All good things must come to an end. Scott Diller of Lanita Specialized has accomplished everything he set out to do in the world of showing trucks. Lanita Specialized is no stranger to building detail-oriented, award-winning, working show trucks. Over the years their trucks have earned numerous “Best of Show” trophies, been featured in our magazine (June 2019), and one was even featured on our cover (May 2011).
Recently completing construction on a beautiful new facility in Mt. Aetna, PA, this location not only houses the trucking operation, but now offers both truck and trailer maintenance, repairs and parts to the public, as well. Lanita is a small family owned business started in 1997. Larry Diller always enjoyed good lookin’ trucks and has passed his love for trucking to his son Scott, who now owns a few trucks of his own and also runs the family business, too.
Lanita’s first award-winning truck was “Red Dawn” – their 1981 Kenworth A-Model that graced the May 2011 cover of 10-4 and won the prestigious Best of Show Limited Mileage Bobtail award, along with many other 1st Place trophies, at the Mid-America Trucking Show (MATS) in 2011. Lanita also built and showed a 2015 Kenworth W900L and 2015 Mac flatbed which won the coveted Best of Show Limited Combo award at MATS in 2015.
Having been involved in a few other award-winning trucks, including a 2018 blue W900L operated by Big Iron Transport which, again, took home the respected Best of Show Limited Mileage Combo award at MATS in 2018, Lanita also built plenty of other cool trucks which make up their fleet. The 2018 W900L and 2018 Mac flatbed combo pictured here is no exception! Sadly, it was not able to make its debut at MATS 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Starting out as a day cab flat glass glider kit purchased through Kenworth of PA, Scott chose a 292-inch wheelbase because, as he put it, “Cool trucks don’t need to be 300 inches long!” Hoover’s Truck and Equipment, located in Dover, Ohio, assembled the truck, including installing the drive line and motor. One of Lanita Repair’s mechanics, Chris Frederick, built the 550-hp CAT C-15 motor for the truck, which was then taken to Hoover’s to be installed, along with an 18-speed transmission and 3:36 rears. The truck was then sent to ARI Legacy Sleepers, located in Shipshewana, IN, to be outfitted with a 70-inch sleeper.
After the sleeper was fitted to the truck, it made its way back to Lanita where the truck was disassembled for further customization. Chris Frederick removed the engine, fan, fan shroud, radiator, cooling pack and transmission to paint them. Chris is the mechanic who built the motor for the truck. He also painted some other pieces, such as the underside of the 5th wheel, the 5th wheel mounts and fender brackets. When the motor and associated pieces were finally reassembled, all new polished stainless steel and chrome nuts and bolts were used. Advanced Plating provided engine chroming on select pieces.
The chassis and frame of the truck and the trailer were painted Viper Red by Kloppy’s Custom Painting, owned and operated by Rich Klopp. Based out of Bethel, PA, Kloppy’s also painted the rub rails on the trailer, with the top strip being silver and the bottom being gray. After painting the stripes, three coats of clear were applied, which were then wet sanded. After drying, three more coats of clear were applied, wet sanded and then buffed to bring out a deep, rich shine. The same process was done with the frame of the trailer! Klopp also installed anti-corrosion bars on this truck and trailer, a simple new product he personally developed to fight corrosion. For more information about this unique product, check out their new website at www.corrosioninnovations.com.
Continuing with the paint, Denver Truck Painting, located in Denver, PA, painted the hood, cab and sleeper. But, before any paint was sprayed, Denver smoothed down the inside of the hood and firewalls. If you notice, the entire inside of the hood and the firewall are painted to match the exterior of the truck. The truck was sprayed with five coats of clear, which really makes the paint pop. Yes, the stripes are paint, not vinyl!
An added detail for more “wow” factor is the mural on the inside of the hood. Jeff Nolt of SpareTimeFab in Myerstown, PA, painstakingly recreated the truck in his painting. The detail in the hand-painted mural is unbelievable, and a testament to Jeff’s eye for the smallest details. Randy Martin, owner of SpareTimeFab, also redid the entire interior of the cab and sleeper. This included button-tuck panels on the dash, doors and the interior of the sleeper. SpareTimeFab also installed multiple dual color watermelon lights (amber and white) throughout the interior. Rounding out the interior of the sleeper is a 32-inch TV and a microwave.
Moving to the exterior, Hogebuilt stainless half fenders with blind mounts were installed over the drive axles, and J. Ferrell Custom Trucks installed an air-ride kit that really pulled the look together. The factory Kenworth stacks were retained with Dynaflex tips added. Take notice of the cab doors – they are the older style flat sill doors, which were ordered new from KW. All stainless and metal work was completed by Car Craft Truck Works in Staten Island, NY.
The trailer has been outfitted with a Quick Draw tarp system. Jeff Nolt from SpareTimeFab also painted “Jesus Paid It All” on the back of the trailer. This is a testament to the Diller family’s faith and one of the most important things they look to when making big decisions in their personal and business lives.
Why is this Lanita’s last hurrah? Well, for starters, it’s the end of the glider era. “Unturned stones encourage a guy to try again, but I am done,” said Scott. The unturned stones he is speaking of are all the ideas and details that went into this truck – and no details have been left out. Scott wanted to see if he could move his own personal bar one more time in the building of this truck and trailer. As far as inspiration, Scott had a lot of ideas floating around in his head over the last few years. Jim Higgins designed the exterior of the truck with Scott’s ideas in mind, and the final product is very close to what Jim originally came up with.
As far as the mural on the inside of the hood, it fit with the type of truck Scott was aiming for. The trucks of the era his inspiration came from often had murals, but Scott didn’t want to add anything to the exterior of the truck, so he decided to add the mural to the inside of the hood. It’s definitely an attention-getter and is sure to be a topic of conversation when the truck is finally shown!
The lucky driver who gets to pilot this beautiful rig down the road is Barry Kuhn Jr., who has been driving for Scott for the past 12 years.
To really accent the truck, we shot the pictures at SteelStacks in Bethlehem, PA. The miss-match of rusted metal and washed brick really brought out the color scheme of the combination. SteelStacks, part of the once mighty Bethlehem Steel Company, is now a ten-acre campus dedicated to art, community celebrations, culture, music, education and fun. The campus sits in the shadow of the blast furnaces of the former steel plant, and I have done several photo shoots there.
For over a century, the plant was the economic lifeblood of the region, employing tens of thousands of people while producing the steel that built our nation’s skyscrapers, bridges and even the U.S. Navy, helping win two World Wars in the process. In 1995, however, after a nearly 120-year history of steel production on the site, the plant closed its doors, leaving the region with a void that seemed impossible to fill.
Rather than demolish the historic mill or walk away and let it fall apart, the community rallied around the iconic plant, working hard to bring new life to the former industrial giant. Today, the site has been reborn through music and art, offering more than 1,000 concerts and eight different festivals annually.
Scott would like to thank Kloppy’s Custom Painting, Denver Truck Paining, Lanita Repair, Blue Mountain Polishing, Hoover’s Truck and Equipment, Jim Higgins, SpareTimeFab, Car Craft Truck Works, J. Ferrell Custom Trucks and Advanced Plating, for all the work they did to make this truck a reality. If this truly is Lanita’s last hurrah, they went out with a bang, because this Kenworth combination is truly amazing. Congrats to Scott Diller and everyone at Lanita Specialized for a job well-done. We hope to see this truck (and others) at a show somewhere, sometime soon.