American Trucker magazine’s 2010 Readers’ Rigs Grand Champion is a 2003-model Peterbilt 379 owned and operated by Kirby Martin out of Gettysburg, PA.
Appropriately named “Old School,” Martin’s truck follows classic squared-off lines that are rapidly vanishing from this industry and is powered by a 550 hp C-15 caterpillar (painted white , the original color of Cat's growling diesel behemoths) married to a manual 18-speed Eaton Fuller gearbox.
Martin's 46-inch all-aluminum sleeper bunk again harkens back to trucking's past, when sleeper berths were smaller, no-frills affairs. All the “silver” on Martin's truck, by the way, is aluminum -- except for the Hogebuilt half-fenders on the rear tandem axles, which are stainless steel. “It’s really hard to beat the look of black and silver,” Martin explains. “In fact, I had the frame painted electric blue to help the black and silver stand out more.”
“Subtle” is Martin’s watchword when it comes to style. For example, "Old School's" understated black dashboard with gauges trimmed in chrome help the electric blue on the floorboards stand out that much more, he says.
Don't let the spic and span metal and rubber fool you, though: Martin’s rig is no show truck. Old School has 790,200 miles on the odometer from long years spent hauling horse feed and other agricultural goods across Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey.
Martin and his truck also reside but a stone's throw from one of the most famous battlefields in American history: Gettysburg. For three days, Union and Confederate armies brutally slugged it out in this now-quiet nest of gentle Pennsylvania hills -- a clash that many consider to be the turning point in the Civil War. This is a view of the visitor center that stand's near the center of where that titanic struggle occurred.