'Stupid Money': Andrew Pagels' 1972 Peterbilt 359 features vintage 42-inch Double Eagle sleeper

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Andrew Pagels, owner of Franksville, Wisconsin-based Richard Pagels Trucking, grew up riding in trucks with his father, Richard, in the late-1960s and early ‘70s. During that time, his favorite truck model was the Peterbilt 359, and he always knew he wanted to own one at some point.

About three years ago, he got a chance to buy a 1972 model and, though it was at the height of the pandemic when parts costs were at their peak, he knew he needed to jump on the opportunity.

His initial plan was to fix up the classic enough to put it to work in his tanker-hauling business. “It wasn’t intended to be a show truck,” he said. “It evolved into a show truck” during the build process as more parts started coming together.

The rebuild took about 2.5 years, he said. By the time it all came together, “it’s like, ‘Hey, this is good enough to go to Louisville,’” to enter it into the PKY Truck Beauty Championship at the Mid-America Trucking Show.

Andrew Pagels MATS trophyIt turns out that was the right call, as Pagels and the rig picked up a third-place trophy in the Limited Mileage -- Bobtail with Miles class.Video and photos by Lawson Rudisill

Those pandemic parts prices led to the truck getting its nickname, “Stupid Money.” When Pagels was calling around to shops to find parts, he’d hang up the phone and say something to the effect of, “Everything’s so much stupid money.” His wife picked up on it and told him that should be the name of the truck, and it stuck.

Most everything was replaced during the rebuild, including the wiring, hoses, valves and more. It’s “all new front to back,” Pagels said. 

Cat 3406C in Andrew Pagels' 1972 Peterbilt 359The 3406C Cat, 18-speed transmission and 3.42 rears were also rebuilt.

One of the most notable features on the truck is the 42-inch Double Eagle sleeper that Pagels found for sale during the rebuild. He called the owner and ensured him that the classic sleeper was going to be put to good use.

Interior of Andrew Pagels' 1972 Peterbilt 359Ken Johnson, who helped build and paint most of the truck along with a few others, built a whole new dash so they could add electric windshield wipers and other features that wouldn’t fit behind a ’72-model dash. The rest of the interior was done by Inside Rides.

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“I’m really pleased with the turnout on it,” Pagels noted.

Even after all the work put into it, the truck will still be more than just a show truck. Pagels said it’s going to be his “summertime ride” hauling chemicals, flammables, combustibles and more. “No winters for this one,” he said.

Double Eagle sleeper on Andrew Pagels' 1972 Peterbilt 359The iconic Double Eagle sleeper is the so-called cherry on top of the impressive 359.

[Related: MATS 'Build-Off': Kenworth K100 cabover restomod]


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Transcript

This transcript is AI-generated.

Andrew Pagels: This is a truck that always inspired me back when I was a little kid. So three years ago I found one, we started building it. It evolved into a show truck. Pretty soon it's like, “Hey, this is good enough to go to Louisville.

Andrew Pagels, Richard Pagels Trucking out of Franksville, Wisconsin. We pull tankers, haul chemicals, flammables, combustibles, corrosives and such.

Well, when I was a little kid, I'd go with my dad and one of his friends' trucks with a little window, and I was small at that time. It was late ‘60s, early ‘70s. My mom would drop me off and I'd go ride with them, and I thought that was the coolest truck. And over time, someday I was going to get a ‘72, and now I got one.

It's a ‘72 359 extended hood. It's got a 3406 Cat motor, C, 18-speed tranny 3.42 rears, 261-inch wheel bath. I found a 42 inch Double Eagle off the East Coast with gentleman named Chris. I've kept him informed and sent him pictures and it's like, “oh, went to a good home.”

Don't have a stitch of old wire in it. Don't have a stitch of old holes or valves. It's all new, front to back, motor rebuilt. Tranny is new, rear ends rebuilt. We covered everything with it. Basically about two and a half years took to build it. It was a lot of work. It was a lot of work. The interior was done by inside Rides. They did a great job.

The dash, put electric windshield wipers in. You couldn't do it in the old ultra cab without being able to close the dash pod. So Ken, it was like, well, we'll make it work. We'll just build a whole new dash and it's really a replica with a little extra bling to it. Moved out three inches and down three and a half inches. Got rid of all the mechanicals as far as AC and heat.

I was calling for parts on it one day and get off the phone. I said, man, because it wasn't the right time to build a truck because everything cost-wise was times two, sometimes times three, and good luck trying to get it. So I was making some phone calls. I get off the phone and I had say, “everything's so much damn stupid money.” And then about an hour later, my wife says, “Hey, I figured out a name for your truck.” And I was like, “really? What's that.”

“Stupid Money.” It's like, yeah, it is. It fit really well.

The builder I had on it, he worked two years pretty much nonstop and I owe him a lot of credit. If you look at the board, I'm all about giving the right people credit that made this thing happen. It's not about me. I mean, believe me, my crew, my sons and myself, we put a lot of time and effort into it too. Somebody comes up and says, beautiful job. I point at Ken tell him that because the one that built it, painted it. And there's just a mirage of people to get a truck to this point. Very grateful.

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