In the 1930s T.A Peterman was a successful lumberman and plywood manufacturer in he Tacoma, Wash. area. He found that removing the cut trees from the forests and transporting them to the mills was extremely difficult and very labor intensive. In those days delivery the logs fro the lumber industry was by means of floating them downriver or haling them by horse teams or steam tractors, all of which were far too slow to satisfy the needs of Mr. Peterman.
In order to speed up the delivery process, Peterman took maters into his own hands. He began purchasing surplus military trucks and experimented with modifying them to meet his needs. He continued to make improvements to these trucks over the years. However, realizing the limitations of the modified military trucks, in 1938 he bought the assets of Fageol Motors truck company, which was in receivership at the time. Using that company's manufacturing equipment, he could now begin custom building truck chassis for use in his logging business. In 1939 Peterman named his new company Peterbilt and actually began selling his heavy duty trucks to the public.
Unfortunately, Mr. Peterman died in 1944. His wife then sold the company to its seven managers, who continued to expand the heavy duty truck business. In 1958, the owners made the decision to sell the company to Pacific Car & Foundry Company (later to become PACCAR in 1972). PACCAR was a manufacturer of railroad boxcars, buses and trolleys at the time but was wanting to expand into the trucking industry, so this was a great opportunity for all parties.
Peterbilt model numbers typically started with a '2' for single drive rear axle models and a '3' for dual-drive rear axle models. This numbering system was eliminated by the end of the 1970s. The Peterbilt Model 351 was introduced in 1954 and was notable for being the model with the longest production run of any truck models in Peterbilt history. The classic narrow-nosed butterfly hood, new radiator assembly, small round headlamps mounted to the rear of the radiator, wide-set tow pin locations, and dual-drive axle gave this truck a distinctive appearance and became extremely popular among truckers. It also featured the new Peterbilt oval logo which had just been created in 1953.
First Gear is very pleased to announce that the latest addition to our 1/64 scale vintage semi cab product line is an authentic replica of the renowned Peterbilt Model 351. Our diecast metal collectible Model 351 will be available in three cab versions -- as a day cab, a 36" sleeper cab, or a 63" sleeper cab -- with either a long or short frame option. In addition to the authentic design, features include a detailed cab interior with dashboard, steering wheel, gear shifter, and brake lever; undercarriage detail including the drive shaft, front and rear axle, front and rear suspension, engine block detail, mudflaps, and hydraulic fluid tank. There are many chrome parts including the air horn, right and left fuel tanks, battery box, air cleaner, exhaust stack, front bumper, visor, grille, hood ornament, side mirrors, etc. That's a lot of detail!
New model combinations utilizing this new tractor will be released throughout the year and we hope each of them finds their way into your collection!
CLICK HERE to see all Peterbilt models currently available by First Gear, including the new Peterbilt Model 351 and more!