I find myself drawn to trucks with a story complimented by the owners who have a story of their own, with and without the truck. Obviously, the first thing about a truck is what it looks like, the general appearance, that draws someone in. I spotted this “classic” black 359 at the ATHS (American Truck Historical Society) National Show in Lexington, KY this past May. If you have been to that show before, you know the luck (or lack thereof) of finding the owners of the trucks. Fortunately, it was at the beginning of the show as everyone was parking, so I was able to meet the owner, Jackson “Jack” Campbell, and get a little information on this cool piece of old iron that caught my attention.
Jack’s love of older trucks and the agriculture life he was born into, makes him something many can relate to. The truck seen here is a 1972 Peterbilt 359 extended hood. Jack purchased this truck in November 2013 from his friend who had purchased it from the son of the original owner. Jack was aware of when his friend first bought the 359, and when his friend decided to sell it, Jack, who loves old iron, jumped at the chance.
Jack is a second-generation trucker who started driving at age 15 or 16 on the farm, just like his father. Fast forward to age 21, when Jack started working full-time for Carpenter Company out of Russellville, KY. Carpenter Company manufactured foam rubber products and Jack would haul the product within an approximate 800-mile radius. The first truck he drove for Carpenter was a GMC Astro cabover. For 41 years, Jack was employed with the Carpenter Company, but he also always hauled agriculture commodities on the side. When he retired six years ago, he knew he wasn’t done working, so he jumped behind the wheel of his own truck full-time. The farm is still family-owned, and Jack currently leases it to his brother.
Jack married his wife Vicki on June 1, 1974 and together they have two children – Jason (44) who is actually Jackson II, and Ashley (39). Both kids are married and collectively have six children of their own. Jack and Vicki, who reside in Adairville, KY, own their trucking company, Campbell Farms, which became Campbell Farms LLC back in 2013. The Peterbilt 359 seen here isn’t their only truck, as they have a driver in a 1993 Peterbilt 379, as well, along with a 1979 Peterbilt 359, that is currently being restored, and a 1980 Kenworth W900A which is restored and has long since retired. Jack has always been around trucks and loves them, but he obviously favors the older models.
The featured 359 here pulls a 2015 Timpte Super Hopper (pictured), as well as a 1985 Polar tanker that hauls Liquid Nitrogen (fertilizer). That is all he has ever hauled – agricultural commodities. During harvest season, he hauls grain off his farm, as well as neighboring farms, in the area. Upon purchase, the truck had a 1693 CAT under the hood which, at that time, for a factory extended hood, the only options were a 1693 CAT and a V12 Detroit. About a year after the purchase of this truck, Jack put a 425 B-Model CAT in the truck. The truck still has the original 13-speed double-overdrive transmission with 3:55 gears and a 263” wheelbase. Jack’s goal was to keep this truck as original as possible with the addition of 3/4 Hogebuilt fenders. As shown, the trailer has matching 3/4 Hogebuilt fenders, as well.
While we were just talking, Jack recollected a time in his earlier years when he got caught up in a snowstorm in Peru, IN – known as the blizzard of 1978. The snow was pretty bad and caused him to need to find a motel to stop at. The place he found only had one room left available. That blizzard left him stranded in Indiana at that motel for six days! As some may understand, Jack felt real bad about not being home, considering he was a young married man, away from his wife and young children.
Throughout his trucking career, Jack has attended several truck shows, and for more than 20 years, he has consistently went to the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, KY. He had never taken one of his trucks to a show until this past May at the ATHS National Show in Lexington, KY (where I met him). He said he thoroughly enjoyed that show with all the older model trucks that are both still working and/or retired – and I am sure glad I got to meet him there, too.
I asked Jack what advice he would give someone looking to buy their own truck which was an older model, and he said he’d recommend something with a hearty motor which will have less issues, such as a Peterbilt or Kenworth with a 425 B-Model CAT or a CAT 6NZ. Best bet to be successful as an owner operator would be to pay at least half of the truck cost right off the bat. But, like Jack said, nowadays, it is rare for people to have that much money to put down on a truck. But one thing that is a must is to make sure to have money in the bank to fall back on in the event of a breakdown (I think I have heard that advice before).
Everyone has their own taste in trucks and, for some, it is the older models with stories to tell and history, which makes seasoned and new drivers want to listen. It is always nice to see the older iron still on the road working, but it is fast becoming a rare sight. If you are strolling through Kentucky, make sure to keep an eye out for this good-looking 359. And, as always, to all the drivers out there doing the deal, truck safe – no matter what you drive.