This month’s creation was built for Neal Dykman (47) of Tonganoxie, KS. Neil and I have been friends for many years, so this article was a pleasure to do. Taking delivery of his first new truck in 1999, which was a baby blue Peterbilt 379 with dark blue fenders, Neil took delivery of this latest truck almost 20 years to the day of taking delivery of that first one. For this reason, we called it his “20-year itch” truck!
Neal is one of two boys from Ronnie and Sandra Dykman. Neal’s dad died in 2016, and his mom, sadly, just passed on October 23, 2019. Neal’s dad was a character, and a pioneer in the world of truck customizing. In the 1980s, he had Midwest Sheetmetal make him a custom stainless visor, and they are still one of the most popular visors we sell today. He also had an idea to take the lights off the body and put them on panels below the cab and sleeper. I’m sure you have all seen cab and sleeper drop panels, but Ronnie had the first ones!
Growing up around trucks, Neal took every opportunity to run with his dad or his uncles, Bill and Don Padley. Neal remembers riding with Uncle Don and stopping in Eden, ID for dinner. A man eating with them had a D8 Cat dozer on his trailer. Being oversized, that guy was done for the night and he headed to his truck with a 6-pack, while Neal and Don still had a long night of trucking ahead of them. Neal thought, “I might like hauling that oversized stuff!”
After graduating high school, Neal was fortunate to land a great job at a power company. This was the type of job nobody left! Neal worked at this outfit until 1999, and then the trucking bug took over. Neal told his dad that trucking was in his genes, and his dad said, “Well, take them off. Your mom can wash them!” Having to scratch the itch, he bought a used Pete 378 and hit the road. Shortly after, he ordered a new rig (the previously mentioned baby blue 2000 Pete 379 with dark blue fenders).
Winning lots of shows with that truck and earning a spot on the 2005 Shell SuperRigs calendar, Neal pulled various types of trailers with it until 2010 when he bought a used short hood Peterbilt 379 from Anchor Trucking. After years of running a “long and low” truck, he was over it. This short hood was tall and easy to use – and Neal liked that! Later, when it came time to get a new one, he called me.
The new truck is a 2020 Pete 389 with a 44-inch bunk, a modest wheelbase, a 20K front axle and a 46K 2-speed rear axle. Powered by a 565-hp X15 Cummins with 2,050 torque hooked to an 18-speed, the truck features a Platinum interior with diamond-tuck additions.
When the blue and black truck came in, Pat laid out the white stripes and painted the headache rack to match. After that, Neal took it to Anchor Trucking’s shop where he and his friends finished it up. Neal wanted to give a shout-out to Spare Time Fab for the interior pieces, Mike Horst for the sealed real glass lights, local fabricator Lee Brandt for the cool ramps and Billy, Eric, Eric and Eric at Anchor Trucking for their help.
Neal’s girlfriend Jamie wanted to see him more, so she helped with the truck. Together for about 1.5 years, they knew each other when they were younger but just finally got together. She has two kids – Cody (16) and Cerenity (12). Neal thanks Jamie for her help and Jimmy Crain for letting him use the shop and lending him a truck to drive during the build process.
Neal is a good friend, and over the years he has helped me a lot. From wrenching on trucks into the wee hours of the morning, going to truck shows and building trucks in the shop, we have spent a lot of late nights and good times together. I am glad I could help my friend scratch that “20-year itch” with this new truck, and I hope it serves him well.