Some trucks are timeless, and I think this Seminole Red 359 Peterbilt qualifies. But, as an added “timeless” twist, the pictures you see here are also timeless – they are some of the last photographs Bette Garber took before her death. At a recent truck show in California, 10-4’s editor Dan Linss was talking with the owners of this beautiful red 359 Peterbilt, Arlyn and Linda Workman, and told them that he had some pictures of their truck – some that 10-4 had taken and some that Bette had taken. What he didn’t know was they had never got to see any of them.
After Bette passed away, I bought her lenses and camera, which still had a digital card in it, with her last pictures taken – which were shot at the Big Iron Classic in Kasson, MN in 2008. I sent those pictures to Dan at some point and forgot about them… I guess he did, too. Until recently. The other thing is that Erik and Dan from 10-4 were also at that show in 2008, and they rolled up in their golf cart while Bette was shooting the pics. Not thinking anything of it, they took some pictures, too (which made Bette pretty mad, but she did not say anything to them). Today, Dan admits he would have been irritated, too, but back then, they just weren’t thinking about stuff like that.
Flash forward to now, and we realized that we have something that is pretty unique here – “timeless” pictures from both Bette and 10-4 – all of which the owners of the truck never got to see. We started thinking and talking, and decided that this might make an interesting article (not to mention how awesome this old working truck is). Some of the pictures seen here were taken by Bette and some were taken by Dan and Erik at 10-4 (each picture is marked). And although the pictures were taken over eight years ago, this “timeless” Peterbilt is still an everyday work truck and it still, for the most part, looks the same. And that is really amazing!
Nothing says “Merry Christmas” quite like a beautiful red truck – if Santa had a rig, it would surely be red! This classic beauty was new in 1986 and Arlyn and Linda Workman became its second owners in 1993. Arlyn has made changes to the old girl over the years, but has tried to stay as true to the original truck as possible. Originally, she sported a 63-inch flattop bunk, a 400 B-Model CAT, a 6×4 set of sticks and 3:55 rear-ends. She was Seminole Red Metallic until Arlyn buffed the metallic off. It clearly was an owner operator’s truck, as the dash is full of gauges (20 of them), which are still in use today.
In the late 1990s, after being teased by some of his close friends, who started calling him stubby, the rig got brand new frame rails and her wheelbase grew to 282 inches. In 2002, a Low-Air suspension was added, and then Arlyn went directly to the CAT truck engine factory in Mossville, IL to pick up her new C-15. With the help of his friend Bill at Diesel Depot, he got the new engine set in, and from there Arlyn proceeded to get everything hooked up and running.
Not being a mechanic did not stop him from getting the job done, even though there were no wiring harnesses for a retro truck to be hooked up to a new engine. After much research, he bought a harness with 300 wires, and then the daunting job of figuring out which ten he needed began. It had to be wired from the engine to the firewall, and then from the firewall to the gauges. In the end, everything worked and it was 1,300,000 miles before she needed an overhaul. I can’t imagine undertaking such a huge project and making it all work – it speaks volumes about his dedication to his truck and business.
Arlyn always dreamed of having a big bunk, and once while he was at Double Eagle he saw rolls of upholstery upstairs in the shop. When he asked if they could go up there and look, sure enough there were three rolls of pressed, pleated buckskin upholstery which he bought and took home. It matched exactly what was in the cab and sealed the deal of what would be the big bunk he had always dreamed of. This is one of those details that I was talking about when I said he’s stayed true to the truck. It’s the opinion of many older drivers that I know that the 359 dash will be a classic forever, and by keeping the original interior and gauges, when everyone these days seems to be painting (I’m guilty) and going with the newest thing on the market, it’s pretty rare to find a truck this old and original – and still working.
In 2008 she was stretched again – this time to 312 inches – to accommodate the new 110-inch Double Eagle bunk. She was 22 years old when this change came to be, and with the metallic buffed out of the original paint, the Seminole Red was a pretty close match, so they went with that – and that is how she still is today. Never being able to decide on a color, she has remained red.
Now, with the kids grown and a “big house” on their rig, Linda could get on the truck and they could be together. They’ve been a team all these years, and even though Linda doesn’t drive, it doesn’t mean she doesn’t do a lot of work. At home, while the kids were growing up, she took care of all the paperwork when they had their own authority. Now, out on the road, she cooks, cleans, helps load and unload, does the paperwork, and helps to find extra freight, when needed.
Their oldest daughter is Amanda and her husband Grant is a truck driver. They have a son named Logan who loves trucks and tractors. One grandpa is a trucker and the other one is a farmer. They also have a daughter named Leah. Their daughter Rachel and her husband Jason have two daughters, Elivia and Riley. Their youngest son Todd is a truck driver, too. He has a 2003 Peterbilt 379 and is leased to Long Haul Trucking, just like his folks, Arlyn and Linda.
In 2013, sadly, the set of sticks had to be replaced with an 18-speed. When they broke down it was getting harder to find parts, so it just made sense to put in a more modern transmission. Now, the sticks are at home in the shop, as Arlyn couldn’t bear to get rid of them. One year Arlyn actually went to a Peterbilt dealership to spec out a brand new truck, but he felt that it was just too expensive, so he didn’t buy it. Today, he is glad that he didn’t replace it with a new rig. This truck is like “another family member” that the kids have grown up with, and it has provided for them for all these years.
I really enjoyed chatting with Arlyn, learning how this truck transformed over the years. He said it’s kinda like Johnny Cash’s “One Piece At a Time” song. It’s funny sometimes how things come full circle. Last month 10-4 Magazine sponsored a photo contest honoring our dear friend Bette Garber and now here is probably the last truck that Bette ever shot. It was immediately after this show that she went into the hospital, and then just two months later, she was gone.
Arlyn and Linda didn’t know what had happened to those pictures and now here they are. Arlyn said they were so excited to finally get their truck shot by Bette, and then she passed away before they ever got to see the photos. With this terrible timing, they figured that they were just gone forever. I’m not sure what sparked Dan to think of and mention that he had those pics to them, but I’m sure glad he did – and so are they.
It’s hard to believe that another year is almost gone. I wish all of you safe travels, and I hope that you are able to be home with your family or the ones you love during the Holidays. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I am very optimistic about ringing in 2017, as I think it is going to be a great year!! Yes, time does march on, but some things continue to remain timeless.