Mafia Secrets – October 2020
A trip back in time
Bryan "Boss Man" Martin
Vintage iron. I can’t get enough of it. Seeing cool, old trucks like this makes me chuckle and takes me back to the days of growing up in the ’70s and ’80s. You know, when trucks were noisy, blew black smoke, wouldn’t turn sharp, rode rough and got 3.5 miles per gallon.
In thumbing through some old files and calendars, I ran across these photos and thought everyone might enjoy this nostalgic ol’ cabover. Take a look at Daniel Demaree’s 1980 Peterbilt 352 big bunk. He brought this rig to us several years ago for pretty much a full exterior makeover with a small focus on a few interior upgrades. He also asked us to make sure the drivetrain was roadworthy.
Demaree has a neat story pertaining to how things transpired and he ended up purchasing this cabover. He had rode to Missouri with a buddy of his, actually planning on looking at a later model 362 Pete with the big windshield and the three wiper arms.
After they arrived to inspect the 362, his riding buddy fell in love with it and ended up buying it. The seller of the 362 also had this particular truck sitting out back and told Demaree that it was for sale and encouraged him to check it out. After a quick look and some negotiating, Demaree became the owner of the truck featured here today.
When we got ahold of it, it was pretty much an old average-condition truck that had undoubtedly been sitting for quite some time. The Chrome Shop Mafia crew sent it uptown to one of our affiliate shops to have the engine resealed and tuned-up and for a general roadworthiness check.
It may come as a surprise, but this truck is equipped with an 8V92 Detroit Diesel – the old V8 diesel launched by Detroit back in the day. They were known for having decent pulling power, but also famous for leaking oil excessively and being a bit more temperamental than the Cummins six-cylinder diesel that was far more popular in this era.
Once we got the truck back, it was stripped down, prepped and repainted in these eye-catching colors with a classic stripe job that really worked well for the finished look Demaree was wanting. The frame of the truck was stretched to give it the “all-business” stance and to smooth out the ride.
Starting at the front, a 20-inch bumper and a one-off custom sun visor gave the truck some attitude. The battery cover was replaced with a custom stainless one, the fuel tanks were fully polished out, an awesome looking set of 7-inch straight pipes and a 7-inch intake pipe were erected behind the cab, and a pair of Hogebuilt half-fenders went on the truck with custom hidden mounting brackets. Our fabrication shop created a one-off deck plate and sunburst underframe panels as well as a sunburst pattern rear taillight panel. As mentioned, we dolled up the interior, accessorized the dash, put in a respectable sound system, and dropped in two new seats.
Demaree’s home base for his trucking company is in the Jamestown, Ind., area. Today, he mostly keeps the ol’ 352 in the shed, and occasionally hauls a load of hay or cattle with it to keep it limbered up. He has built up quite an operation these days, with 10 units of his own and several more owner-ops pulling his trailers hauling cattle and pig throughout 10 to 12 states around Indiana.
Like all good family men, he wanted to make sure his wife, Tayler, and all three kids – Hayden, Bristol and Huxley – got a big shout out and thank you for putting up with his trucking lifestyle, which is often stressful and demanding and causes him to be tied up and unavailable far too often.
I gotta say, we really enjoyed Daniel and getting to know him and his family during this fun truck build. The shop crew does occasionally like to work on trucks other than 379s and W900Ls.
I quizzed Demaree on what advice he would give a newbie trucker wanting to get started in the livestock hauling business.
“Be prepared mentally and physically to run,” he said. “This gig is 24/7 and 365 (days a year) and is a far cry from an 8-to-5 city job. To build a reputable track record in this line of work, you must be dedicated to the cause and that’s what gets customers to call you back time after time.” LL