T. A. Peterman needed a better truck to haul logs in the northwest, so after experimenting and then acquiring Fageol Motors, he came up with a formula to create rugged, tough trucks to battle curvaceous, undependable mountain roads, earning the nickname ‘betterbuilt’ trucks. Peterman died in 1945, but management helped make Peterbilt a serious producer of heavy-duty trucks up to its sale to PACCAR in the late 1950s. In August 1960 Peterbilt moved to a new facility and became a division of PACCAR, carrying on its own tradition while retaining its product line. A western builder, Peterbilt’s popularity escalated throughout the states through the 1960s, leading the company to start a new plant in Tennessee by the end of the decade. At the height of their popularity, Peterbuilts are portrayed through large format photographs taken at the time when these heavy haulers were put to work. See them in action and read about both the trucks and owners who operated them.
Ron Adams is a lifelong big truck enthusiast who has spent many years amassing an archive of vintage truck photos. His books include 100 Years of Semi Trucks, Big Rigs of the 1950s, Big Rigs of the 1960s, Semi Trucks of the 1970s, Semi Trucks of the West, and Mack Trucks. He lives in Lenhartsville, Pennsylvania.