Drivers of trucking’s past may have heard the name “Lucille” while out on the road or in the old trucking song by Ray Carlisle, which is how this white and brown 1993 Peterbilt 379 got her name. Dillon “Dill” McKinney (20) is the second generation at McKinney & Sons Transfer out of Lexington, AL and owner of The Real Dill Polishing Shop. Dill’s dad, David, said to his son, “Since you are the Real Dill (in a very strong Alabama accent it sounds like deal), the truck should be The Real Lucille.”
I first met Dill, along with his parents David and Connie, at the 2018 Guilty By Association Truck Show in Joplin, MO. It was at that show I caught a glimpse of the teamwork David and Dill had in getting their trucks all dialed in. Over the last couple years, it wasn’t just getting to know this family, but also forming a lifelong friendship.
Connie told me Dill took his first ride in a truck around 18 months old all the way out to Ventura, CA. From the start of the trip, he had to sit on his dad’s lap, and if he was moved, he threw a fit. Dill remembers his dad coming home mid-week and on Saturdays, which always meant it was time to wash, and he learned early what it meant to take pride in your truck. By age seven, he was riding with his dad on Saturday runs from Nashville, TN to Murfreesboro, TN and helping unload and reload.
Dill always loved big trucks, but it wasn’t until he was around 14 years old that he really started to appreciate them. At that time, he was already shuffling trucks for the company and learning how to change tires. After that, he learned how to do brake jobs and began working in the shop full time during summers, nights, and weekends during the school year. Once Dill got his license, he would drive to M&M Repair, owned by Keven Mclaughlin, on the weekends to learn more about wrenching on the trucks. He attended his first show in 2015, which was the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, KY and in 2016, at the same show a year later, he helped David prep a truck for the first time.
Getting the opportunity to become an electrician, Dill caught on quickly. He was hired on with a local company after he graduated from high school. Even though David had encouraged Dill to follow this path of being an electrician, Dill said he wanted to truck and be a part of the family business. After two months of working at the local company, he was offered a driving job for a local farmer, pulling a hopper bottom, after obtaining his Class B CDL in April 2019. As most know, insurance companies want at least two verified years of driving experience, which Dill didn’t technically have, which made him uninsurable. At that point, he returned to McKinney & Sons Transfer, determined to move forward as part of the company, for the rest of his life, like he always wanted to.
The aforementioned “The Real Dill Polishing Shop” was started as a means to earn some extra money, which he credits his learning to the support and direction from Evan Steger of Evan’s Detailing and Polishing out of Chilton, WI. He would polish trucks every once in a while, and eventually David started having Dill polish all of the company trucks, as well.
David refers to Lucille as “the bleeding ulcer” because she has given him and Dill a run for their money since purchasing it in June 2018. David had seen the truck posted for sale in Pennsylvania on the Facebook marketplace. He figured it may be worth it, considering he had plenty of parts for a C Model Caterpillar motor at the shop, and this truck had a 3406C. The goal was to find a truck almost identical to what Dill grew up riding in – a truck we featured in the October 2019 edition (Believing in Bertha) – and build it into a cool truck for Dill to work every day.
The truck originally had a 63” stand-up sleeper, but David wanted a 36” bunk. The truck was located near where his brother and sister-in-law live, so he flew up to Pennsylvania. His brother took him to look at a 36” bunk he also found on Facebook, and he made a deal with the owner, pending the purchase of the rig. David’s sister-in-law drove him to look at the truck the next day, and David was a little shocked at the shape it was in, compared to the pictures he had seen. He told the owner that he didn’t believe they would be able to make a deal with the selling price versus what David was willing to spend, given the truck’s condition.
Planning to fly back to Alabama the following day, the owner wanted the rig gone, so they made a deal. From there, David left with the truck and headed to Pittsburgh to get that 36” sleeper, which he tied behind the 63” sleeper on the truck. As you might imagine (or can see in one of the photos), it was quite the sight to see! It was also June, and the truck’s A/C was not working. David made it to Columbus, OH when it not only started raining, but he learned that the windshield wipers didn’t work, either. After waiting the rain out, David applied some Rain-X to the windshield and then continued south. But this wasn’t the last problem on that trip. About 15 miles from home, on a very dark back road in Alabama, the headlights went out. David had to stop and fix the relay on the headlights, and then finally made it home just as the sun was coming up. Later, when they put it in the shop, they ended up doing a complete out of frame rebuild on the motor. Every nut and bolt on this truck has been touched, but she is still giving them some grief.
With a long drawn out process of rebuilding this truck, patience finally got the best of Dill, and he decided it was time for him to purchase a truck of his own. Dill was getting very antsy waiting for the truck to get finished, so he started looking for another one. In January of 2020, David spotted a 379 on Facebook Marketplace. This particular 1993 black 379 was located just 20 miles away and, on that very same day (January 29, 2020), they went to look at the truck and brought it home with them.
Dill brings a whole new meaning to “ballin’ on a budget” because what he has done to this black 379 has turned it into a really good truck. He began by degreasing the truck, then he washed and polished the exterior. Pulling all the seats out, he scrubbed everything and installed some factory seats David had from another truck. To add to the charm of this truck, the company name was hand-painted on the doors of the truck. Within four days, Dill had a driver in the truck, and it was pulling one of their customer’s trailers.
There was only one issue with this deal – the truck was only able to haul one way, which meant it was losing money. Dill really wanted a new trailer to pull behind the truck, but he had a limited budget, so he bought the best used trailer he could find that matched the truck. He had seen the trailer not far from where he lives, and an older man who was getting out of the business had it for sale. He paid cash for this trailer with money he had saved from polishing on the side, as well as other savings.
What you see now is a black 1993 Peterbilt 379 pulling a 2008 Fontaine Velocity trailer, with a C15 CAT 6NZ, 18-speed transmission, 3:70 rears, 265” wheelbase, and just the right amount of chrome. The steel wheels were replaced with aluminum wheels, Peterbilt mud flaps were installed all around, and then some old school pinstriping by Kenny Campbell (who also painted the door logos) was added to bring it all together. Dill named the truck “Otis” because it was the previous owner’s CB handle, which Dill had discovered while peeling off the old lettering. Connie came into the shop and said, “There is the truck’s name!” The purchase of this combo has definitely helped Dill to appreciate the work and money going into Lucille.
As previously mentioned, Lucille is also a 1993 Peterbilt 379 with a 3406C 425 CAT under the hood, a 15-speed, 3:55 rears and a 270” wheelbase. There are plenty of items on this truck made by RoadWorks including the battery box, steps, 7” miter-cut exhaust kit, visor, front and rear bumper. The truck also sports Talladega Fiberglass rear fenders, rims by American Racing Wheels, and Legacy Lo seats. Dill always liked the brown and tan stripes on the old 359s, so from that he came up with a color scheme that definitely stands out, which is a base color of Cadillac Pearl White, with Legendary Brown stripes, outlined with a nice copper color.
The interior of Lucille has two-inch double-stitched diamonds throughout the entire inside, which is the same type of interior you’d find in the Ford King Ranch truck cabs. Connie was not so sure about the interior choice and was worried that all the stitching lines would not line up properly. But, remarkably, this interior looks like it is all one sheet and it lined up perfectly throughout the entire cab and sleeper. Tim from Tim’s Upholstery always does something a little extra for his customers, including custom pieces that you just can’t go out and buy somewhere. When they picked up the truck, Tim had installed “Lucille” step plates, which look awesome. Dill wanted to incorporate all the American Class interior badges into the project, because you always knew it was a nice truck when you opened up the door and saw an American Class interior.
Talking to David about Dill, he said, “He was born grown, but he just had to get bigger.” He also said that all of the drivers respect Dill, not because he is David’s son, but because he has worked hard and worked his way up, without anything being handed to him, and he is quick to respond when drivers have a tire blowout or breakdown, no matter the time of the day. David is very proud of Dill and made sure to instill in him a solid work ethic and the understanding that the work always needs to be done first before it is time to play.
Lucille is truck number 21 for the second-generation company, and Dill’s Otis is number 22. There is something to be said about multiple generations of family coming up and continuing the family legacy. Dill purchased Otis, but it is a McKinney & Sons Transfer Truck. Today, 20-year-old Dill takes care of all the truck maintenance, except for the major truck repair work. He has worked his way up to where he is, and the next phase is trucking. Dill isn’t arrogant nor does he act like a know-it-all kid, but he is respectful, hard-working, and has a real willingness to lend a helping hand whenever it is needed.
Lucille is by no means complete yet. Since the original plan of unveiling her at MATS 2020 came to a screeching halt, so did their immediate need to complete the project. However, since shooting the truck, some new pinstriping has been added, and they changed out many of the lights. Keep your eye out next year for the finished product.
Special thanks from Dill go out to Roadworks Manufacturing, Dave Hall with American Racing Wheels, Rush Peterbilt of Nashville, Tim’s Upholstery in Adamsville, TN, M&M Repair, and his dad David, because if it wasn’t for him, Dill wouldn’t have his knowledge, work ethic, and love for trucks.
Thank you to the McKinney’s for their hospitality and, most importantly, for their continued friendship. Thank you to Dill for the opportunity to tell your story and, even though your history isn’t long in the industry yet, you still have the ability to inspire those around you. As always, to all the drivers out there doing the deal, truck safe.