It’s not every day that Clint gets to build a really nice unit for a big company, but there’s always an exception to the rule. This month’s “cool creation” is definitely the exception. This sweet rig was built for Henkels and McCoy (H & M), a specialized contractor based in Blue Bell, PA. With offices all over the United States, this outfit prides itself on having a quality image, which is one of the reasons they came to Clint to order and build this special truck for one of their special drivers out west.
Henkels & McCoy (H & M) is a leading utility construction firm that provides critical infrastructure for the Power, Oil & Gas Pipeline, Gas Distribution and Communications markets throughout North America. For over 90 years, H & M has been committed to safety, quality, integrity and continuous improvement. These values helped H & M to become one of the largest privately-held firms in the United States.
Founded with modest means by high school pals Jack Henkels and John McCoy in 1923, H & M began as a tree-trimming, landscaping and tennis court construction company in Philadelphia. When a Category 3 hurricane hit New England in 1938, H & M sent teams of linemen to the scene to restore services, firmly establishing the company as a key player in power restoration and utility infrastructure construction.
Today, H & M is one of the largest specialty contractors in the country that designs, builds and maintains much of the infrastructure for the communications and energy markets. Simply put, these guys do it all – they even installed the nation’s first Community Access Television (CATV) system in Lansford, PA way back in 1953!
Clint was contacted by Joe Kogel, the Fleet Supervisor of H & M’s West Region. Joe was interested in purchasing a new tractor, to pull a folding-neck lowboy trailer, for one of their drivers – Dane Nelson. Dane grew up in a truck, along with his brother, and loves his driving job at H & M. Dane also loves trucks, and is a fanatic at keeping the rigs he drives clean. So, to show their thanks and appreciation for his hard work and dedicated service, the company wanted to get Dane a special rig to drive every day.
The truck is a new Peterbilt 389 with a modest wheelbase (it had to be able to get in and out of tight places) and a 72-inch HR sleeper, fitted with a hidden battery APU and an Espar heater, for those cold nights. Powered by a high-torque ISX Cummins and an 18-speed transmission, the truck sits on a Low-Air rear suspension and an air-ride front steer axle. Resting on tall 11R 24.5 tires for extra ground clearance, the rig also has painted old-style breathers, extra tool boxes, and a weed-burner exhaust underneath.
The H & M company colors are white and green, so when the truck showed up, Pat (the painter) came up with two custom-mixed metallic green colors for the stripes to match the frame and tanks. They also added one of Clint’s drop visors, Hogebuilt half-fenders with hidden brackets, extra grille bars, and a user-friendly flush-mounted deck plate. Other add-ons included fiberglass cab and sleeper skirts, bullet-style cab lights with real glass lenses, and 7-inch dummy pipes. The guys also re-skinned the right side door with no window, painted the headlight buckets, and hid the urea tank. Clint’s dad made custom breather panels with three lights and glass lenses to match the cab lights, and new seat plates were installed to reposition the seats a little further back (Dane is a pretty tall guy).
When Dane flew out to pick up the truck, he brought a couple special items with him, including a retro-style white steering wheel and a swan hood ornament, which he has had on several of his trucks. The finishing touch on this unit was painting the company name, in their signature lettering, on each door. The folks at Thunder Grafix in Joplin, Missouri provided the template, then Pat painted the name on each door. He then cleared-coated over them, to protect them for years to come.
If you run in his area, keep an eye out for Dane and this truck, which hauls loads all over the western region for H & M. Since Clint typically builds rigs for owner operators and small fleet owners, this fun project was certainly the exception to the rule. But this truck just rules – exception or not!