Early Peterbilt 589 custom builds: Twin 2024 models from custom shop Semi Casual

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Updated Jun 2, 2024

From the site of the Large Cars & Guitars truck show in Kodak, Tennessee, early in May, Brian Bourke of the Fitzgerald Peterbilt-affiliated custom shop Semi Casual walked us through these twin builds meant to showcase "the new 589 and the possibilities with them," when it comes to customization, he said. It's a brand-new model, of course, with the first units rolling out of the Peterbilt factory last year and replacing the now-retired classic Model 389.

Among custom rig enthusiasts and diehard Peterbilt fans, "everybody's like, 'Oh no, they changed the truck,'" Bourke said. Yet with this pair, Semi Casual offers examples of "two different styles," future 589 owners might take to make the truck their own.

2024 Peterbilt 589 custom build by Semi CasualWith the orange unit, Bourke and company focused largely outside and around the cab, to mimic in some ways the more classic look of a flattop 389.All photos by Todd Dills

The orange rig's powered by a 565-hp Cummins with an 18 speed, and extensive exterior mods here include a hidden DEF tank, sleeper bags and shocks hidden at the back of the flattop and a custom-built deckplate "so the back's real clean looking," he said, among many other mods for a full-custom approach.

Fuel tanks, side steps on orange 2024 589"We actually lowered the fuel tanks down an inch just to make the truck look a little bit lower," and shortened the width of the steps, putting "the air tanks on top of them like the traditional 389 would have."

389-esque visor on 2024 Peterbilt 589The visor, noticeably hinged at the center, nods to the old two-piece windshield, now a piece of history.

With the second, black 2024 Peterbilt 589, exterior mods were much less extensive.

Black painted 2024 Peterbilt 589And the visor follows the curve of the new 589's windshield.

It's powered by a 605-hp Cummins with 2,050 lb.-ft. of torque and an 18 speed. It was a stand-up cab, or Ultra Cab, when Semi Casual took delivery of it.

Unlike the fairly stock treatment inside the orange 589, outfitted just with adds that are mostly from Peterbilt's Genuine Accessories line, the interior of the black 589 is a thing to behold. Here's a taste:

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Catch more in the video at the top and and in a Semi Casual video of the truck included with the Overdrive Radio podcast from early this week.

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Final motivation for Semi Casual with the builds? Developing parts that the company could duplicate for new owners and offer for sale, of course, in support of customers' own projects. Browse those and much more via the Semi Casual website.

[Related: Peterbilt's new Model 589 and 389 'genuine accessories' packages, in pictures]

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Brian Bourke: The biggest thing is we wanted to build these trucks and bring something out at Mid-America and at these truck shows so people could see the new 589 and the possibilities with them. It is a brand new model so when it comes out everybody's like, oh no, they changed the truck. People have reservations about what it could be. And I think with these two trucks we kind of did two different styles out of them and someone can see and say, oh, you know what? I like that. It looks good.

My name is Brian Burke. I'm with Semi Casual and Fitzgerald Peterbilt. This one we just added chrome, so it's got chrome shifter plate, shifters, pedals, chrome handles and stuff, but otherwise it's pretty stock, and these are all factory Peterbilt genuine accessories. We did this one, so if a person wanted to see like, Hey, if I just want to order some stuff out of the Peterbilt book, this is what you could do. As far as the exterior of the trucks, we did a lot.

So particularly on this orange truck, we did a hidden DEF tank. We took the sleeper bags and the shocks and the pan hard bar and hit everything under the sleeper. And so the back's real clean looking. You don't see any of that stuff. We actually lowered the fuel tanks down an inch just to make the truck look a little bit lower. Painted those, we changed the boxes out under the doors so they're a smaller box. The trucks from the factory come with a box that's about six inches longer, so we shortened those up and then put the air tanks on top of 'em like the traditional 389 would have something that they don't offer the factory and then made a longer cowl panel. Again, it kind of made the truck look a little bit longer just painting everything to match. We painted the chassis with the base clear and a flush-mount deck plate did Shift fenders on it, visors, cab sleeper panels and a lot of that stuff.

And when we built these trucks, all of these parts and these trucks are all one-off parts. These are the first ones made for a 589 as they came out before we could take 'em to Mid-America, which now we actually have them for sale.

565 Cummins with 18 speed trans 3.37 gears. Full lockers in the rear. The orange truck is a 280-inch wheelbase and the black and red truck is a 295-inch wheelbase. The black truck is a 605, 2050 torque. When we first got this truck, it was a standup cab. Standup sleeper or ultra cab, and so the roof cap on the truck, it was substantially higher than it is now and we wanted to have a truck and present a truck for people to look at that mimicked more of the old style. For the longest time I always wanted to build, me and Tommy both wanted to build a flattop cab, standup sleeper 389, which when this one came in it was like, here's a perfect opportunity, we can do it. Let's do it with this truck and it'll be the first one in the country that's done that way in a 589, which once we got done with it, it really kind of gave the truck a hot rod look and obviously we changed the front suspension on it, got the truck lower to the ground and then we've just been kind of painting stuff black and painting things red and trying to have something that's kind of a hot rod.

So we basically pulled the entire interior out. We pulled the dash out, we completely deconstructed the dash. All these panels come out so all your wood grain pieces come off, your silver pieces come off, you have to take the chrome out of these things.

They're not exactly made to take apart, so we took 'em apart the way we wanted to and then painted everything and where you had texture where all the tan and gray stuff was textured. So we would sand that down, then do a layer of primer, sand that down, do another layer of primer, then paint it and it makes it slick like the paint job is on the outside of the truck. And then we made some new insert panels with the black and red stitching to kind of carry the theme. And essentially what we're doing is just trying to make the truck interior just all black and red with a little bit of chrome. We want to have two trucks and be able to show people two different ways you can do a truck. Obviously the orange truck has a lot of features and stuff that are pretty one off custom things.

I say one-off, we actually sell those parts now, but this one was if you didn't want to change your boxes and you wanted to build the truck and keep it looking more close to how it comes from the factory in terms of the accessories, we just did stainless boxes that are the same size as the factory. We left the DEF tank exposed, painted the fuel tanks and whatnot, did cab sleeper panels and breather lights. And we changed the mirror brackets on it, but we even kept the rear chassis at this point in time is still the factory red paint. We didn't paint the chassis on that truck yet. Everything on the black truck is a lot of it is essentially like a bolt-on thing. So the person can take those parts and put them on a truck and you don't have to do any wild modifications.

The factory mirror brackets have a brace that goes down the center in between here and then, so your mirror is actually on another pivot this way. So what we essentially did is this is just a one single hoop and we took the mirrors that you would get on a 389 and the mirror is a little bit smaller, a little cleaner look. And so we use 389 mirrors and wired them into the truck. Some people might say you're crazy for doing that. The factory mirrors on the 589s are really nice because they can, from inside you can adjust them up and down left and right. And when you've got a 389 mirror like this, you've only got left and right. But the traditional guys, they're used to that. It was like we're wanted to take some pieces.

Our website, semi casual show.com, that's like our YouTube channel. Me and Tommy do a ton of videos on all the builds and document how to do things to there's how to install advisor and how to change headlights. Just different things people can learn about trucks. And then just full videos on the builds we're doing. And so all of that and some of the parts that we make are on the website that people can go to.