I watched a YouTube video of a guy restoring a 1977 Peterbilt 359 last night.

I looked at some eBay Motors auctions and was surprised just how cheap a running 359 can be.

So it gave me a bad idea.  I ran it by the wife this morning, and she said “Ugh.”

I want some reader’s opinions.

Keep in mind, I don’t want to do this now, this will take some money so it is most likely a pipe dream, but still.

I want to get a 359 with a sleeper cab.  Have it restored with the vibrant color, two tone, metallic paint job of a classic 359.  Rebuild the engine, transmission, brakes, make sure the whole truck is back to like new.

Then I want to find a coach builder or body shop that can fabricate me a sheet metal and pickup bed for it like a 1970 Ford F100 stepside.

Have a sleeper cab pickup truck with a 270 inch wheelbase.

Getting the truck should be cheap.  Having it restored will be a bear.

I figure if I am making the kind of bank where I could buy a fully dressed Mercedes S-Class, I would rather have something like this done for me.

It would be unique.

Or am I just bat-poop crazy?

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By J. Kb

19 thoughts on “Reader’s opinion on a [bad] idea.”
  1. You are bat-poop crazy, yes. But you knew that already, right ?

    I understand your standard driver’s licence doesn’t have a gross weight limit, hence bus-sized campers.
    And you can register a 18-wheeler for personal use (it seems you get a NOT FOR HIRE sticker from DoT) just like a Camry.

    Here in Europe standard DL is only for up to 3.5 tonnes. Extra permits and exams required for trailers, trucks up to 7.5 tonnes, trucks above 7.5t, truck and trailer combos, buses .. ?

  2. Not a bad idea at all.
    However, a lot depends on how much you enjoy putting things together, only to spend hours taking them apart again because someone (not going to mention names here) forgot the lock washer on one of the internals. (Mentioning it because it happened to a friend)

    Restoration of a classic/old vehicle is extremely satisfying, and doing your own customization is even more fun.

    But, it can get VERY pricey. The big parts are cheap (relatively speaking to the overall project.) the stuff you need to replace, the specialized tools, the interface and mounting parts, etc… all of them will add up to a cost that far exceeds the truck body and engine/trans.

    If you are comparing it to a S-Class fully tricked out, then you will be fine. If you are comparing it to a VW camper van, you will be quite a bit less wealthy at the end of the project.

    Good luck!
    Post pictures.

  3. From a guy that drives a 21 year old jeep in moderately good condition: This is not something you want to do if you’re going to have to pay someone else to do it.

  4. I saw one with the sleeper removed and a Winnebago over cab camper body mounted to it. If you want a large pickup, I’d look at the IH with the DT365 series Detroit motor. The one I saw was a crewcab 4×4. It’s about the size of a Ford F600.

  5. Instead of fabricating a bed, get a couple 8 foot Dodge beds ( I know you have a power wagon) and section them to fit the length and weld them up. I think its an awsome idea. I had the thought of turnin one into an RV with a ramp body on back for the car. And we ALL bat poop crazy these days, keeps us from goin postal!

  6. It’s doable but you need a large garage and some sort crane to handle the larger parts. I have seen rigs built two ways, an actual heavy truck with pickup box or RV body or a scaled down version using a regular pickup chassis with either a cut down truck cab or a replica cab. All you need is time and money.
    My favorite example of a mini big rig is the scaled down Freightliner cabover at the Pacific Northwest Truck Museum. This was built by Hyster in the late 60s and was actually used as a working truck for a while.

  7. Yes it’s probably nuts, however I would like to get a freightliner m2 single axle tractor, convert it to 4×4 with a short flat bed. Be great in Illinois winter

  8. M925 5ton 6×6… M35 duece n a half.. I better stop… this is gonna get way bat poop deep heh heh. Warms me heart to find out Im not the only one wants to build an urban assualt vehicle..

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