This month’s “Show-On-The-Road” has yet to see any “road” but it certainly is a “show” wherever it goes. And although this Peterbilt 362 cabover is a freshly-finished build, it has been “under construction” in the owner’s mind since the day he was born! Alex Duquette was born (in 1971) into a family that really had nothing to do with the trucking industry, but Alex has had a love for cabover trucks naturally occurring in his blood for as long as he can remember – for whatever reason! Building this “irreplaceable” truck was a lifelong dream come true for Alex, but the road along the way was not always smooth.
When Alex was a kid, he loved to draw trucks. At eight years old, Alex decided that drawing trucks just wasn’t enough, so he and his dog ran away from his family’s home in Medford, Oregon and made their way down to the Delta Lines truck shop in town. Alex tied his bicycle up behind one of their International COEs and hopped up inside! Oh, and let’s not forget the dog – Alex also lifted his dog up into the cab, as well. Even though Alex never mustered up enough courage to actually fire the truck up, he still ended up getting into a fair amount of trouble once he and his dog were discovered.
Around the age of nine, Alex was still spending the majority of his days drawing trucks, primarily Peterbilt cabovers. Alex’s father couldn’t help but notice how deep his son’s passion ran when it came to his love for trucks, so he and Alex presented a poster-sized drawing of a cool Pete 352 cabover that Alex had drawn to the local Peterbilt dealer. The dealership proudly displayed Alex’s poster, smack in the middle of their showroom, for many years. When Alex was ten, Peterbilt introduced the model 362 cabover and that was when Alex’s lifelong passion became his life’s mission – to someday own and build one of these awesome rides.
Needless to say, Alex’s dream sort of got sidetracked, for the most part, throughout his teenage years. Thankfully, his father Duke was there beside him, step by step, to remind Alex to never lose sight of his dreams. Now if anybody knew how to follow a dream, it was Alex’s father Duke. When Alex was in his early 20’s, he was fortunate to have been able to accompany his father on a sail boat trip around the world – yes, around the world. And not only did they both experience what few get to do, but Duke went on to write and publish a book about his years of worldwide travels. It was probably inevitable that Duke’s free-spirited personality and inspiration would rub off on his son – and it sure did. The culmination of all those carefully-placed hopes, dreams and inspirational moments can be seen on these pages here now!
In October of 2002, Alex set out to begin his dream with $4,000 dollars in his pocket and a lot of energy. It did not take him long to find what he was looking for, and $3,250 later, his journey began. In the beginning, this 1991 Peterbilt COE was in rough shape and looked nothing like it does now (see photo of white truck with Alex’s dad standing on the back), but that didn’t slow Alex down. Once he and his father got the rig home, they took turns working on it and driving it (just around town for fun), though neither one of them had ever even driven a truck in their lives (or had the proper licensing). In a way, it seemed that Duke had brought Alex along for the ride while living his dream, and in a special father-son sort of way, Alex was now returning the favor by including his dad in his project. And it really doesn’t get any better than that folks!
Unfortunately, most dreams have some bumps along the way, and in Alex’s case, it was no different – but his “bump” was more like a bridge collapse! His father Duke passed away in 2003 only about a year after Alex bought the truck. This huge loss put Alex and his life in a tail-spin. Alex moved back home to Medford (from Eugene) and rented a small concrete RV pad from a friend to park his Pete. It is an understatement to say that this was a tough year for Alex, but at least he had a roof over his head – it was the roof of this old truck! Alex called this truck and the RV pad that it sat on home for a while until he found himself back on his feet again. Shortly after that, he began his new career as a truck salesman at Tech Equipment in Medford, Oregon.
By the time 2005 rolled around, Alex was back on his feet in a big way, and was finally able to bring his 362 dream ride back up to the front burner of his to-do list. No longer being his home address, he started the long journey of rebuilding this beauty. Alex knew that he wanted the frame stretched and the rear suspension switched from standard Air-Leaf over to a Low Air-Leaf setup, so those were the first few things he did. The cab, on the other hand, was a whole new challenge! The body repair shop told Alex that he would be much better off replacing the entire cab, but Alex wasn’t going to even think about doing that – in his words, “This is the cab that my father and I spent many unforgettable times in.” Those moments in his life, like the cab of this old truck, were irreplaceable, and they would not (or could not) ever be replaced.
Today, this clean Peterbilt 362, powered by a 3406 Cat and a 13-speed transmission, sits nice and low and has a “sanitary” look. During the cab’s rebuild, done by Bill Abernethy, it got new rear windows and a new rear skin. The 110-inch cab sits well atop the stretched frame, which also has a few added custom touches. A custom rear light bar, which was built by Alex himself, wraps up the truck’s rear-end in killer fashion. Alex also added a fully hydraulic cab lifting system, powered by the turn of a key and the push of a button, which is nicely hidden inside of a dummy battery box located under the truck’s passenger-side door.
It is safe to say that Alex’s lifelong dream has naturally became a reflection of the most valuable parts of his life. We here at 10-4 can’t thank Alex enough for sharing his life, and his dream, with us. We can’t wait to see this truck out on the road and at upcoming shows, no doubt turning heads wherever it goes. Thank you, Alex, and congratulations for completing your life’s mission of building a cool Peterbilt 362 cabover. We are sure that your dad is watching you from above, proud of what you have accomplished, and looking forward to taking many rides in it with you – whether you see him or not.