You never know what you’ll find sitting in an old barn. This truck, now owned by Joey Ols of North Royalton, Ohio, is a perfect example of that fact. A couple years ago, Joey (60) went on the hunt for a 359 Peterbilt with an extended hood. He was looking on Craigslist for a year and a half, when this 1987, which had been sitting in a barn, popped up. For sale by its third owner, Joey tried to call the guy for two weeks, but wasn’t getting any response. When Joey told his wife about the situation, she just said, “If the good Lord meant it to be, it will be.” And she was right!
Just to try something different, Joey used his wife’s phone to call the guy selling the truck and he finally answered. After explaining how his phone didn’t work well, they arranged a meeting. The following Monday, Joey and his partner Deon Parravano drove southeast of Columbus to a farm where the truck was located. The truck didn’t look as good as it did on the ad because the pictures posted were taken two years before, it was really dirty from sitting in that barn and a few things were wrong with it, but Joey and the seller were able to strike a deal. The truck went home with Joey that day and, along with it, he had a grin from ear to ear, as well.
The truck is a 1987 Peterbilt 359 with a 425 Cat and a 15-speed, with the big hole up against the dash, sitting on a 260” wheelbase. Joey found out later that one of the previous owners had taken it back to the dealer to make the sleeper a Unibilt system. After taking the truck home, with the help of some friends, they fixed the seeping head on the motor, cleaned it up and painted the frame. The frame was originally red, but someone at some point painted it black. Joey saw that the frame was painted red while cleaning the truck, so he matched the color as best as he could and painted it. He also removed the truck’s black plastic fenders and replaced them with a set of Hogebuilt stainless steel full fenders.
Taking the truck to Jerry Howard’s annual spring truck show in Ohio, it generated a lot of questions. People wanted to know if he had bought the truck in Kentucky or West Virginia. He then went to the Ohio Vintage Truck Jamboree in Ashland, Ohio, and again was getting asked a lot of questions from people who said they had seen it before hooked to a cattle trailer. Joey asked the seller about the truck’s history and found out that it had pulled a cattle trailer in the past. Originally, Joey wanted to find a reefer trailer and take it to shows with his Peterbilt, but after talking to all these people, he changed his mind and went looking for a shiny cattle trailer.
Getting on the internet, Joey found a 1992 Barrett 48’x102” livestock trailer and, after a long wait, finally made contact with the seller and arranged to see it (apparently, the seller didn’t find Joey’s email for a month and a half). That next Sunday, Joey and his wife Christine drove out to look at it. Sundays are the days for them to spend time and do things together, and on this particular Sunday, they drove out to see this trailer. Bringing it home shortly thereafter, Joey gave it an acid wash, buffed out the stainless on the nose, changed out the lights to LED’s and then pulled off the painted Budds and replaced them with polished aluminum wheels.
Joey’s dad was a union electrician by trade, so he started to follow in his father’s footsteps, but it just wasn’t meant to be. Joey’s son Cory, however, carried on the tradition of being an electrician. A neighbor, Waldo Bailey, that lived near Joey’s childhood home, had a backhoe and some trucks. Every chance Joey got, he would go over and talk to his neighbor and learn all about the backhoe and trucks. The neighbor saw the interest that Joey had, and before you know it, Joey was working with him, doing jobs on days off from school.
At the age of 15, Joey was working for a friend’s dad who had an excavating company and was asked to drive their various small trucks to pick up materials for jobs – not knowing Joey wasn’t old enough to drive! At 16 and 17, Joey was learning to drive a truck with a trailer by practicing around the yard. Later, when he was a senior in high school, they had Senior Ditch Day. Joey chose to go and drive a Ford Super Duty tandem dump truck for the excavating company that day instead of just goofing off, which secured him his job for the summer.
That summer job driving a dump truck eventually led him to drive a 1964 B-Model Mack tandem dump truck, which he later purchased for $300 from his boss – and he still owns it today! The Mack needed an engine, which is why he sold it to Joey at such a cheap price. It originally had a gas motor in it, but someone along the way put a diesel in it. Joey went on to learn how to operate and transport various pieces of construction equipment used in the building trades.
Slowly but surely, Joey built up his business, T&J Enterprise Services, Inc. Working for someone else during the day running heavy equipment, Joey would then move machinery for people at night. He was reliable, on time and able to get the machines loaded, because of his experience running them during the day. Back then, he was driving a Kelly green 1985 Kenworth W900B with a 60” sleeper hooked to a non-detachable lowboy trailer. He eventually upgraded to a ground bearing Rogers detachable lowboy. Needing a more practical truck for city driving, he purchased a 1985 Mack RW713 Superliner.
When Joey was 39, he ordered a sharp-looking 2000 Peterbilt 379 EXHD daycab, painted Seminole red with a yellow frame. This truck was really sharp and had every option he could order. I remember seeing it around town back then (his yard was down the street from where I was working at the time) when I was driving a dump truck. I now regret not getting pictures of that truck. I didn’t even get a chance to meet Joey back then and didn’t even know it was him that owned that truck until we got together for the photo shoot and started reminiscing about the past. Trucking is a very small world, for sure.
The first time I saw this truck was at The Piston Power Show back in March 2017. I was taken back by how good it looked. I have never seen this color combination with the Winslow paint scheme, which made it absolutely unforgettable, for me. At the time, I didn’t see or meet the owner, or talk to anyone else about it. I took my pictures, admired the condition of this classic, and went on my way. I saw the truck again at The Vintage Truck Jamboree in Ashland, Ohio in June 2018, but this time it was hooked to a cattle trailer, which made for a very nice picture. I submitted my show report for the event, which was printed in the August 2018 edition, along with a picture of the combination – which made it into the story on the website.
As luck would have it, I saw the truck again at The Piston Power Show in 2019. While talking to my buddy Harvey Stephens and admiring the truck and trailer, Harvey said, “Hey, let me introduce you to the owner.” After our introductions, I told Joey how I had seen the truck several times and mentioned that it was in one of my show reports. He didn’t even know. Joey made a call to the 10-4 corporate office in Huntington Beach, CA and Jean was able to get him a copy of that issue. He even became a subscriber to 10-4 Magazine at that time. I explained to Joey that I wanted to take some pictures of his 359 combination later, when the weather was warmer.
Although he is a pretty busy guy, Joey was able to take the Peterbilt and livestock trailer to a few shows in 2019. He would like to attend more, but with his busy schedule, he just can’t. With help from Deon Parravano and Dale Raponi, Joey runs several businesses including Cowboyz Equipment, Truck & Trailer Sales, Cowboyz Big Rig Chrome Shop, Cowboyz Farmz and T&J Enterprise Services, Inc. The Chrome shop sells brands like United Pacific, Hogebuilt, Trux and Knoedler Seats, and promotes their Titan wheel polishing service, as well. The chrome shop is a small part of his operation. Joey’s main business is moving machinery for demolition, paving and construction companies.
Over the summer, Joey and I stayed in contact, trying to figure out a good time for the photo shoot. I was getting nervous that we were going to run out of time, but Joey wanted to have pictures taken in the fall, and he had a spot already picked out – at his daughter (Catherine) and son-in-law’s (Jonny) historical farm in Hiram, Ohio, that was built in 1826. On the last good weekend in Northeast Ohio, with the leaves on the trees and warm weather, we got it done. When I arrived at the location, Joey was ready, and I could see the truck from the road – it was a beautiful scene.
Joey has been blessed in many ways. His brother Jimmy is a very big influence and helps Joey often with his business. Jimmy bought Joey a big chrome bumper and chrome visor for that Kelly green W900B for his 30th birthday. Jimmy can build a truck, too. He has a sharp 379 with a coffin sleeper that he uses to pull a Landoll trailer. His daughter Kate has been amazing, as well. She has been there for her father through thick and thin. When Joey had an accident while riding a horse (he tore the heel of his right foot and broke his left foot), Kate canceled a vacation she was going to take in Florida to help her dad for two weeks. With Joey on crutches, she rode with him in the truck and helped him load and unload all the equipment he was hauling.
When asked about his wife, Joey said, “I hit the jackpot when I met Christine!” Married for five years now, she is very easy going and very patient. Joey has a growing collection of Jeep Gladiator, J10 and J20 pickup trucks. Over the years, he has bought quite a bit of these toys, and Christine has never said a word. In fact, she encouraged him to buy a 1973 Jeep CJ5 he really wasn’t sure he wanted to buy. They went for one of those Sunday drives and saw this Jeep that a close friend was selling. Christine liked it and encouraged him to buy it, so he did.
Joey works hard and he also gives back. He donates to the Black Swamp and Northeast Ohio Chapters of the American Truck Historical Society (ATHS). Joey also contributes to the Tin Roof Society in Kenya, Africa, which is a program that takes kids off the street and teaches them auto mechanics. Joey wants to thank all the people who have helped him throughout the years. He would not be where he is today, if it wasn’t for all the supportive people in his life (they know who they are).
I would like to thank Joey for taking the time for the photo shoot and getting together again to complete this story. I also want to thank his family for providing a very nice scenic location for the photo shoot. I had a great time getting to know Joey and shooting his pristine 359 barn find. I also enjoyed throwing the ball for Rebel and Cash, Joey’s daughter’s dogs, which are my favorite breed – German Shorthaired Pointers. It was a good day, for sure, and one I won’t soon forget!