This month’s “cool creation” was built for Bill De Witt, in honor of his father, Jake C. De Witt. This new truck is a limited edition 2016 “Pride & Class” Peterbilt 389, painted up in the colors of Jake’s old trucks, and named (Twally II) in honor of his dad’s favorite truck and the only one he ever named – a 1956 Peterbilt COE.
Bill’s dad, Jake C. De Witt, started Jake C. De Witt Livestock Transport in the late 50’s in Chino, CA. Later, he moved to Phoenix, AZ after he sold out in Chino, and then went to drive for Al Knudsen Livestock. In 1967 he bought a 1956 Peterbilt COE from a livestock hauler in L.A. who had bought it new. With a 262 Cummins and a 4×3 transmission, this was the only truck Jake ever named – he called it Twally.
When Bill was 11 years old, he would get to drive Twally about 50 yards to shovel out the manure on weekends. This short “drive” was Bill’s pay for shoveling out the manure, and he thought it was great. When he was 14, Bill would go with his dad in the summer and he would let him drive from the top of Indio hill to Blythe.
Jake sold his beloved Twally around 1972, and a few years later, Bill saw it in Tracy, CA hauling containers into the Tracy Army Depot while he was hauling gravel on the I-5 project between Tracy and Stockton at 19. A couple of years later, his dad tried to track Twally down, but found out that it had been cut up at a wrecking yard just six months before he got there.
Bill bought his first truck – a 1976 short hood Peterbilt – in 1983. He started hauling feed with a walking floor, and then went on to own a KW cabover and then seven Peterbilts, hauling ag products, cattle, gravel, chemicals and fuel. In 2005, he leased on at Diamond Trucking in Phoenix, AZ with his 1997 Peterbilt.
Now, a decade later, due to California’s emissions laws, it was time for Bill to upgrade. He called Clint Moore on advice from the Miller family, the owners of Diamond Trucking, as they had purchased several new Peterbilts from Clint and Kansas City Peterbilt over the years (they were even featured in his April 2011 article).
When Bill called Clint, he told him that he wanted to build a truck in honor of his dad, who had passed away in 2012. After talking a bit, he decided to order a new 2016 limited edition Peterbilt 389. This “Pride & Class” Peterbilt is a factory-built truck with a signature louvered grill, polished front fenders, special air intakes on the sides of the hood, extra factory stainless trim, Hogebuilt 1/4 fenders, special mud-flaps and badges, an upgraded interior with dark gray trim and red stitching on the seats, and a custom 4-spoke leather steering wheel.
Wanting the truck to be as light as possible, Bill chose the 500 MX PACCAR engine, along with an 18-speed, a low AirLeaf suspension, a car-hauler front axle, front air-ride, and all disc brakes. And, even with the heavier options he chose, it still wound up with a dry weight of just 17,335 lbs. The truck was ordered in silver and black with a Crimson frame. Clint wanted to thank his friend Pam at Axalta coatings for helping him match the old 1950’s colors with new ones.
When the truck showed up in Kansas City, the guys made a few changes, but tried to keep the factory look. Tyler, Kenny and Andy on the night shift really went above and beyond while Charlie was out of town taking some training classes. Sheldon at the Big Rig Chrome Shop helped Clint with some of the extra shiny stuff, and then Cody helped hang the stainless Hogebuilt full fenders on a set of Clint’s hidden brackets. On one particularly late night, working on the truck, a Crimson breaker stripe was added.
Bill’s entire family has been involved in this project, which included rebuilding and repainting their existing 1997 Weld-It fuel tanker trailer, which Bill still pulls today. Bill’s wife, Triek, has always been a big supporter and solid business partner, and she has put up with his mistresses (trucks) for 33 years, and for that, he thanks her from the bottom of his heart.
Clint loves his job, and appreciates the fact that Bill trusted him to help him order and build a new truck to remember his dad. Clint never knew Jake, but he enjoyed getting to know Bill and really enjoyed this build. “It feels good to see it rollin’ down the road, and knowing the story behind the ideas that brought it to life, makes it that much more special,” said Clint.
We are sure that Jake is smiling down on his son Bill and his new Twally II Peterbilt 389, remembering the good old days of running the original Twally, and wishing he could go through the gears just one more time.