This month’s article is an opportunity. This truck was originally built for Mike Blackston of Wetumpka, Alabama, and featured in my January 2015 column. Unfortunately, Mike passed away a few months ago, so now this truck is back and up for sale. To “regular” people, the truck is just another white truck, but to those who have the truck disease and know what they are looking at, it is way cool. Featuring a custom interior with a 359-style dash and a 60” Double Eagle sleeper, among other things, this is a unique truck that would serve someone well for years to come.
Getting ready to fly home for the weekend, Mike had a brain bleed at the airport and passed away. Mike was an extraordinary man, husband and friend. His final wish was to donate his organs, so someone else could have a chance. Sue, his wife, stayed with his body at the hospital as they completed his wish and found recipients for all his internal parts except his heart, which they could not find a match for. Although my deepest sympathies are with Sue and Mike’s family, I feel privileged to have known such a great man and to be a small chapter in his life.
When I interviewed Mike for the article in 2015, he was so humble and inspirational. I got choked-up when he told me about being a poor kid, sleeping on the dirt floor of their shack in Mississippi, and hearing the diesel trucks pulling a hill on the highway outside. He explained to me how he often wondered where they were going, thinking, “It’s gotta be better than here.” I know in my heart he is in a better place now, too. Mike said when you start at the bottom, it can only get better. His life was a true success story.
Mike was a devout Christian man, and he lived by the Bible verse (Psalm 37:4) which says, “Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Mike’s story and humble spirit made me feel even more appreciative of the blessings I took for granted in my life.
During the build, which took 15 months, not everything went smooth. The 359 dash Mike wanted so much wouldn’t fit at all. Later, we came to find out that the entire batch available at the time were warped in the drying process. Not knowing how long it would take to get another one made, and if it would even fit when we got it, I called Mike to ask him what he wanted to do. His response was simple and straightforward – even though he “had to have it” he wasn’t settling for anything less than what he wanted. “I will wait, no matter how long it takes,” he said. But it was worth it!
The truck is a 2014 Peterbilt 389 painted Snow white with a black frame and featuring a 600 Cummins ISX, an 18-speed and an air-ride front axle. The sleeper is a 60” Double Eagle that was ten years old but still brand new when we mounted it on the truck. Mike had it re-skinned to resemble a Mercury bunk. The interior of the cab and sleeper were both done in that classic KW button-tuck style, in Crimson red with black buttons, and every square inch of the inside spaces were covered with HushMat before any of the upholstery work was done. The truck has custom wood dash panels to match the custom walnut floor, nine cab lights, 359-style double-round headlights on Double JJ brackets, 7” Dynaflex exhaust and so much more.
This project was one of coolest ones we ever did, and the day Mike and Sue came to pick the truck up was rewarding for all involved. If you remember this build and thought, “Man, that would be nice to have,” you might be a great candidate, as Mike would want it to go to a good home. The truck has 270K actual miles and the engine was rebuilt under warranty just 3,500 miles ago (it still has factory warranty remaining). You can leave it like it is or it can be a blank canvas – we could change (or remove) the sleeper, stretch it, paint the fenders the color of your choice, etc. Whatever you want, we can probably make it happen.
Mike’s widow, Sue, is ready to let someone else enjoy the truck. We would love to help her do that. If you are interested in buying this rig, call (800-489-1122), text (913-484-7768) or email (email@example.com) me. Serious inquiries only please. It is here at our dealership in Kansas City if you want to come and look at it, as well. I don’t expect this truck to sit here long, so if you really want to take advantage of this unique opportunity, I suggest you get hold of me as soon as possible.