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Peterbilt marks 75th anniversary

Peterbilt was founded in 1939 by T.A. Peterman manufacturing specialized, heavy-duty trucks out of Oakland, Calif. Largely a regional brand in its early years, the company experienced steady growth, quickly going from producing dozens to hundreds of vehicles.

The Trucker News Services

1/17/2014

DENTON, Texas – In 2014, Peterbilt celebrates 75 years of innovation and excellence with commemorative events throughout the year that include a North American tour with a specialized anniversary trailer, a limited-edition Model 579 and numerous other activities.

“Peterbilt consistently sets higher standards for its products and services. It’s a 75-year tradition of excellence and innovation that has established expectations with an uncompromising focus to deliver the highest levels of quality, customer satisfaction and reward on investment,” said Darrin Siver, Peterbilt General Manager and PACCAR Vice President. “This is a milestone event for our company and its customers, employees, dealers and suppliers. We will mark it with a range of events and activities honoring our storied past and exciting future.”

Peterbilt was founded in 1939 by T.A. Peterman manufacturing specialized, heavy-duty trucks out of Oakland, Calif. Largely a regional brand in its early years, the company experienced steady growth, quickly going from producing dozens to hundreds of vehicles.

The company was acquired by PACCAR Inc, then called Pacific Car & Foundry, in 1958, and the manufacturing was relocated to Newark, Calif. in 1960. That decade the company’s truck output, market share and distribution network grew significantly. Peterbilt opened a new, second plant in Madison, Tenn. in 1969 to meet demand and better serve its customers from coast to coast.

In 1980, a new manufacturing facility opened in Denton, Texas, a city where the company eventually consolidated its entire operations and is now its headquarters. Today, the stat-of-the-art plant can produce more than 160 vehicles daily in numerous custom-built configurations for on-highway and vocational markets. Additionally, Peterbilt Class 6-7 trucks are manufactured in Ste. Therese, Quebec, and the proprietary PACCAR Engine lineup is produced in Columbus, Miss. Vehicles are distributed through a network of Peterbilt dealerships with more than 290 locations throughout the U.S. and Canada.

“Throughout its history, Peterbilt strove to serve the needs of customers with a diverse lineup of custom built trucks that served specific business and market needs,” said Landon Sproull, Peterbilt Chief Engineer. “Today our comprehensive offerings of Class 5-8 vehicles help our customers achieve success in the on-highway, vocational and medium duty markets. Our focus on designing vehicles with superior fuel efficiency, low maintenance requirements, leading longevity and unparalleled performance sets Peterbilt apart from the competition. It’s part of a proud tradition we carry on today stronger than ever.”

Sproull notes that Peterbilt’s two newest vehicles – the aerodynamic Model 579 and the vocational Model 567 – represent the company’s most rigorous, significant investment in product development in its 75 year history.

Limited Edition Model 579

One of those new vehicles will be offered as a special anniversary truck. The 75th Anniversary Edition Model 579 will be available for order through all full-service Peterbilt dealerships.

“It’s a truly unique tribute to both Peterbilt past and future,” said Robert Woodall, Peterbilt Director of Sales and Marketing. “It combines the Model 579’s advanced technologies, distinctive styling and state-of-the-art aerodynamics with numerous accents and details honoring the original 1939 Peterbilt.”

Among the many features of the Model 579 75th Anniversary Edition are:

• Individually numbered with limited production

• Exclusive 75th anniversary emblems on the sleeper exterior

• Highly polished hood crown surrounding a grille with a new oval design reminiscent of Peterbilt’s heritage

• Chrome-finished, three-piece steel bumper

• Bright sunvisor, side air intake bezels and rearview mirror housing

• Optional two-tone paint design with exclusive Diamond Red color evocative of the original Peterbilt model

• Exclusive bright rocker panels that complement the anniversary paint design

• Anniversary logoed mud flaps affixed with stainless-steel hangers

• Exclusive Platinum Titanium interior that creates an integrated design theme through the cab and sleeper with a dark dash top, door pads and sleeper cabinets with blackwood trim and complimentary colored carpet

• Anniversary dash emblem which includes the unique production number of the truck

• Multi-function steering wheel leather wrapped with custom stitching

• Exclusive black leather Evolution LX seats embroidered with the anniversary logo on the headrest

• Interior bright accents such as anniversary logoed shifter plate with polished shift lever and blackwood knob (manual transmissions only); gauge bezels; chrome interior door handle; and chrome billet throttle, clutch and brake pedals

Anniversary Tour

Throughout 2014 Peterbilt will celebrate its anniversary with thousands of customers. A special edition Model 579 with a museum on wheels will visit Peterbilt dealerships and industry events. The museum is a converted trailer filled with displays, historic artifacts and interactive kiosks.

“It’s important to bring the celebration where it matters most – to our customers and our dealers. The anniversary trailer will be of significant interest and enjoyment for every Peterbilt enthusiast,” said Siver. “As it tours North America, there will be ample opportunity for customers to not only learn about Peterbilt history, but also our flagship Model 579 which will be hauling the trailer.”

 Among the many features in the trailer are an original 1939 Peterbilt crown and grille, timeline of significant company vehicles and achievements, interactive displays, and hands-on examples showcasing Peterbilt products and technologies.

History Book

A coffee-table style book will be published and available for sale online during the first quarter.

At nearly 250 pages, the hardcover book provides readers with a comprehensive overview on the evolution of the company, photos and facts about landmark models, profiles of customers and a section on Peterbilt’s leading brand. The book includes many photos preserving Peterbilt’s past and showcasing its present and future.

“It will be a welcome edition to any Peterbilt fan’s library. Whether it’s on a bookshelf or in a sleeper, it will provide readers with hours of enjoyment,” said Woodall. “It’s a significant reference resource, as well as an easy read that is meant to be savored and picked up again and again.”

Marking the Milestone

In addition, Woodall said Peterbilt will mark its anniversary with many other activities throughout the year, including:

• Peterbilt trivia contests, with prizes, conducted through social media

• Several anniversary videos showcasing both historic and present aspects of the company

• A special merchandise collection available for retail online and at Peterbilt dealerships

“There are few companies in any industry that can mark a 75-year milestone with the same mission, integrity, passion and devotion from when it began,” Siver said. “Let alone one that has achieved the success, loyalty and continual innovation that Peterbilt has. We are thankful to the hundreds of thousands of people past and present who helped Peterbilt become the class of the industry. In partnership with our customers, employees, dealers and suppliers, we look forward to reaching even greater heights during the many years ahead.” 

Based in Denton, Texas, Peterbilt Motors Company combines a global reputation for industry leading design, innovative engineering and fuel efficiency solutions, with superior quality to engineer a truck that stands as the “Class” of the industry. Through its 290-plus North American dealer locations, Peterbilt also provides a comprehensive array of aftermarket support programs to complement its full lineup of on-highway, vocational and medium duty products, including alternative fuel vehicles. Customers enjoy industry leading service and support, including preventive maintenance plans, expedited QuickCare services, automated parts inventory replenishment and 24/7 complimentary Customer Assistance through (800) 4-Peterbilt. For more information about Peterbilt, visit www.peterbilt.com.

Peterbilt is a PACCAR Company, traded publicly on the NASDAQ as PCAR.

The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at editor@thetrucker.com.

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