Truck Thursday: Reader Submission: Home Built 5/8 Scale Peterbilt 18-Wheeler

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Few weeks ago reader Carl Wilson sent in pictures and a brief description of his friend’s Hoonable Forklift. In that email he included the following post script:

“P.S. I have built a 5/8 scale Peterbilt tractor and trailer, it is a diesel with a lot of red and shiny bits.”

I briefly sat motionless and blinked a few times while looking at that sentence. Then I promptly ask Carl for some pictures and more details. 

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There are kits that will transform a common full-size pickup into looking like a Peterbilt, but this is not one of these things. Carl built the truck himself in his garage over a five year period. The result is amazing. In Carl’s own words:

I tell people I washed it in hot water and left it in the dryer too long. The placard on the back of the cab says “Honey I Shrunk The Truck”

I have driven it over 10K trouble free miles and on one 400 mile day it did an actual 20 MPG without the trailer. I am a retired owner of a truck salvage, like the Johnny Cash Cadillac I took something home every night and this is the result… …Oh I forgot it also has heat gauges for each rear wheel, the 5 spd, D/O box and the rear 3rd. member, and exhaust temp pyrometer just to keep tabs on everything.

That sound you just heard? That was your biggest most ambitious automotive project bowing to the awesomeness that is Carl’s Peterbilt. 

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More details and tech specs on Carl’s Peterbilt:

  • Perkins 6-354 diesel motor.
  • 5 spd trans. with homemade direct-over box gives 10 spds.
  • 3:54 rear ratio gives a 60 mph cruise at 1700 rpm gov. at 2300 rpm.
  • Electric lift pony axle.
  • Electric tilt hood assembly.
  • Air bag ride front axle.
  • 4000 Watt Onan genset.
  • 120v Air conditioner under the sleeper.
  • 16″ tires all around
  • Heat gauges for each rear wheel
  • Air horns and train horns.

This is the kind of stuff that leaves me speechless. I look at this truck and I can’t help but that I will never create anything like this. All of my wrenching experience combined cannot sum up to more than a quarter of the work required to built something like this. Heck, probably much less than that, seeing as it is taking me two months to assemble a LEGO Unimog. 

Thank you for sending this in Carl and thank you for inspiring the rest of us to create, or finish creating, something great.

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