T.A. Peterman purchased the Fageol Truck & Coach Company in 1939. The slang term for Fageol trucks had been “Bill-bilt” after W.H. Bill. After Peterman purchased the business, he changed the name of the company and the trucks became known as Peterbilt. He kept most of the design features of the Fageol trucks, but he did not keep the Fageol’s signature finned ventilators running down the top of the engine hood. The first trucks were 6X4 trucks specifically designed for logging. They were also used in mining, quarrying and the oil industry. The trucks had an extruded aluminum frame and used aluminum in the cabs, bumpers and wheels, which reduced the weight by some 1,500 pounds (steel trucks were also available). The trucks came with either a Waukesha, Cummins or Hall-Scott engine. Peterbilt released their first cabover design in 1952. The truck pictured here is the first model Peterbilt offered – a 1939 Model 334. Concentrating on quality, Peterbilt produced only 14 trucks that first year. Over the years, they became a major manufacturer of Class 6-8 trucks and acquired the label “Class of the Industry” for obvious reasons.
John & Shirley Sponholtz have been involved with old trucks for over 20 years. Shirley was editor at Wheels of Time for 12 years before going out on her own and starting Old Time Trucks magazine in 2004. John is an avid photographer who enjoys taking pictures of odd and/or rare trucks (he provides most of the pictures for this article and their magazine). John & Shirley, who are from Richmond, Indiana, have been regular contributors to 10-4 Magazine since 2006.