Kelly Bridges of Cherokee, NC found this 1964 Peterbilt 281 in 2006 when he rode along with his dad to Myakka City, FL. He’d thought he was only going along to help bring home a wrecker, however, along the way he spotted the Peterbilt in a junkyard and it called his name, so the old Pete hitched a ride with them back to North Carolina. The truck was built in California and eventually bought by collector and old truck aficionado Brad Wike of Lincolnton, NC. When Brad later sold it, the Peterbilt went back to California until a man in Florida bought it – which is where Kelly discovered this treasure. With help from his dad, it took Kelly two years of hard work to perform a restoration from the ground up. Speaking about the build, he said, “It was more like from under the ground up – six feet under!” Since the truck was in such bad condition, Kelly found a replacement frame from a 1988 Peterbilt and then worked all the pieces together into one good truck. The inside was as bad as the outside, so Kelly gutted it and completely redid the entire interior. He then painted the truck in two shades of orange: the darker colored frame is Chevrolet Hugger Orange and the main part of the truck is Ford Mustang Grabber Orange. Powered by a 400 Big Cam Cummins with a 13-speed Roadranger transmission and riding on a Peterbilt air-ride suspension, Kelly enjoys taking the Peterbilt to shows – and it certainly is an eye-catching rig.
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.