This month’s creation was built for Mark Knepp (52) of Chambersburg, PA. Looking to enjoy life and “live a little” before he’s gone, Mark ordered this beautiful rig from me – and we had a lot fun doing it. Married to his wife Kathy since 2011, she has two children – a daughter named Tara (21) and a son named Reese (20), who lives at home and attends Penn State.
The way Mark and Kathy met sounds like the making of a country song – he was a truck driver and she was the waitress at the TA Truck Stop in Greencastle, PA. After repeated attempts to ask her out, she finally took pity on him and agreed, and they have been together ever since. They met in 2008 and got married in 2011. These days, Kathy drives a daycab truck for NFI near home. This is Mark’s first and only marriage, to which he said, “One and done!”
The only child of Jerry and Carol Knepp of Phoenixville, PA, Mark’s dad worked as a chemist at a chemical company called Johnson Matthey. Mark’s dad worked with precious metals in their catalytic converter division and passed away in 2015. Mark’s mom Carol is a retired nurse, and she and dad were married for 51 years.
While attending college, Mark worked in a shop as a mechanic. In 1989, he graduated from Valley Forge Military Academy with a degree in Biology, but only two days later, he went to work full time at the shop. It was an opportunity he could go right into, plus he didn’t like sitting around. He did this for about two years, then landed a job at A. Duie Pyle as a mechanic. This company has a funny name, but they have been a huge, family-owned transportation and logistics provider in the northeast since 1924!
With owner operators around at work, Mark heard them talking about how much money they made, so he decided that he needed to buy a truck. After saving his money, he bought a used 1993 Kenworth W900 in 2000 and leased-on at A. Duie Pyle. He did this for a couple years and then bought a reefer. Over the next few years he switched jobs several times. In 2006 he bought a new 379 Peterbilt, and the following year he leased-on to Admiral Merchants, where he has pulled either a stepdeck or flatbed ever since. In April of 2013 he purchased a new black and tan 2013 Kenworth W900L, which he ran until he bought the new Peterbilt 389 pictured here.
The new truck is a 2019 Peterbilt 389 with a 78” HR sleeper, a long wheelbase, a Cummins X15 with 2,050 torque and an 18-speed, painted Spectra Master Purple with a black frame. When the truck showed up, Billy in the body shop took care of all the lights and goodies Mark wanted, while Tyler in service got the new 7-inch straight pipes installed. Mark knew he wanted stripes, but I decided to throw a wrench into the design and add some small red accents, as well. All he said was, “Okay. I guess I trust ya!” In the end, I think we both liked how it turned out.
This truck has a ton of LED “button” lights underneath and facing outward, spaced evenly, to be just right. Our guys swapped his headache rack from his KW, painted some flush Merit deck plates, and my dad chopped the air cleaner lids. It also got a 12 Ga. drop visor with lights, a 20-inch Valley Chrome bumper, double 359 headlights, steer axle dump valves and stainless breather panels (front and back) with lights. It was also fitted with custom aluminum body drop panels with both under-lighting and outward lighting, Hogebilt fenders on hidden brackets, and a stainless 2-piece rear light bar.
When making the order, Mark specified that “CUSTOM BUILT FOR YOLO” be on the dash plaque. But he also said you actually live every day and only die once (as far as we know), so that YOLO acronym – you only live once – isn’t even really correct. “On your death bed, you won’t ever say I wish I could have worked another day. Just do stuff you want and live a little. Don’t be afraid to do cool stuff.” His truck is just like that, as it’s not just a lot truck with store-bought chrome. Mark also has a Pete 359 long hood he plans to fix up, just in case he might want to make a few rounds in a cool classic rig, because you only live once, so… “Live a little!”