This month’s “cool creation” was built for Austin Zinnel of Manson, Iowa. Austin (28) has always loved trucks with “a small shack and big stacks,” so when it came time to order a new one from Clint, he knew exactly what he wanted.
Growing up on not one but two farms (his parents divorced when he was only a year old and both went on to get remarried and have their own farms), Austin was always excited about trucks and motorcycles. Living primarily with his mom Cheryl and his step-dad Larry, Austin spent the summers and every other weekend with his dad Jeff and his step-mom Colleen.
With a passion for motorcycles right from the start, Austin got his first dirt bike when he was seven years old – and he spent a lot of time on that bike! At the age of 12, Austin started competing in local rodeos, and even got pretty heavy into bull riding. After graduating from high school, he went to a trade school and studied small engine mechanics. While in school, he also hauled cattle locally in Iowa, but after graduating he took a break from trucking and became a mechanic at the local Honda dealership.
After working as a motorcycle mechanic for about a year, the trucks, like they always do, pulled him back in. Austin got a driving job with another local livestock hauler until he turned 21, then he hit the big road! In 2007, he decided to buy his own truck, and was fortunate to find a cool 2002 Peterbilt 379 Extended Hood with a 63-inch flattop and a 6NZ under the hood. He ran all over the Midwest with that rig, hauling livestock, until last summer, when he decided to rebuild it and fix it up a bit.
Swapping the big bunk for a 48-inch flattop and giving the rig new paint was apparently not enough, because just a few months later, Austin was looking to order a new truck. Wanting a cool new Peterbilt 389 (not someone else’s tired old headache), Austin called Clint, wanting him to not only order the truck, but to also do all of the customizing to it when it came in. He wanted everything to be done, right from the start, so he could get right to work with it.
The truck is a 2014 Peterbilt 389 with a small 36-inch bunk, a 550 Cat, an 18-speed transmission, Low-Air suspension, a car-hauler front axle, and a 280-inch wheelbase. Although the 359 stripes are popular right now, Austin wanted to be different, so he ordered the black truck with a dark red factory 379 stripe, one he had only seen on Steve Brown’s rig before.
Once the truck arrived at KC Peterbilt, Clint and the guys went to work. After painting the fuel tanks, the guys installed five clear LED cab lights (evenly spaced), one of Clint’s visors, a rear light bar, Fibertech cab and sleeper skirts, which were painted to match, 8-inch pipes, and a pair of Shift fiberglass rear fenders. Clint’s dad chopped the air cleaner screens, a dump valve was added on the steer axle, and the factory 389 headlight pods were replaced with painted double-rounds on Double JJ brackets. Inside the cab, the dash was painted to match the exterior scheme and the stock seats were replaced with two-tone gray and black Sears seats, which were also slid back to give Austin a little more leg room.
Although Austin and his wife Tanya have only been married since 2009, the two have been together for seven years. With two kids of their own, Colton (6) and Bailey (1), Austin is also a step-dad to Tanya’s son DJ (9) from a previous relationship. Needless to say, it can be pretty hectic around the Zinnel household!
Austin always loved trucks with small shacks and big stacks, and now he has one – and he couldn’t be happier. When you love what you drive, it makes life on the road a lot easier. It also makes paying that truck payment every month just a little bit easier, too – so he hopes!