This month’s cool “creation” was built for the Jansen family, owners of Gravel ‘N Grit, a trucking company based in Ramona, CA. The world is full of nice people, and the Jansens fit that bill to a tee. With three generations involved in the company, they have always tried to do the best they can with what they have, and always do their absolute best for their customers. For this, they have earned a great reputation.
Mike & Janean Jansen started the company when their son Brad (now 47) was still a teenager. Back then, they had just one motor grader and a water truck. The first truck they ever bought was a 1972 KW transfer. At one point, Mike got sick and had to spend some time in the hospital, and while he was away, Brad ran the old transfer (and the rest of the company), even though he wasn’t quite “legal” to do so, yet.
To thank his son for his hard work, while still in the hospital, Mike ordered Brad a brand new 1988 Peterbilt transfer. Later, when they realized what the insurance would cost for Brad to run that new truck, the deal changed – Brad got stuck with the old KW and dad got to drive the new Peterbilt.
Over time, the company grew to nine trucks. Back then, their main specialty was high-quality plaster sand, and their sand ended up being used in places like the San Diego Zoo, Sea World, and numerous other local businesses in and around San Diego, CA. Currently, the company has five trucks and they are still distributors of this sand, but they also haul whatever they can find to put on their two Landoll trailers, as well.
Brad and his wife Lisa have two sons who are involved in the business. Dallas (19) just graduated from Lincoln Electric Welding School in Ohio and now works with the family, and Colton (16), who is still in high school, has been known to bust a knuckle on the trucks, too. Brad has been customizing trucks over the years under the name Hillbilly Customs. His most-notable build was a brown Peterbilt he customized for Pat Jacobs. This cool truck went on to grace the November 2004 cover of 10-4 Magazine!
For the last few years, Brad has driven a cool yellow and white hot rod daycab Peterbilt, but with all of the new emission regulations in California, he was forced to trade that one in and buy a new, efficient truck – the one you see here. Several of Brad’s friends have ordered trucks through Clint, so when it came time to replace his baby, he gave Kansas City Peterbilt a call.
The new truck is a 2014 Peterbilt 389 with a 36” Unibilt sleeper and a “modest” wheelbase. Powered by a high-torque 550 Cummins hooked to an 18-speed transmission, the truck has a car-hauler front axle on air bags and features a bright yellow and white factory paint job. When the truck came in, Brad and his two sons came out to the dealership and spent a week with Clint and his crew, helping them finish the truck. It was like Hillbilly Customs was on tour and set up a temporary shop in Kansas City – and these guys were hard workers! Clint offered them a job, but they weren’t ready to leave sunny California.
Some of the truck’s modifications include chopped air cleaner lids, one of Clint’s visors, body drop panels, and big 8” pipes with Pickett elbows and a custom Y-pipe (the guys in the body shop spent a lot of time moving the DPF/SCR box forward to make room for those pipes). Clint hid the urea tank, and then Rick the painter sprayed the visor, tanks and boxes yellow. The finishing touch was a set of Clint’s half-fenders and hidden brackets, which were welded up by Dallas.
Brad did not want to get rid of his beloved daycab, but like he said, “You gotta do what you gotta do!” It might take a while for the guys to get used to their new ride, but with a gritty group of “hillbillys” like this, it shouldn’t take long!