This month’s truck was built for Steve Moss of Moss Trucking in Germantown, WI. Made to resemble his first truck, which he still owns, we did our best to match them as close as possible. But with 35 years between them, that was easier said than done. Steve has been not only one of my previous features, but one of his trucks even graced a cover of 10-4 back in 2011. But in all those previous stories, Steve’s 359 wasn’t ever focused on much, so I thought we would share a little about its story here, too.
Growing up in trucking, Steve caught the bug early, going to work at age 14 for Tank Transport until age 18. When Steve was 17 and still in high school, he got his first truck. His dad found a 1984 Pete 359 long hood with a 36” sleeper and they brought it home. On Steve’s 18th birthday, September 3, 1994, he went and got his CDL and that afternoon he hauled his first legal load – and never stopped.
After driving that 359 for almost two years, Steve’s dad bought a new 1996 Pete 379 for Steve to drive, so Steve put a driver in the 359. All was fine for a few months, until a set of duals came off a truck going the opposite direction and smashed into the 359’s fender and side panel. The driver was shaken up and refused to drive it anymore. Steve took it home and decided maybe he shouldn’t have a driver in this truck.
In the fall of 1997, he finally got it to the paint shop. At the time, Mocha Pearl was very popular, but most people used a burgundy color for the frame and fenders. When Steve was a kid, he liked browns and tans, so when Jeff and John at TA showed him a burnt orange color, he said, “That’s what I want.” The 359 was a hit when it made its debut at the Louisville truck show in 1998.
Like anything, as you age and mature, you often regret decisions you made when younger, but the old 359 never really went out of style. Steve’s only regret was replacing the original buckskin factory interior. The truck still has its original drivetrain, but he did stretch it and add Low Leaf at some point along the way.
By 2001, on his own, Steve had grown to five trucks but was gone a lot. In 2003, his dad wanted him to come back to his company and work in the office and shop full-time, so Steve sold all the trucks, except the 359, walked away from driving, and went back to work with his dad, Jack. About two years ago, Steve and his wife Michele bought out his dad, and are now almost halfway through a five-year succession plan.
Currently running 16 trucks, along with a few toy trucks and hot rods, they have a good group of drivers and nice equipment. Over the years, Steve has been to the Peterbilt plant and seen a few of his friend’s trucks get built, so when it was time for him to add a new one to the fleet, he called me and said he wanted to do a new truck that resembled his old 359, and he wanted to watch it get built. I flew to Denton to go on the tour, as well, and like always, the people at Peterbilt did an awesome job.
Knowing we could never make a new 389 look exactly like the 359, we just did the best we could. The new truck is a 2019 Peterbilt 389 with a 44” flattop, a 565-hp X15 Cummins, 18-speed, Low AirLeaf, a car-hauler front axle, and painted Mocha Pearl with a Burnt Orange frame and fenders (the same colors as the 359). When the truck showed up in Kansas City, Tyler was given the task to git ‘er done. The body shop was busy, so he installed a Midwest visor from Jim, hid the DEF tank, installed low-rider half-fenders and a new rear light bar.
At that point, Steve took the truck back to their shop where they added dummy stacks, a custom deck plate and all the final touches. Everyone who came by the shop figured Steve would just keep it in the shop next to the 359 because they made such a nice couple, but Steve put a driver in the new ride and sent it out to work. Paul Chilson (pictured above) is the lucky driver who gets to run this rig down the road.
Maybe in 35 years we’ll build another one to match these two, but I doubt that will even be possible. Trucks are changing so fast now, and heading in such a different direction, only time will tell if we can do it again. In the meantime, Steve Moss will enjoy his amazing set of twins that were “born” 35 years apart!