'It came with work': CAP Trucking's flagship 2003 Peterbilt 379

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Updated Mar 7, 2023
Chris Porricellie's 2003 Peterbilt 379
CAP Trucking operator Vladimir Lugos has been using the spare rig in company owner Chris Porricelli's fleet the past couple of days for a few local multi-drop LTL reefer runs. The rig, a 2003 Peterbilt 379 shown backing its way into Porricelli's shop, has a unique origin story in the Florida-headquartered small fleet.

Just a few months ago, CAP Trucking owner Chris Porricelli had the beginnings of the shop building you see here put in his backyard near Orlando, Florida, just next to a fence that once separated the yard from orange groves that were still operational and producing when the house was built there. Overdrive's 2022 3-10-truck division Small Fleet Champ and I spent a good bit of time together here yesterday catching up on big moves that are in the offing for him (more on those later), all of it a testament to the owner's drive and clear skill in building, managing and maintaining business with his customers and a core group of company drivers and leased owners. 

Porricelli purchased the 6NZ Cat-powered 2003 Peterbilt 379 in the pictures here in 2017, and in the six years since, it's built "a lot of history" with his business as it's grown, he said.  

Porricelli assisting driver to back into his shop buildingWhen he bought the truck, "it was being sold with the truck, trailer, bulkhead and pallet jack and with the southbound load with it" out of Pennsylvania, he said. That's right, "it came with work, and I made the deal." Porricelli is shown here assisting operator Vladimir Lugos as he backed toward the building's open bay door.

2003 peterbilt 379That southbound LTL load was one consolidated by Dutchland Refrigerated, and it would ultimately "open up the whole avenue with Seth Perry" at the company, Porricelli said. Regular readers will recall Perry from this story diving headlong into Porricelli's full history as part of last year's Small Fleet Champ program.

Porricelli noted a father-son operation at the time were selling two tractors and reefer trailers in preparation to "get out of the reefer game and into dump trucks," he said. 

379 in the barnThat father-son duo didn't end up sticking with dump work for long, and the former owner, “probably since the day he sold” this 379, Porricelli said, has regretted it. “He’s been trying to buy it back from me" even in recent times. "I just told him, 'You would have stood a chance if the white one was still here.'" That's a reference to CAP Trucking's former flagship, stolen some years ago now, a story Porricelli told in detail in the Overdrive Radio podcast at this link.

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It's a beauty, and comes in handy when, like this day, another truck is down. Lugos, whose wife, Desiree, dispatches for CAP, typically hauls in a blue 2019 Peterbilt 389, shown in one of the pictures at this link. That unit was out of commission for the day, getting a new water pump and some electrical work at the in-house shop of nearby JT Carriers in Sorrento, which also offers services to outside owners like Porricelli via its America Fleet Services business.

2003 379's dash"It’s hard to find trucks this cool now for a reasonable price," Porricelli said of what's now something of a CAP Trucking flagship, and his personal truck. All the more reason to hang onto the unit -- shown is the unit's steering wheel and dressed-up dash.

More interior views of the 2003 379This view shows the overhead dome light, Bostrom seats and interior paneling.

Since adding the building at his home base, owner-operators leased with CAP have made early moves on projects -- including a still-boxed set of stacks that sat on the floor while I was there. Porricelli's looking ahead in the coming weeks to adding electrical, lighting and a big fan to keep the air moving in the space. 

Chris Porricelli and JoJoHere's a big personal thanks to Chris for his hospitality. He's pictured here by the pool at his place with his former ridealong dog from the days he himself was over-the-road consistently, JoJo. It's clear to me, at least, judging by how many times the pup followed us back to shop building after the rig was in there: JoJo's got the diesel in his blood, no doubt.

chris porricelli

[Related: A stolen truck, a freight scam lead a big re-evaluation on the road to small fleet success]