Specs - 1960 Peterbilt 281
1960 Peterbilt 281

Current Engine:  Cummins NTC 350 Small Cam Inline 6 cylinder, turbo charged, 350 bhp

Original Engine:  Cummins 262, Inline 6 cylinder, turbo charged, 262 bhp

Main Transmission:  5 Speed Spicer

Aux. Transmission:  3 Speed Brown-Lipe "Brownie"

Steer Axle:  Rockwell FE900N  (no steer axle brakes)

Drive Axle:  Rockwell R170 5.34 ratio

Tag Axle:  Rockwell

Rear Suspension:  Page & Page 60/40 spring suspension

Construction:  Steel frame    Aluminum cab, butterfly hood and fenders

Mileage: 1,013,000 original miles

Top Speed:  74 m.p.h. (paced on I-15 somewhere between Apple Valley and Barstow....allegedly)

Fuel Mileage:
Open Road 5.1 mpg
Frenchman's Pass  1.1 mpg

1948 Fruehauf Tank Trailer

Capacity:  7000 Gallons

Length:  33 Feet Overall Length

Number of Product Compartments:  5

Construction:  Steel

Suspension:  Page & Page 60/40 spring suspension
Frequently Asked Questions:

1.  What is the mirror on the radiator used for?
This was a popular option for many truckers in the 50's and 60's.  It allows the driver to see the exhaust stack.  Older
diesels couldn't lug to lower RPM's like modern diesels without doing damage to the cam shaft or bearings.  Also, the
older diesels had mechanical fuel pumps.  Lugging an old diesel also caused the engine to be overfueled,.  Too much fuel
resulted in excessive black smoke, the result of soot-laden, unburnt fuel coming out the exhaust.  Over fueling a lugging
engine increased exhaust gas temperatures and also bathed the cylinders in unburnt fuel, causing hot spots on the pistons
and liners followed by total failure.  Others just like to watch the exhaust because they thought it looked cool.

2.  What was the box on the rear of the cab?
That was something called a "swamp cooler" that forced air over a block of ice to help cool the cab.  Rare on trucks, the
swamp cooler box was used to hide a camera for in-cab shots from the truck.  

3.  Why didn't the trailers in the movie have dollies?
The typical fuel truck in southern California operated 2 shifts per day 6 or 7 days per week.  The tractors and trailers never
were detached unless major maintenance was required at or near their connection point.  Typically, these units had air and
electrical lines that were hard-wired without the gladhands and quick disconnects common to most tractor trailers.  On
those rare occasions where the trailer had to be removed, it was blocked up.

4. What was the funny looking clock on the Peterbilt's dashboard in the movie?
It is called a Tach-o-graph and was made by a company called Sangamo.  These were the precursors to the modern day
black box, recording the speed of the truck by time of day.  Companies would put them in fleet trucks to keep an eye on
their drivers.  

5.  I've never seen an old Peterbilt with the horizontal yellow air cleaner like the one in the movie.  Was that original?
No, the air cleaner was the result of the 1956 Peterbilt 281's repowering with a 1674 Caterpillar diesel in the mid 60's.  The
air cleaner is a Caterpillar air cleaner assembly and can typically be found on 944 Wheel Loaders, 621 Scrapers and other
heavy equipment from the early to mid 1960's.  Only the '56 had this air cleaner.  We have installed a similar air cleaner on
our 1960 now to more closely resemble the '56.

6.  Is the Duel Truck for sale?  YES, everything is for sale for the right price
(minimum of $40K).  I am always open to selling
the truck and trailer to a similar Duel fanatic.  If you are interested, please contact me at