Freddy Velasco may currently reside in Sulphur Springs, Texas, but he is almost always dreaming about California. Having lived some of his life in the sunny destination out west, Freddy (41) has fond memories (and a few family members) in the Golden State, so whenever he can find a load heading there, his dreams come true. And, running the eye-catching purple Peterbilt and polished stainless reefer seen here, Freddy turns a lot of heads along the way. But this is not Freddy’s first cool truck – he and his brother Alex have built and driven a few others, over the years, as well.
Born in Pomona, California in 1974, Freddy and his family moved to a small town in Zacatecas, Mexico when he was about five years old, so his father Levi could help run their family ranch. On this ranch, they raised cattle and grew alfalfa. In 1983, they moved back to California for about a year, and then went back to Mexico, where they stayed for almost ten years. During this time, when he was a teenager, Freddy would often vacation in California and go out trucking with his uncles.
On one memorable trucking trip with an uncle in California, Freddy was left in the truck while his uncle went inside to take care of the paperwork. A man came out and said that the truck needed to be moved, so Freddy jumped in the driver’s seat and drove the truck and trailer around the block. When his uncle came back out and realized what had happened, he told Freddy to stay in the driver’s seat and drive for the rest of the day. Mind you, Freddy was only 15 years old at the time and they were in a very congested area of Los Angeles, but he did it, and he did great! The truck he was driving was a Kenworth K100 cabover, and Freddy loved it.
In 1992, Freddy’s family sold the ranch in Mexico, along with all of the animals and the equipment – everything – and moved to Tyler, Texas at first, then to Sulphur Springs. A year later, Freddy went back to California and got his CDL, but he couldn’t find a job, so he headed back to Texas. He eventually got a job at a dairy processing plant, loading and unloading trailers, and moving them around the yard.
Two years later, in 1995, Freddy headed back to California, once again dreaming about getting a driving job, and this time he did. Hauling feed and other products for Henry Kokosenski at Seven A Trucking, which was based in Corona, California, Freddy drove a 1976 Kenworth K100 cabover and pulled a walking floor trailer back and forth between California and New Mexico, and sometimes Texas. A few months after starting at Seven A, Henry upgraded Freddy’s truck to a nearly-new 1996 Freightliner, which he loved. Freddy did this for about two years, and then went out on his own.
In 1997, Freddy bought his first truck – a brand new champagne-colored 1997 Freightliner FLD120 with a 70-inch mid-roof sleeper, an N14 Cummins and a 10-speed, along with a matching brand new stainless steel walking floor trailer, and started Velasco Transport. Switching over to Imperial Western Products (IWP) in Coachella, California, Freddy continued to pull walking floor loads. Meanwhile, back in Texas, Freddy’s brother Alex and his father Levi had started pulling end dumps and were doing quite well, so in 2000, Freddy bought an end dump, too, and then moved back to Texas shortly thereafter.
As the economy boomed throughout the early 2000s, so did their end dump operations. Each of them ran their own trucks and their own companies, but they all worked together, mostly hauling gypsum, for making sheet rock. Over the next eight years, until the bubble burst in 2008, they grew their companies, collectively, up to 22 trucks (Freddy had seven). During this time, Freddy also purchased the truck featured here in 2006. The rig is a 2003 Peterbilt 379 long hood with a 70-inch sleeper, a 550 Cat, an 18-speed transmission and 3:55 rears. Back then, it was all purple with a black frame, and had a 270-inch wheelbase. Freddy put a driver in the truck and continued to pull an end dump.
After the U.S. economy crashed in 2008, Freddy, his brother, and their dad tried a few different things, including pulling pneumatic trailers, flatbeds and step-decks, but nothing was working out very well. In 2009, Freddy started hauling produce for David Pope, and that worked out good. In fact, a year later, Freddy left and went out on his own pulling a reefer, and for the most part, has been doing that ever since.
Back then, Freddy was driving a very cool 2008 Peterbilt 389 that he ordered new and customized himself, with his brother’s help. Painted burnt orange with cream stripes, this rig had a 315-inch wheelbase, and all sorts of custom features. In 2013, Freddy sold this truck to the guys at Tralo Trucking in Minnesota, who later sold it to Shannon Lique of Medford, MN, who still owns it today. This rig (minus the stripes) was even featured in one of our “The Spirit of the American Trucker” articles back in February 2015.
Customizing trucks and painting is not something Freddy and Alex were ever formally trained to do – they are pretty much self-taught. Freddy admits that they have made a lot of mistakes over the years, but they always learned from those mistakes, which made them better. After selling the 389, Freddy bought a couple sharp W900 Kenworths – one was all black and the other was red with black fenders. He drove these trucks for the next few years while his purple truck was being customized, which began in 2012, after its driver quit.
It took Freddy and his brother, working at night and on weekends (or whenever else they could find some extra time), over two years to complete the project. The first thing they did was stretch the wheelbase to 307 inches. Then, they replaced the doors and mirror brackets with the doors and mirrors off of a 2005 Peterbilt (he wanted the mirrors to be mounted to the cab, not the doors). Next, they fabricated their own air-ride kit for the front axle and installed a dump valve. Other fab work included trimming the extenders on the back of the sleeper and adding a rear window, installing cab and sleeper panels and then extending them even further down to lineup with the battery boxes (they did this with the side hood panels, too), and making one-piece window chops. Fibertech fiberglass fenders were installed on the front, while WTI single-humps were mounted on the back.
Once the fabrication was complete, it was time for paint and accessories. Choosing Dark Metallic Mulberry Purple and Crème Brulee for the main colors and Silver Effect for an accent stripe, the brothers went to work, painting many pieces to match, including the shaved headlight buckets, a custom T-bar on the back, the fuel tanks (which have custom double straps), the aluminum deck plate, and the shock box on the back of the sleeper, which also has California Dreamin’ painted on it. Other details include 8-inch Dynaflex pipes with double straps, seven cab lights, custom battery boxes, a billet grille, a Valley Chrome tapered front bumper, and a stainless steel bowtie visor from Midwest Sheet Metal out of Springfield, Missouri.
Plenty of extra lights were added to the truck and trailer, including LED headlights from Truck-Lite. The headlights were also mounted lower than normal, giving the truck a subtle but unique look. And, speaking of the 2003 polished stainless 48-foot Great Dane spread-axle reefer trailer, it was built and painted to match at the same time. And, like the truck, the trailer also has WTI fiberglass single-hump fenders.
The truck’s interior has been customized and painted to match the exterior perfectly. Featuring a painted dash and homemade dash panels, a custom overhead console, a painted Victor steering wheel, painted armrests, smooth door panels, and a painted aluminum floor, the inside of this rig is just as impressive as the outside. It also has leather seats, a touch-screen stereo, and custom foot pedals from RealWheels. The project was completed in 2014, and Freddy has been driving this fabulous combination ever since. The truck had 400,000 miles on it when he bought it in 2006, and it now has about 1.4 million on it, and it is still running strong.
Today, Freddy has four trucks – three of them pull reefers and one still pulls an end dump. Freddy currently hauls chicken throughout Texas, and occasionally gets a load going to California. His dad runs four trucks, pulling end dumps, and his brother Alex has two, which pull reefers. Over the years, Freddy has had many trucks, but his original FLD is still in the family, as his father owns it and drives it now. Freddy is just about to start his next big project, which will be the complete rebuilding of a 1998 Kenworth he owns.
Married to his wife Marizol since 2001, the couple has two kids – Leslie (13) and Brandon (7). Family is important to Freddy. His mission in life is to provide the best life possible for his wife and kids and, thankfully, trucking has fit the bill (most of the time). In addition to his brother Alex, Freddy also has two younger sisters, Liz and Ana, and a younger brother, Raymond, who lives in southern California and pulls a flatbed.
Freddy enjoys driving a truck and feels blessed to get paid for what he loves to do – it’s an interesting job that allows him to meet new people every day. His current haul gets him home every other day and most weekends, which is a good deal. Freddy Velasco loves living in Texas, but when the open road calls and he finds himself heading west, his California Dreamin’ quickly becomes an exciting reality, and he just can’t wait to get back there!