Between 1967-1987, Peterbilt produced the well-known classic Peterbilt 359.
It was the first long hood truck built by them and it developed quite a loyal fan base and following over the years.
The 359 Peterbilt looked like a big truck was meant to look like back then. It was big, long, low and powerful.
However, these trucks certainly had their issues. Many of them had quite a rough ride….in fact, so rough that they would shake their body rivets loose after awhile and the body panels would actually start to shift around under the rivets… sometimes scraping off the paint underneath.
The 359’s were often plagued with electrical issues as well. But these flaws didn’t dissuade the loyal fans.
In 1977, the company introduced a new dash style in the 359, that became known as the corvette dash, because of the round hump shape, similar to that of the early Corvettes.
The End of An Era: Peterbilt 359 Trucks Are No Longer in Production
In July 1986, the manufacturer officially announced their intentions of producing these special classic Peterbilt 359 numbered trucks, as the last manufactured 359’s.
1987 was the final year of the production for the 359 model. To add to the company truck sales, they announced the last three hundred and fifty nine trucks off the assembly line, would be numbered, and would referred to as ‘359 Classics’.
Numbered Classic 359 Features
1987 Numbered 359 Pete, #345:
This is an old school style truck, a 1987 Peterbilt Model 359, Classic, #345, powered by 444 Cummins, 13 speed. The truck is owned and operated by John Pompeo, a 33 year experienced truck driver.
What a stellar looking Peterbilt this is…. a really looker…. obviously well maintained and cared for by John, who hails from New Jersey, U.S.A.
I really love these older model trucks…. in many ways, more so than the newer models. I thought it was such a shame that Peterbilt stopped manufacturing the 359 model….a big mistake in my opinion. I guess good things don’t last forever.
John claims this 1987 Peterbilt model 359, is one of the classic Peterbilt numbered trucks: #345. These numbered trucks were the last run of the 359’s, before the company stopped making them.
They were supposedly only pumping out 359 of them, but they manufactured many more than that… in the thousands, I understand.
The 359 units however, the authentic ones, have become more valuable and are collector items for big rig enthusiasts.
There has been much controversy around the authenticity of this run of trucks. Fake ID tags have been fixed to some trucks to pass them off as numbered trucks, to pull in more money for resale….. a pretty dirty trick.
The best way to identify an authentic numbered classic 359 Peterbilt, is to match the ID numbers up through an official Peterbilt dealer. When they look up the numbers for parts for the truck, it will show in the search…. then it can be truly classified as an authentic classic 359 numbered truck.
This truck of John’s is a beauty, as you can see. It’s evidently in top notch condition ……a 27 year old truck in mint condition. It’s amazing that a truck of 27 years can look better than some of the newer trucks… helps when the owner is meticulous about the maintenance and general care of the vehicle, too.
It’s an old school style with a very slick paint scheme. We don’t see many short hood trucks like this one around… quite unique. She doesn’t seem to lack for power either, with a mechanical Cummins engine…. pre-emissions…just the way we like ’em.
I have a friend who owned a nice Pete, also a 1987, model 359, which he rebuilt from a junk yard truck. What a machine THAT thing was!
These older trucks were great because the average trucker with some mechanical knowledge was better equipped to do some minor repairs.
Nowadays, with more electronics and most of the engine etc. computerized, prevents the truck driver from working on his own truck. Repairs as a result cost so much more than 20 yrs ago, mostly because it takes specialized mechanics to work on these computerized engine… something the trucker isn’t able to do.
Owned by John Pompeo, Owner Operator
The ‘Classics’ were a loaded, chromed up long-hood truck with dual exhaust, aluminum fenders and hood, dual stainless breathers, stainless visor, dual polished round headlight pots, custom mudflaps, air horns, lights, 29″ 150 gallon polished tanks and wheels, loaded 63″ flat top bunks, with black and gray interior, all 1987 by year.
Some of these classic custom semi trucks were built with 2 stick transmissions, making them even more rare.
A commemorative set of hood emblems were installed and a commemorative plaque was fixed on the dash stating the number of the truck in the last of the run.
Of course in later years, many owners of ’87 359’s claimed to have one of the special classic numbered trucks. Some did. Some disappointed owners, did not.
8,844 of the special 359 custom Peterbilt rigs, were built in the final year of production, but the numbered classics could still be checked on a factory list by their serial number of authenticity. To this day, there are mixed stories floating around about just how many of these trucks were released.
However, a true Classic Peterbilt supposedly will show up on Peterbilt’s computerized list, as a Classic.
These trucks rivaled the long hood Kenworth W900A, for that long hood presence on the highways and were a coveted truck to own both then and now, for die-hard old school truckers.
I’ve heard most of these classic numbered Petes are in pretty rough shape, sad to say.