Craig Stewart 1971 Peterbilt 359 EXHD

Daily Big Rig: Craig Stewart’s 1971 Peterbilt 359 EXHD

In the world of trucking, classic rigs hold a special place in the hearts of enthusiasts and drivers alike. One such devoted fan of vintage trucks is Craig Stewart, the owner of Craig Stewart Trucking, based in Success, Missouri. While he operates a thriving one-truck business, hauling refrigerated cargo mostly between Missouri and Florida with his trusty 1987 Peterbilt 359, he also has an eye for preserving the heritage of American trucking. Among his collection of classic iron, his 1971 Peterbilt 359 EXHD stands as a testament to his dedication and passion for vintage trucks.

The Acquisition of a Classic Gem:

Craig Stewart’s journey with his 1971 Peterbilt 359 began at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The truck, originally a day cab, had already received some attention from its previous owner. However, for Stewart, it was a canvas waiting for him to transform into a masterpiece. He recounted, “It was a nice ride when I got it, but I redid a lot.”

The Personal Touch:

Stewart’s vision for the 1971 Peterbilt 359 involved adding a 36-inch crawl-through sleeper, making it a more versatile and comfortable ride. He shared his commitment to personalizing the truck, stating, “He did a lot of stuff to it, then we redid a lot of stuff.” While the work done by the previous owner wasn’t entirely out of Stewart’s style, he had specific changes in mind.

The sleeper, a 1975 or 1976 model, was purchased for a modest $250. However, its condition required a significant investment to bring it up to the desired standard. To ensure that everything fit seamlessly, Stewart had to lower the bunk, altering the truck’s original configuration.

Apart from the sleeper, Stewart undertook several other customizations. He personally handled the interior of the sleeper, revamped the side steps of the cab, and relocated the stacks from the rear to the side of the truck. These alterations not only enhanced the truck’s aesthetics but also improved its functionality and comfort.

From Hauling Reefer to Farm Duty:

Initially, Stewart had planned to replace his daily driver, the 1987 Peterbilt 359, with the 1971 model for his reefer-hauling operations. However, due to the ever-changing landscape of the trucking market and freight rates, he decided to keep the ’71 on his farm for the time being. With farm tags, it now serves a dual purpose on his 140-acre hay farm.

Impressively, Stewart is confident in the performance of his classic rig, stating, “I wouldn’t be afraid to drive it anywhere.” This sentiment speaks volumes about the enduring reliability and allure of vintage trucks like the 1971 Peterbilt 359 EXHD.

Craig Stewart’s 1971 Peterbilt 359 EXHD is not just a vintage truck; it’s a testament to the enduring appeal of classic iron in the world of trucking. His commitment to preserving and enhancing the truck’s legacy showcases the passion and dedication that many truck enthusiasts share. As long as collectors like Stewart continue to breathe new life into these old machines, the spirit of the open road will always be intertwined with the timeless allure of classic trucks.

More photos and our thanks to “Custom Rigs.”



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