Michael Sulley is a straightforward guy who speaks in simple, direct terms. If he likes something, he says so – and if he doesn’t, he doesn’t hesitate to speak up. Michael Sulley operates Sulley and Sons Enterprises, an equipment sales and service business and trucking company out of Brighton, Colorado. Dealing in construction equipment as well as trucks and trailers day to day, Michael knows the value of things, but the truck pictured here, built in memory of his father, is likely his most valuable piece of iron.
Sulley and Sons Enterprises began in 1980 as Sulley Enterprises by Michael’s father, Lon Sulley. Lon had driven trucks since 1964 at the young age of 14. In 1981, when his son Michael was born, Lon changed the name to Sulley and Son Enterprises, and then again to Sulley and Sons Enterprises in 1990 when Paul, Michael’s younger brother, was born. Since 1996, the company has also been a machinery sales and service company. From trucks and trailers to loaders and dozers, even fire trucks, you can find it all for sale in the Sulley yard.
The 1967 Peterbilt pictured here (named “Born to Boogie”) was bought by Lon to restore and use to haul his collection of John Deere tractors around. Unfortunately, Lon would never see the truck finished. On November 21, 2007, Lon and his wife Wanda, along with their son Paul, were driving to work on a snowy morning the day before Thanksgiving when a car slid and struck them head on. The crash killed Lon immediately and severely injured Wanda, who spent the next two weeks in the hospital. Paul was lucky enough to walk away from the accident with only minor injuries. The car that hit them was being driven by an illegal immigrant, who only sustained a broken leg in the crash. The immigrant was arrested, spent a year in jail, and was then deported back to Mexico. Given the severity of the results from this person’s actions, the sentence was not enough.
After Lon’s death, it was decided to complete his 1967 Peterbilt as a rolling memorial to him, and it is an amazing memorial at that. Featuring a 350-inch wheelbase, the long tractor has some amazing features, but still retains the classic look of an old needle-nose Pete. Painted a bright yellow, similar to the yellow used on John Deere tractors, the truck features a stainless steel 24-inch bumper and 8-inch exhaust with Pickett elbows, WTI full rear fenders (painted to match), and a smooth stainless steel deck plate. Other features include a stainless rear bumper, polished toolboxes on the passenger side and a single, large fuel tank on the driver’s side. The truck also has a highly-polished grille surround, a bowtie visor, dual air horns and strapless air cleaners. The custom-built 144-inch sleeper features a television, a hardwood floor, closets and a sink.
Power for “Born to Boogie” comes from a strong 3406B Cat, rated at 425 hp and 1,850 foot-pounds of torque. The Cat pushes its power through a 13-speed Fuller with a 4-speed Brownie behind, and 3.73 ratio 44,000-pound Eaton rears. This mechanical Cat is a real smoker, but you won’t see the truck for long, because it can seriously get up and move.
Sulley’s beautiful rig also features various murals throughout the truck. Among these is a mural of Lon, tractors from his collection, and the truck being loaded with some tractors on the back of the sleeper. Most trucks would look busy with murals everywhere on them, but the length and size of the sleeper keeps the truck looking clean, even with several large paintings on the sides.
Michael Sulley has been involved in trucking as long as he can remember, having learned to drive a truck with his father. In 1999, he obtained his CDL and started driving. Michael, however, can drive equipment far beyond a truck – his father taught him how to drive just about anything with an engine and wheels (maybe even a few things that don’t even have wheels). Michael’s younger brother Paul also drives for the company, having learned the business much the same way as his older brother did.
Sulley and Sons is a family owned and operated company. Michael handles the majority of the buying and selling of equipment at Sulley. In fact, when the photo shoot was over, he had to rush back to the yard to finish disassembling a Caterpillar grader for shipment to Japan. Michael’s mother, Wanda, handles most of the bookkeeping at Sulley, while Michael’s wife Janet handles all of the advertising duties for the company (she also helps Wanda with the bookkeeping). Michael’s younger brother Paul is the mechanic for Sulley and Sons.
When Michael isn’t driving his 1996 Peterbilt 379 or buying and selling, the family enjoys going to tractor pulls, having five pull vehicles themselves. Among them are a modified 1976 Pete 359 called “Blue Mule”, a Chevy S10 with a 2,600 horsepower blown alcohol motor named “Ragin’ Thunder”, a 1,600 horsepower Chevy Silverado known as “Blue Thunder”, and another Chevy Silverado called “Heatwave”. Michael is also working on a puller which will be a fiberglass-bodied Ford Model T. Moving these toys around is largely handled by a 2005 Freightliner Coronado motor home. Beyond these cool vehicles, Michael also has a blue 9000-model Ford dump truck that he takes to truck shows, as well as a 1979 Kenworth W900A show truck.
Michael and the Sulley family would like to thank Steve Wolfe, owner of Diversified Truck Repair and Joel Earwood, who did much of the work on the truck. They also would like to thank Allen, Alex and Andy Gobel at Outlaw Customs in Henderson, CO for being instrumental in building the big yellow truck. The Sulley family would also like to thank their many customers who come back time after time for their new and used heavy equipment. But, most of all, they would like to thank all of their family and friends for standing by them and supporting them since losing Lon.
We at 10-4 Magazine would like to thank Michael and his family for taking time out of their busy schedules for us to have a great photo shoot. The truck may be long and low, but they were game to put it just about anywhere, and we thank them for that. “Born to Boogie” is a wild machine with incredible features, but most of all it is a rolling memorial for Lon Sulley – a man who meant the world to so many people and who was a truck driver through and through. Lon was able to instill a great work ethic into his son Michael and gave him the skills to step in and run a company as big as Sulley and Sons. It is a tremendous memorial for a tremendous man, and we look forward to seeing it time and time again out there at the shows.