This month’s “creation” is a little different than most – it is not a new truck! This one was a very special rebuild done for Darrin Farmer (41) of Oskaloosa, Kansas. Darrin’s dad Bill was a life-long trucker who taught his son the value of hard work through example. Darrin grew up on the family farm and, like a lot of us, could not shake trucking once it got into his blood.
Darrin learned a lot from his dad, who had worked hard since he was 16 years old (he lied about his age and got a job at a foundry). Later, he bought his own truck and began hauling anhydrous ammonia and propane. Bill Farmer trucked for 40 years until he retired in 2010.
Like his dad, Darrin started working at an early age, too, taking a job with a local farmer while still in school. After graduating, Darrin went to a welding school and then landed a job at the Caterpillar factory in Wamego, Kansas – but he hated working in a factory. Eventually, his dad asked him to come work with him, so Darrin bought a pickup truck and a goose-neck trailer and started hauling cattle. Darrin’s first semi was a used Peterbilt 377 he bought in 1999, along with a new cattle pot. Since then, Darrin has owned several nice Peterbilts.
Over his 40 year trucking career, Darrin’s dad Bill had some cool trucks, but in 2000 he ordered his last one – the Pete 379 flattop you see here. Unfortunately, after a valiant fight with multiple myeloma, Darrin’s dad died in 2012. Bill took great care of his last truck, and it was a nice rig when Darrin bought it from his mom. Darrin began using the Peterbilt as a fill-in truck, but not long after that, it was totaled in a devastating wreck. At that point, Darrin had to make a choice – let it go, along with the memories, or bring it back to life and preserve a small part of his dad’s legacy – he chose the latter.
With help from Clint, the men began the process of creating a rig that both Darrin and his dad would be proud of. The 2001 truck, powered by a 6NZ Cat with a 15-speed, was originally painted Mocha Pearl with a maroon frame and fenders and his dad loved it, so Darrin decided to keep the colors similar. Finding an old tan, gray and dark orange paint scheme that Clint designed but nobody ever used, Darrin saw it and loved it – then the real work began.
After sand-blasting and painting the entire frame, a new hood was installed with no emblems or holes, the headlights were changed to single squares with shaved blinkers, and a special billet grill was added. The truck needed a steer axle, so they changed it out with a new car-hauler front axle to drop it down. The cab had a lot of damage from the wreck, so when it went back together Darrin decided to go with new-style doors and mirrors. The original 63-inch sleeper was destroyed, so Darrin had it replaced with a 48-inch bunk (they also changed the doors to the new style and added a back window). Kevin in the body shop did most of the major body repairs, while Cooper worked his magic on the paint and stripes.
When it came time for accessories, Darrin opted for five bullet-style cab lights with old-school spacing, one of Clint’s visors, and new painted fuel tanks with covers over the hangers. Clint’s dad chopped the air cleaner lids and then they added smooth stainless boxes, painted body drop panels, and a flush Merritt deck plate. The guys also installed a set of Fisher fenders on old-style Low Air-Leaf brackets and a Jimmy Crain light bar with built-in mud flaps. To finish up the exterior, all of the wheels were polished and new Michelin tires were mounted from front to back.
The truck’s original interior was in great shape, but because of all the changes and some damaged pieces, they decided to change it all. After contacting Danny at the upholstery shop, Darrin chose a Coach Saddle color with black trim. They also installed Bostrom low-rider seats, new black carpet, and a small 359 shifter boot. The final touch was custom aluminum pedals made with the family’s ranch brand on them.
Everyone is still involved in the family farm, and Darrin and his brother Eric are partners in some machinery and cattle. Darrin raises cattle and hauls livestock, running five trucks (three of his own and two lease operators). Married to his wife, Jana, for seven years, the couple is also raising a daughter named Bailee (12), who is very active in cheerleading – and loves it.
This month’s column is timely and special to Clint because he recently lost his grandfather (his dad’s father – Grandpa Moore). Clint and his dad are really close, and he can’t imagine what Darrin has had to go through – and now his own dad has to go through it, too. “Dads are special,” said Clint. “That’s why I loved helping Darrin with his dream – I really think that his dad would be proud of Darrin and his accomplishments and the fact that he will not be forgotten.” The best way to honor our loved ones after they have passed is to continue the legacy of their life, and that is what Darrin is doing with this truck – keeping the spirit and memories of his father alive and well with this rolling tribute to his dad, Bill Farmer.