A Brand Built to Last
Peterbilt was founded in 1939 and has been the Class of the trucking industry ever since. For 80 years, Peterbilt has been creating purpose-built vehicles crafted to stand the test of time.
Early years: 1939-1957
The legend begins in the forests of the Pacific Northwest, with the vision and expertise of T.A. Peterman. After years in the logging industry, Peterman founds Peterbilt in 1939. Peterbilt trucks are innovative from the beginning, with the dual-drive, lightweight Model 334 with its all-steel cab, as well as the chain-drive Model 260.
Peterbilt puts its growing expertise at the service of its country. The Model 364 is manufactured and put into military service, becoming a dependable workhorse in the nation’s war effort.
With the end of the war comes the opportunity for innovation. Peterbilt introduces the Model 350 in the late 1940s, later updated to feature the unique bubble-nose, cab-over-engine design. Meanwhile, the Model 351 is introduced in 1954, beginning the longest production run in company history.
As Peterbilt grows, so does its reputation. With Peterbilt trucks being demanded and sold nationwide, the increasingly iconic brand needed a logo to match. 1953 saw the debut of the Peterbilt red oval – the same logo that has graced the front of every Peterbilt truck since.
Pacific Car & Foundry (PACCAR) acquires Peterbilt, beginning a relationship that has lasted for 60 years and counting. Originally a maker of railway and logging equipment, PACCAR has grown to become one of the largest commercial vehicle manufacturers in the world.
The 1960s see a renewed focus on manufacturing and craftsmanship. Peterbilt pioneers the strong, lightweight aluminum cab on models such as the Model 352, with its 90-degree tilt UniLite cab. The classic Model 359 rolls out in 1967. And on the Model 358, the classic Peterbilt bird hood ornament first takes flight.
The trucking industry grows and with it comes a new and distinctively American culture – a culture Peterbilt’s unmistakable style helps to shape. Pacific Car & Foundry Company is renamed as PACCAR Inc.
Peterbilt’s state-of-the-art manufacturing facility opens in Denton, Texas in 1980, increasing Peterbilt’s manufacturing capabilities and paving the way for revolutionary new designs. Peterbilt’s relationship with the Lone Star State deepens when the corporate head office moves to Denton in 1992.
Into the future: 1981-today
Peterbilt introduces one of the most iconic trucks in history: the Model 379. An unmistakable vehicle that defines on highway trucks for more than a generation, the 379 goes on to become the most popular owner-operated truck of all time, and becomes an enduring favorite on the show truck circuit.
Applying craftsmanship and expertise honed over decades, Peterbilt seizes a new opportunity: the medium duty market. Peterbilt makes a strong entrance with the introduction of the Model 330, following up with the ideal combination of form and function in the Model 387.
The PACCAR global expertise yields rich dividends with the introduction of the PACCAR MX engine, and the opening of a purpose-built PACCAR manufacturing facility in Columbus, Mississippi. With the introduction of the MX-13 in 2013 comes a new level of in efficiency, reliability and performance.
Always a proud manufacturer, Peterbilt increasingly becomes a technology company in the endless quest for improvement. New trucks such as the Model 579 – the Class of the on highway market – and the vocational Model 567 increasingly deliver value through technological advancement. The introduction of the Model 579 UltraLoft in 2018 builds upon the success of the 579 to provide the ultimate level of driver comfort and the distinctive style and quality Peterbilt is known for. Also in 2018, an integrated PACCAR Powertrain is completed with the launch of the PACCAR automated manual transmission, which offers robust performance, improved fuel economy and weight reduction benefits.