Famous Trucks – 1960 Peterbilt 281

The high desert of California.  A double lane highway of twisting mountain roads through hot, arid, undeveloped land.  It’s just you and your trusty Plymouth on a routine business trip.  Your only connection to outside world is the yamar of the radio which soon gives way to static as you trek deeper into the desert.  Heading up a step mountain grade you approach a old semi truck laboring with its’ load.  There are no visible markings on the old, filthy truck.  Nothing but rust and grime from years of use.  Black smoke poors from the stack as the driver down shifts to gain more power.  You move to the left hand side of the road to pass.  Your car has the advantage and soon the truck is fading away in your rear view mirror and your mind.  It won’t be long until you cross paths with the truck again but under completely different circumstances that will change your life forever.

The events are a loose interpretation of the opening scenes from the movie Duel starring Denis Weaver and a 1960 Peterbilt 281. Steven Spielberg’s directorial debut featured a man (Weaver) fighting a never seen trucker and his rig in a bid for survival.  Two trucks, maybe four, were built for the movie and one survived the fiery climatic end.  Spielberg himself picked the truck from the Universal back lot from a collection of cabovers.  In his eyes the Peterbilt was the only truck that had the right look, the one of raw, dangerous, mechanical terror.  Originally a made for TV special Duel eventually made it to the big screen around the U.S. and the world and met with critical praise.

You can read more about this old monster here.

And of course, here is the trailer for the movie.

For us truck obsessed fools this movie is near perfection as the Peterbilt has top billing. No where else will you see an old truck put through the paces like that of scenes form Duel. There is also plenty of vintage iron through out the movie with a heavy showing of light line International trucks. Not to mention the performance by Weaver is fantastic and of course Spielberg delivers on the camera shots and direction. I also need to point out there would be no movie if it was not for the short story of Richard Matheson from which the screen play was adapted. RENT OR BUY THIS FILM TODAY!

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