1948 Peterbilt of Jason Nickels 2
Awesome 1948 Peterbilt 270DD

Big Rig Daily: Jason Nickels and His 1948 Peterbilt 270DD

In classic trucks, few stories are as heartwarming as that of Jason Nickels and his meticulously restored 1948 Peterbilt 270DD. This vintage beauty, lovingly resurrected by Jason, is not just a symbol of his passion for big rigs; it’s also a tribute to his father, Ron Nickels, who initially breathed life into this timeless piece of automotive history. Based in Missouri, Jason Nickels, a skilled diesel mechanic, has brought his father’s legacy back into the public eye, allowing us to marvel at the artistry that once defined the trucking industry.

A Father’s Dream

When Ron Nickels first laid eyes on the 1948 Peterbilt, it was far from the showpiece it would later become. He stumbled upon this classic gem in a salvage yard just north of Joplin. Determined to resurrect it, Ron embarked on a journey that would span five years, eventually completing the restoration project in 1989. Little did he know that his efforts would result in a family heirloom that would capture the hearts of truck enthusiasts for generations to come.

The Glory Days

Throughout the 1990s, Ron’s 1948 Peterbilt was a showstopper. It turned heads at truck shows, parades, and on highways alike. The gleaming chrome accents, the stainless steel firewall, and the meticulously designed air-leaf suspension were testaments to Ron’s dedication to perfection. The 90-inch sleeper, initially purchased as a shell, was painstakingly outfitted with oak cabinets by Ron himself. It was a truck that stood out for its visual appeal and the craftsmanship that went into every detail.

A New Beginning

The year 2001 it marked a turning point for Ron’s beloved Peterbilt. Due to various circumstances, the truck was parked in a barn and largely forgotten. It remained dormant for nearly two decades, waiting for someone to resurrect its former glory. That someone turned out to be Jason, Ron’s son and a skilled diesel mechanic with a deep-seated passion for trucks.

In 2021, Jason decided to breathe life back into the family treasure. He pulled the ’48 Pete out of the barn, dusted off the cobwebs, and, with a sense of nostalgia, fired up the engine. The goal was clear: to restore the truck to its former glory, preserving it as a “time capsule” of his father’s work.

Preserving the Legacy

Jason’s restoration efforts were a labor of love and a testament to his father’s memory. He meticulously preserved the truck’s original features, ensuring that it closely resembled how it was when Ron initially completed the restoration. One of the most significant changes involved the drivetrain. Originally equipped with a Waukesha gas engine, Ron replaced it with a 3408 Cat engine with a 15-speed main transmission and 4-speed auxiliary, providing the truck with the power it deserved.

Inside the cab, the ’48 Peterbilt boasts a wooden dash and oak cabinets, both of which were added by Ron himself. The sleeper is equipped with modern amenities, including a microwave and refrigerator, blending the past’s charm with the present’s comforts. Jason’s personal touch included swapping the water bed for a regular mattress, ensuring a comfortable night’s rest for future journeys.

A Tribute Well Earned

As a final touch, Jason paid homage to his father’s legacy by affixing a small, humble plate under the passenger-side window, proudly proclaiming, “1948 Peterbilt – Built by Ron Nickels.” It’s a simple but powerful statement that encapsulates the love and dedication poured into this restoration project. It is a testament to the bond between a father and son through their shared passion for trucks.

The story of Jason Nickels and his 1948 Peterbilt 270DD is more than just a tale of a beautifully restored truck; it’s a testament to the enduring spirit of craftsmanship and dedication that defines the world of classic trucks. Through his tireless efforts, Jason has brought a piece of automotive history back to life and preserved his father’s legacy for future generations to admire and cherish. The ’48 Pete, with its gleaming chrome, wooden dash, and oak cabinets, stands as a beacon of nostalgia and a symbol of family bonds forged in the heart of the American trucking industry.

More photos and our thanks to “Custom Rigs.”



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