Trucking is a very small world – probably a lot smaller than most realize. I was reminded of that fact at a recent funeral for my neighbor, Donnie Cody. At the graveside service, I was surprised to meet one of Donnie’s grandsons, Tim Cody Jr. of Lake Ozark, MO. Introducing himself and then proceeding to tell me about a truck he was building, he reached for his phone to show me pictures, and I thought, “Oh boy, here we go again!” As editor of 10-4 Magazine, this happens a lot. But, to my surprise, Tim’s truck was awesome, and we immediately began talking and planning a photo shoot. Later, Tim said that meeting me and starting a friendship, which eventually led to his truck being featured here and our cover, was the silver lining to that rather unpleasant day.
Living across the road from Donnie Cody and his wife Gail for the past 14 years, in a very remote and rural community in the foothills east of Fresno in California’s Central Valley, my wife and I enjoyed having them for neighbors. Before retiring, Gail was a bus driver who often drove our kids to school, and Donnie had long since retired from the underground boring industry. Moving to “the mountains” of Squaw Valley, CA about the same time we did, their house was the only house we could see from ours when we moved here from Southern California in 2005. After Gail’s death about five years ago, Donnie’s health slowly declined, leading to his recent death on October 30, 2018.
Attending the funeral with my wife on a cold and rainy December morning in 2018, surrounded by lots of people we didn’t know, I was surprised to be approached by one of Donnie’s grown grandsons who introduced himself and said, “My grandpa used to talk about you a lot, but I didn’t believe him that the editor of 10-4 Magazine was actually his neighbor!” We got to talking and looking at pictures of trucks and planned to see each other again at the upcoming truck show in Louisville, KY, where he was going to debut his new truck in March.
After the show in March, Tim’s driver Shane DeGraeve immediately picked up a load of cars in Kansas City heading to Southern California, and then, after making his delivery the following Friday morning, headed north toward our place. Tim flew in on that Friday afternoon and I picked him up at the airport. That night, we had a nice BBQ dinner, featuring my famous smoked brisket and other tasty sides, and the two stayed at our place for the weekend. What a great time we had – good food, great conversation, a beautiful truck and California’s “super-bloom” happening in all its splendor around us, providing an amazing and colorful backdrop for the pictures of this bright white rig.
It’s funny how people meet and lives cross paths – if I didn’t decide to attend my neighbor’s funeral, I might never have met Tim. In fact, I might have even met him at the show and talked to him about his rig, but still never realized that we had a connection through his grandpa. My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend with Tim and Shane, and we had a great time talking about all our memories of Donnie with Tim, who had a few memories, as well, as his grandpa was always a positive influence in his life.
Born and raised in Visalia, CA (most of his family still lives there), Tim (31) did not grow up in a trucking family. As a young kid, Tim has fond memories of spending many weekends at his grandma and grandpa’s house. When he was about seven years old, his dad, Tim Cody Sr., bought a fire sprinkler business/franchise and moved the family to Harrisonville, MO, a town about 50 miles south of Kansas City. Tim’s parents divorced when he was 15 years old, and as soon as he graduated from high school, he went to work. Over the next few years, he worked several jobs, including electrical work, fire sprinkler work, underground boring and fire alarm installations in commercial buildings.
At 22 years old, Tim got his CDL and began trucking for a close friend, Travis Korn, pulling a hopper bottom and hauling grain in a 1999 Peterbilt 379 short hood with a 60-inch sleeper. Travis was Tim’s trucking idol, and he was the one who taught him how to drive, as well. Later, Travis got Tim a 2000 Kenworth W900 to drive. After about two years, Tim and Travis parted ways, realizing that working with friends was not easy, and Tim moved on to the next job.
Getting a job at an outfit called Creason Pipeline Services, Tim spent a year moving their heavy equipment from site to site and repairing pipelines. After that, he went to drive for Wayne Korn, his old friend’s dad, hauling grain and doing some tanker work. Then, at the age of 26, he switched gears and got into the car-buying business. Working for a local dealership, it was Tim’s job to travel the country, attending auctions and such, to buy used cars for the dealership to sell. With that job, along with having to buy the cars, it was also his responsibility to get the cars hauled back to the dealership in Missouri, so Tim got to know most of the major auto hauling companies out there pretty well.
Finding haulers for the cars Tim bought was sometimes difficult, but he eventually found S & S Auto Transport and they quickly became his prime go-to hauler. At the time, S & S was fairly-new, having just started in 2013. Originally, S & S was a used car dealership owned by two gentleman – Shawn and Shannon – but after having trouble finding companies to move their cars, they bought their own hauler (a 1999 Ford F350 and a 3-car wedge) and started doing it themselves. With much success, they closed the dealership and started hauling full time. Later, Cory Dunn bought out Shannon, one of the original owners, but they kept the name the same. Last year, Shawn Dworaczyk, the other original owner, bought out Cory and became the sole owner of the company.
After about two years and lots of traveling in the car-buying business, with babies and a wife at home, in 2017 Tim was offered a job working in the office at S & S Auto Transport and he took it. At that time, S & S only had a handful of trucks, but today they have 60 full units, along with a few owner operators, as well. As VP of Operations, Tim’s job includes setting up new customers, brokering loads, scheduling shipments and dispatching trucks.
Just over two years ago, Tim moved his family to Lake Ozark, MO – a beautiful resort community located near the Lake of the Ozarks State Park, and only a short drive from Eldon, MO where S & S is based. Living there with his wife Melani and their two young daughters, Brenlee (6) and Kylar Jo (3), the couple has been married since 2009, and will be celebrating their 10th anniversary this coming September.
Shortly after joining the team at S & S, Tim decided to buy a truck, put a driver in it, and lease it on at the company. Purchasing a 2017 Viper blue Peterbilt 389 glider from Fitzgeralds, fitted with a Detroit engine, along with a matching 7-car Cottrell auto hauler, T & M Transport Services was born. In March 2018, Tim ordered a second glider through Elkhorn Valley Trucks in Nebraska – this is the bright white and baby blue 2018 Peterbilt 389 seen on these pages and on our cover and centerfold this month.
When the truck finally arrived in Nebraska, Elkhorn Valley Trucks spent about two or three months installing (and painting) a 550-hp Cat 2WS, along with an 18-speed transmission and 3.36 rears. On July 5, 2018, the truck was ready to go, so Tim and a driver went to Nebraska to pick it up. From there, the driver took the truck directly to Jonathan Larick at LTI Services in Rockaway, NJ to be customized. While that truck was being tricked out, Tim ordered yet another one – a 2019 Galaxy blue and silver Peterbilt 389 with a Cottrell head rack and a matching Cottrell Quickloader – and put it on the road in September 2018, which was two months before the white truck would be ready to hit the road.
Spending over four months at LTI Services in New Jersey, Jonathan Larick and his crew, who included Chester, Pete, Rob and Jose, went to work on the white truck. With a 72-inch standup sleeper and a 300-inch wheelbase, many of the rig’s body panels and accessories were painted white, including the outer portion of the grille shell (the front was left polished), the 12 Ga. visor, mirror brackets, window chops and air cleaner light panels, the air cleaners and cab lights, the 12 Ga. 9-inch aluminum cab and sleeper drop panels, the headlight buckets and fender brackets, and the air and fuel tanks (but the ends were kept polished). The truck also sports matching Shift fiberglass fenders on the front and rear, with a painted filler panel between the fronts of the rear fenders.
Not wanting everything to be white, some items were kept polished or stainless, including the 8-inch Lincoln pipes, 12 Ga. custom-punched grille (which includes the LTI Services logo in the lower right corner) and deck plate, the 5th wheel, a filler panel between the fuel tanks, a 22-inch 12 Ga. front bumper with a frenched-in license plate, 12 Ga. tank straps and step/box covers, and step plates from Iowa Customs. There is also a custom steel plate, made by LTI Services, on the back of the truck with a stainless insert, a painted aluminum shock box cover from 12 Ga, and (10) “big hole” Alcoa wheels (insides and outsides) from Red Dirt Diesel Power in Wichita Falls, TX. The finishing touches to the truck’s exterior are about 200 Dual Revolution LED lights from Trux that change from legal color to blue at the flip of a switch.
At this point, the truck was ready to be put on the road, and it made its maiden voyage on November 9, 2018. Knowing that he wanted to build a matching trailer for the MATS truck show in March, Tim bought a plain black 7-car Cottrell to put behind it, but boy did he get a lot of grief from people who thought it needed a matching trailer behind it (but Tim kept quiet because he did not want to let that cat out of the bag just yet). Running the truck hard from November to March, driver Shane DeGraeve logged 50,000 miles during that time. At the beginning of March, just three weeks before MATS, the truck was taken back to LTI Services to be freshened-up for the show, to get the interior completely redone, and for the new trailer to be customized.
Tearing everything inside the cab and sleeper out – everything – Jonathan and his crew started from scratch. Smoothing out and painting the dash baby blue, all of the instrument panels were painted white, along with the aluminum floor, which also has a mural of a pin-up girl between the Bostrom Wide Ride seats, which sit on painted seat bases and polished “Sitsolo” seat base adapters from Iowa Customs. There are also billet pedals, a painted/billet 14-inch steering wheel from Forever Sharp, painted door panels, and the CB was hidden inside the glove box. Up above is a custom fiberglass enclosure that holds (2) 10-inch video monitors and speakers, stainless steel ceiling inserts and watermelon lights. The back of the visor is also covered with murals, and all the bezels, switches, trim pieces and door sills are from Rockwood. All the murals were air-brushed by Bert Graphics out of Riverdale, NJ.
Saving the best feature for last – the sound system – this rig is equipped with an amazing stereo. Starting off with a Pioneer head, this unit feeds a Hertz H8 sound processor, which helps to fine-tune the sound. (8) Ground Zero 6.5-inch mid-range speakers start things off, powered by a 1,200-watt SounDigital amp. (12) Ground Zero 1-inch tweeters, powered by an 800-watt SounDigital amp, provide incredible highs, and (4) 8-inch Ground Zero mid-bass drivers add that extra sound in the sleeper on the back wall (these are also powered by their own 1,200-watt SounDigital amp). These mid-range speakers are mounted on the back wall in a custom enclosure with plexiglass accents and either red or blue accent lights. The system is rounded out with (4) 12-inch Ground Zero XSPL subwoofers, mounted in custom ported sub boxes with a custom-made fascia, along with accent lighting, where the closets used to be. A 5,500-watt SounDigital amp, under the bed, powers these monsters and really gives this Peterbilt some thump. To power the entire system, they also added (2) isolated Stinger dry cell batteries so the system could be played for long periods of time without idling the truck. A separate voltage gauge lets the driver know when the audio batteries are low, and that the truck needs to be started. With 24 total speakers, 4 subwoofers and 8,700 watts of power, this system literally makes your hair stand up when sitting inside!
As the final touch-ups were being done under the hood and to the exterior, the new 2020 Cottrell 5307 XLS 7-car trailer was delivered to LTI. Painted Sapphire Baby Blue to match the truck’s chassis, this trailer has polished air tanks, extra stainless trim pieces, and almost 400 Dual Revolution LED lights from Trux. All told, the entire combination has 582 lights total. Special thanks go out to Dave Gellinger at Worldwide Equipment Sales in Rockdale, IL for always taking good care of Tim’s trailer needs.
Barely finishing in time to get the pristine combination to MATS, Tim was the last truck to roll onto the show lot in Kentucky, earning him the infamous “Runnin’ Late” award, presented by Rockwood. And, with only 50,000 miles on the truck’s odometer, Tim was forced to compete in the highly-competitive Limited Mileage Combo classes, instead of the working classes. Needing 75,000 miles or more to be eligible for the working classes, Tim was happy to place at all, winning 5th place in his class. By the time you read this, Tim’s truck will probably have 75,000 miles on it, so look for him to be competing in the working classes for the rest of the year.
Another key player in this story is Tim’s driver Shane DeGraeve (30). Driving since he was 18 years old, Shane was born and raised in Tonganoxie, KS (he still lives there) and, at one point, had seven trucks. After going through a divorce a few years ago, he was forced to “start over” again, and today he has just one truck – a Peterbilt 389 glider that he never wants to get rid of. Tim and Shane met through a mutual friend, and Tim hired him specifically to drive this white truck. In fact, he had never even hauled cars before, but this kid hustled and learned fast. With three kids waiting at home – Cashton (8), Greyson (5) and Kinsley (1) – Shane is always happy when his rig is pointed toward home.
Eventually, Tim wants to have five trucks, and with three already, along with another one on the way, he will be there in no time. Tim remembers telling his grandpa about this truck, and how he wasn’t sure what people would think of it. Grandpa Donnie answered, “Do whatever makes you happy and don’t give a damn about what anyone else says. It don’t matter if you spend $40 or a million dollars, do what you want!” Tim sure wishes he could have showed grandpa the finished product, but we will just have to assume that he has seen it from up in Heaven and is grinning from ear-to-ear. Every cloud needs a silver lining, and I am so glad that I could create that bright spot for Tim Cody Jr.