Peterbilt Trucks – There's No One Quite Like A Peterbilt Truck Owner
A Peterbilt Truck owner. Proud. Loyal. Hardworking. Determined. With Peterbilt owners, it's evident in everything they do, right down to the care, attention and semi truck accessories that they add into and outside their trucks.
The red oval logo bearing the name 'Peterbilt' in cursive handwriting may not be of much significance to a man on the street. But the same logo for a truck lover symbolizes premium quality trucks, a penchant for coming up with something new and going at lengths for giving the customers an out of the world experience, even if it means sending engineers onto the field. Well, we are referring to Peterbilt, a renamed name in the world of heavy-duty truck manufacturers.
However, a sneak peek at the history of Peterbilt reveals that it has not been a walk in the clouds for this legendary truck manufacturer. In fact, unlike cars, motor trucks never had a smooth start. During the early 1900s, railroads were used for carrying goods cross-country. Similarly, rivers, canals and horses were other popular means of transportation. In addition, the lack of motor- ready roads meant that there were few takers for motor trucks.
However, the sunset of First World War proved to a blessing in disguise for motor trucks. Railroads were providing insufficient for the transportation of food, war supplies and other material. This meant that more and more trucks were pressed into service by the government. The government also took steps to build highways and quality roads. By the time the war, ended, motor trucks had cemented their place as an important means of transportation.
The growth juggernaut continued rolling well after the First World War. However, the Great Depression bought mixed baggage for truck manufacturers. While some brands were registering growth, there were others like Fageol, which became bankrupt.
Fageol was soon greeted by TA Peterman, a logger and plywood manufacturer from Tacoma, Washington. His lumber business was registering a phenomenal growth and hence he was looking for creating custom chain drive logging trucks. Fageol was later re-christened as the company chairman.
Peterman concentrated on quality rather than quantity. When rivals like Ford were coming out with 100 trucks a day, Peterbilt was rolling just 100 trucks a year. Soon it etched a special place in the hearts of truck lovers.
Peterbilt was one of the first companies that sent out its engineers to get a first hand experience of the problems faced by trucks and make appropriate modifications from the field. This further enabled Peterbilt to climb up the loyalty charts with trucking companies and individual semi truck owner operators.
The death of Peterman in 1945 saw the ownership passing into the hands of his widow, Ida. She sold the assets to the employees of Peterbilt, but not the land. Later in 1958, she announced her plans of building a shopping center on the plant site. This put the new owners into quandary. To avoid the possibility of large and long-term debt, the company was put up for sale. It was later acquired by Pacific Car and Foundry, which owned Kenworth trucks.
Later, it went on to come up with many innovative strategies, like using aluminum to reduce cab and chassis weight and increasing payload capacity, manufacturing trucks for use in transportation refuse, introducing right-hand stand-up drive capabilities etc.
Peterbilt still continues to mesmerize truck lovers with constant innovations and practical approach to truck manufacturing.