

Robert Burleson: Patrick painted it, yep. See, you see stuff that I don't even remember us doing.

The hood ornament? It's like a old model T Ford.The second truck I bought, I bought that same hood ornament. That's why I run on all of them. I just like it, just like it. Something different.

One of the coolest things is the floor, I think, myself. The other fellow I was telling you painted it, Patrick. And he did the inside here, the backside of the visor.

Really, a lot of the stuff come on it, already, a lot of the stuff from 12 Gauge, like the boxes and the pipes. I'm not 100% sure. I think they're Dynaflex.

The trailer, I think it's a 2004 Great Dane. We repainted it and everything.

No, it's not a working truck. I more or less done in memory of Jack and my daddy. Both of them drove trucks their whole life.

Here's the main part. That man right there, that man right there, is the two that got me started. Jack Hicks, he was like a second daddy to me. And then, my dad's over here. His name was Alex Burleson, went by Tom Cat on the radio.