We often forget those important people in our lives that have helped us get where we have arrived. Laird “Spike” Fuller, however, is not one of those people. Spike’s truck “Ya Wanna…” is, before anything else, a testament to the many people who helped him get where he is today. Many people helped Spike build the amazing ride you see here, and for that, he is very grateful.
Born and raised around Denver, Colorado, Spike (35) has always been a driver at heart. Spike’s first lessons came from his father, teaching him to back boats into the reservoirs and lakes around Colorado as young as seven years old. Beyond this training, Spike is mostly a self-taught driver. Driving for 15 years now, Spike obtained his CDL when he was 20 years old and, shortly after that, got his first job at Mile-Hi Frozen Food out of Commerce City, CO. After spending six months as a hostler in their yard, Spike began running locally until a medical mishap (compounded by an incompetent manager) led Spike to leave the company. After bouncing around several other companies, Spike purchased his first (and only) truck in August of 1999 – a 1995 Peterbilt 379 (the one seen here) – and became an owner-operator.
Except for a two year hiatus after his engine self-destructed (the block developed a problem that could not be fixed) in 2002, Spike has always been an owner-operator. Operating as Spike Transportation, Inc. out of Broomfield, Colorado (a northern suburb of Denver), Spike has pulled lowboys, bull racks, end-dumps, walking floors, tankers, step decks and flatbeds, always following the money. In fact, leading up to the photo shoot, he was running through snow, mud and magnesium chloride hauling for the Climax Mine on the western-slope of the Rockies. With about 1.3 million miles already on the clock (Spike is responsible for about 900,000 of those miles), Spike and his rig have certainly worked pretty hard over the years.
And after all those miles, with dented fenders and oxidizing paint, the rig was starting to show its age. So, in early 2011, Spike decided that it was finally time to freshen up his tired old rig. Originally planning to shut down “Ya Wanna…” for about two months, the project quickly became a seven month long, full-blown rebuild of the truck.
Torn down to the cab, hood, rails and running gear, the truck was reworked inside and out. Painted a custom-mixed color called Lime Gold, the truck was extended from a 265-inch wheelbase to 295 inches. The truck also features a 2006 Unibilt stand-up sleeper that has been chopped 5.5 inches and has a completely reworked opening to fit the older cab. All of the doors, including the custom sleeper door on the passenger side (a non-OEM feature), have been shaved, rigged with door poppers and suicided. With the nose lowered four inches, the truck has a 20-inch tapered American Eagle bumper, drop front fenders, a billet one-piece grille with stainless surround, and double-round 359 headlights on Double JJ brackets. The truck also has a painted bowtie visor, thirteen “penny light” marker lights, custom-fabricated mirror brackets, 8.5-inch cab and sleeper drop panels and over 130 lights total on the truck. “Ya Wanna…” also features plenty of polished stainless including the step/battery boxes, the breathers and deep-drop half-fenders over the drives. Surprisingly, with so much done to the exterior the truck, it still has a very clean, if not subtle, look to it.
The interior of Spike’s rig is no less extravagant than the exterior, either. The Lime Gold color makes its way into the cab with a painted shift-tower, steering wheel and door panels. Much of the interior is covered with Brindle (a type of steer) hair-on-hide and tanned hide with doors, headliner, overhead console and visors covered in one or both. The truck took almost six full hides to cover the interior! The cab is outfitted with black leather Bostrom Wide Ride seats with tan stitching and accents, as well as stainless gauges and electric windows. Hidden underneath all that cowhide, the truck gets a quiet ride from three layers of PhatMat, which provides not only housing-grade insulation but also sound dampening. Undoubtedly, the interior is as detailed and wild as the exterior.
Getting down the road, the truck gets its “motivation” from a 3406E Cat that has been turned up to over 600 horsepower. Routed through an 18-speed spinning 3.25 rears, the truck sits on 24.5 low-profile rubber all the way around. And with 24.5 rubber and tall gears, “Ya Wanna…” certainly isn’t slow!
Currently single, much of what Spike does is about trucking. When he isn’t driving, Spike can typically be found tinkering on his truck or doing as much maintenance as he can handle. The times he manages to get away from trucks, though, he can be found riding his quad in the mud and dirt or looking after horses or other animals (especially pit bulls). Even with all the work done to the interior of Spike’s truck, his co-driver, a pit bull-boxer mix named Diamond, certainly won’t be excluded from riding along with him in the truck.
Spike isn’t one to ignore credit where it is due. Spike would like to thank his mom and dad, Joe Tolvo at Rush Peterbilt of Denver, Jimmy and Mickey from Interstate Turbo, Chris Acklam from Acklam Fabrications, Mike from The Lighthouse, Harold Hawkins, Jeff Barret, Rich Holden, Josh Cowdery, Johnny Vonslochteren, all the guys at Outlaw Customs in Henderson, Colorado, Michael Curtis (thanks for the stitches), Brody Mandeville, the boys at Vinny’s Design, and Gary and Sandy Disher. In Spike’s words, “Without all these people, this would still be a pipe dream.” From start to finish the project had its highs and lows, but with the help of his friends and family the truck is now a wild testimony to Spike’s success and hard work – and the contributions of all those previously listed. As proud as he is of “Ya Wanna…” he wants everyone to know its not just HIS blood and busted knuckles, but the efforts of many friends, family and professionals.
We at 10-4 Magazine would like to thank Spike for all his efforts and for taking time for us to do an interview and photo shoot with his freshly-rebuilt rig. We first learned about this truck when the rebuild project began and have been following it enthusiastically throughout. We knew that his truck would be a wild ride when finished, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Watch for it at the shows, as this truck has more than the first glance suggests. But, most of all, be sure to come up to Spike and say hello.
A good work ethic, success and the humility to acknowledge those who have helped us along the way are hallmarks of a straightforward man, and that’s who Laird “Spike” Fuller is. Spike’s attitude has led him down a path to success, and he (and his truck) have many more miles ahead of them. We at 10-4 wish Spike the best. And, as for the name, you can ask about that when you see him out on the road or at a show – if ya wanna!