If you know anything about semi’s, then you know that the following are as cool and capable as they come. These 50 semi trucks are a combination of rare, unique, classic and downright awesome to look at. There’s a couple that are worth a fortune, too. Check them all out and let us know what you think.
Vintage International Harvester
International Harvester was an American Company comprised of several other companies. In other words, a merger. IN 1902, J.P. Morgan merged Deering Harvester Company with McCormick Harvesting Machine Company and a few other smaller agricultural businesses.
The result was International Harvester. IH was known for agricultural machinery, trucks, construction equipment and other household/commercial products. Trucks were the crown jewel of IH branding. Yet the brand was more recognized for agricultural equipment. Even so, trucks like the one pictured were constant highway fixtures from the early 1960s to mid 80s.
The Peterbilt 351L logger was a popular truck for the company. You can often find pictures online in old archive vaults. They truck was known for being one thing… being a consistent workhorse! You could buy one of these in the mid 1950s brand new for about $16,000.
You weren’t considered to be a real trucker unless you could shift the “Brownie” gears with your hands and rive with your knees. The Peterbilt 351L inundated the logging industry as a durable semi. Now they are really popular in the modeling community. Different color variations, custom transmissions, peerless trailers, the only limit is your imagination.
Kramer Brothers trucking company began in 1922. The trucking line, was based out of Detroit, Michigan. This is not surprising considering the number of automobile manufacturers spawned in the same area. In 1959 they consolidated to become Kramer consolidated freight lines.
Their service area spend 10 states via interstate traffic. In addition, they had 19 terminals and hold all sorts of commodities. However, by brokering connecting line agreements, they were able to expand and serve other points all across the nation. What began as a humble family trucking company would eventually boast a combination of 466 trucks and tractors with about 700 company branded trailers.
After World War I, White Motor Company began making trucks. After the second World War they made a strategic decision to only produce large trucks . To do this, they acquired several smaller production companies. It paid off. By 1967 they were able to open a division on the West Coats. The White motor company was in business for 80 years, closing in 1980. Yet, mention the White 3000 to an old trucker and they still get misty eyed.
A scene in the movie features the truck driving off a cliff. A mechanism was built to shoot the scene driver less, but it failed. The driver had something else to do the next day so he hopped in the truck, drove it to the cliff and jumped out at the last second. As for choosing a Peterbilt? Spielberg liked it because the front resembled a face.
That means this is a fleet truck owned by V-Max, an office furniture transportation company based out of Zeeland, Michigan. They have 33 trucks (mostly Kenworth), and have decked out more than a few upon acquisition. Expect awesome custom leather seats and an exterior paint job to match. V-Max takes care of their fleet!
Have you picked your jaw up off the floor yet? Someone was lucky enough to spy this Kenworth semi truck at the 2014 Tredegar Park Car Rally (Vintage), in Newport. And for those of you who need a clue as to what is so amazing about this photo, look at the sleeper cab.
You won’t find tiny houses that big! This sleeper cab is more like an apartment! A truck like this could have and inside with a sink, cabinets and a nice drop down tables for eating. Think of it as the best of RV traveling meets breaker 1-9. And hey, it certainly beats paying rent on an extended stay deals. No bed bugs either!
Each load carries $5million dollars worth of insurance and features GPS satellite tracking. So if you are the owner, you never have to wonder where your vehicle is. Of course, everyone else will not have a problem spotting it either. It’s hard to miss a massive shovel nosed orange semi with an equally impressive custom trailer. Looking at them now, it’s hard to believe they were a one rig outfit 50 years ago.
They had to cut through brush, cross creeks and dig out spots to deliver supplies. Mostly, they supported the livestock trade. Looking at the picture you can tell there is no clear road. That’s exactly how it was. So the tractor trailers were retrofitted with solid steel grills to keep the front from damage in case a rogue wild animal crossed their path. getting stranded was not an option. These semi trucks made Australian outback history.
The company was in the red and needed help. Production changed hands a couple of times before ultimately being sold to Diamond T Trucks (1967). The new company, Diamond-Reo Trucking went bankrupt in 1975. Currently Volvo owns the brand name. Still, these old trucks moved soldiers and supplies during the war effort, and were later used for domestic shipping post-war. Old truckers often report REOs needed to be towed in order to start. Yet, they were considered reliable nonetheless.
The design was lightweight and made it possible for the payload to be shifted toward the front. Thus, more weight rested on the front axles, thus increasing the payload weight allowed by current load limits. It was a 4 speed main, 3 speed auxiliary with an engine capable of cranking out 262 horsepower. And to think, you thought 1949 was all flappers and art deco.
Those familiar with Mack trucks will understand the complexity of the R series. Different letters in conjunction with the R stood for different designations like steel frame, aluminum frame, heavy duty, setback front axle, as well as different chassis maintenance configurations. Yet even today they’re still fun to look at. The wide front grill looks almost cartoonish. The the split front window only adds to the caricature.
Swedish company Einride announced their T-log autonomous, all-electric logging truck in 2018. The company says the vehicle has a 300kWh battery, which can go 120 miles on a single charge. The truck uses the same tech as their T-pod truck but is only level 4 autonomous.
That means it will need some human supervision and involvement. The T-log system is run by NVidia’s Drive platform, including cameras, radars, sensors, and routing software to avoid on-road obstacles. The ultimate goal is to significantly cut the cost down on transport, which Einride claims 60% comes from the cabin. If you a trucker, you may want to be wary of this development.
The semi truck probably looks very familiar to you. From 19 78 to 19 81 it was a household name. That’s right, you were looking at the original Kennworth from the popular BJ and the bear television series. More than 30 years later, this semi still turns heads. Incidentally, the owner of this vehicle did a full restoration on it. During the process he found an inscription which read “BJ and the Bear by WS”.
It was uncovered underneath a lot of rust at the location of the fifth wheel weld. Today, BJ is a faithful hauler. The owner, Paul Craig, routinely drives thousands of miles each week to locations like Miami, FL, Boise, ID, San Antonio, TX and Raleigh, NC. He says fans routinely approach him, shaking his hand and thanking him for his history saving restoration.
There’s a lot of work to do in restoration besides rebuilding or servicing the V12 transmission. Front seals and water pumps need attention, radiators, wheel seals, breaks, drive caps, they all need attention. In short, if you own a 70s model Western Star semi you are essentially a collector/enthusiast. Many people take late 60s models and use them as parts vehicles for their early to late 70s models. This one looks like it just rolled off the production line. We love the split front windshield.
We wonder if they will fit under low bridges or power lines in tricky metro areas. They look grand, that’s for sure. Obviously, this belongs to an owner operator who takes pride in their vehicle. We love the custom paint job and sun shield eyebrow overhang above the window.
This truck is known as the THOR24. It is a customized Peterbilt tractor truck constructed at Lake Havasu City, Arizona, over several years funded by land developer/stuntman Mike Harrah for seven million dollars. It has twin V12 Detroit Diesels Engines along with 12 blowers.
The combination helps the vehicle achieve up to 3,400 horsepower. The truck is 44-feet long and weighs 32,000 pounds. In 2019, the Riyadh Auction and Salon in Saudi Arabia sold the THOR24 for $12 million in addition to a $13,200,000 fee.
Or perhaps it was designed with a New Yorker in mind. This old Safeway Truck sleeper cab could easily qualify as a studio apartment. The owner could probably rent it for $1,200 per month easy! And by judging from the front bumper, their could be a nice regional customer base. This vintage White big rig is sporting several colorful state plates!
The future of freight liners? Autonomous vehicles are allegedly closer than we think. So seeing a semi on the road with no driver behind the wheel might actually be something that is a reality here soon. Look out!
His first real automobile was produced in 1905, known as a “motor buggy.” Yet, in 1910 he decided to focus exclusively on trucks and trailers. In the early 1950s he innovated once again. His tractor-trailers featured a tall cabover design. These vehicles, like the one in the picture, were all powered with an eight cylinder English Gardener diesel engine. Many believe they are still the tallest truck ever used for highway driving. Also, they are excellent early examples of tilt cabin design.
The GMC cannonball semi truck is named after stuntman Erwin Baker. GMC used him in their early marketing campaigns to promote the durability of their vehicles. For instance, in 1927 Erwin drove a two ton GMC tanker full of water from one end of the country to the other.
It was a 3,700 mile road trip beginning in New York City and ending in San Francisco. During the trip he averaged about 27 mph over the five day, 17 hour excursion. So when GMC decided to produce a semi truck representative of the type of durability and performance people thought of, they chose the name “Cannonball.” It was Erwin Baker’s nickname.
This famous semi big rig is owned by Malcolm and Tammy Blanch. It’s a Kenworth T 900 and has had a few custom upgrades. For instance, Klos custom trucks noted on August 30, 2008 they did a few custom mods for the Blanch tractor trailer. For instance, the front visor and bumper were re-fabricated and chromed out. In addition, a pair of vortex air cans were smacked on the side to add a bit of flair.
This is why people absolutely love this truck. It’s a beast, looks great in blue and silver, and has some pretty impressive chrome smokestacks. Definitely one for the cool class, with many more rambling miles to go for sure. And with numerous sightings at Truck meets and show across the country, the Blanches show no sign of stopping anytime soon.
Check out this monster. Steve Darnell and his team, who you may know from Discovery’s Sin City Motors, took a premium 1996 Peterbilt 379 and transformed it into the vehicle you see before you. Darnell’s company Welderup used airbrushing to achieve the look. They started with tractor green, a color derived from John Deere, as the base. On top of that, they added yellow to give it this toxic look.
The team even painted the 13-liter turbocharged Caterpillar engine. Welderup added custom bumper, smokestacks, grille, hood cutouts, and much more in addition to the color. If you look inside the truck, you will be greeted with a Frankenstein duster shifter and cowhide interior. You can see why they nicknamed this truck “Swam A..”, we will let you figure out the rest.
We don’t if this truck is for sale, but here are the top 10 prices for classic semi trucks and trailers.
In addition, ball race turntables, FUPS bull bars and a Viesa Bunk cooler. These 97 ton B-Double Prime Movers, get the job done every day and make it look easy. Drivers in the states may drool over the grill guard. We love the paint scheme on this one. Pure sunshine bliss.
McColl’s transport is a family-run business celebrating more than 60 years of business serving the Australian Victoria area. Today, they are the largest independent trucking line associated with dairy, food, industrial and consumer goods.
This Kenworth K104 is one of their hallmark branded vehicles. And it looks awesome too. The sleeper cab and over horn skylight make it all the more majestic. This is one of the Kenworth cab-over signature designs used by McColl’s. These big rigs are durable, maintenance friendly and consistent performers. It’s just what you need when hauling product across or through the Australian outback. The sunset in the back makes the whole scene appear iconic.
These old Hendrickson cabover trucks from the 1960s look very similar to the Matchbox Cooper Jarret truck popular among kids during that time (you could get them in Cheerios cereal boxes as one of the toy prizes). However, the real 60s models Hendrixson semi trucks were monsters. They were powered by a 12 valve-71 Cummins Diesel engine.
Perhaps the most notable thing about these Hendrickson road tractors are the fact that these engines came standard. It’s common for people to restore old big rigs and drop one of these Cummins in after the fact. Many hot rod tractor-trailers use them as well for performance. yet, they came as a standard option for some manufacturers. FOr instance, they were popular with the Kenworth 900 series and any CEO truck in addition to the Hendrickson semi you see here.
Impressive sleeper cabin features include large upper and lower bunk mattresses, best in class headroom for both bunks and best storage space in class. There’s even room for a 1.1 ft.³ microwave and 32 inch flat screen television. In addition, it’s fuel-efficient and burns clean too. yet it doesn’t lack power. The Cummins Westport ISX 12 G engine cranks out between 320 to 400 hp with upwards of 1,450 foot-pounds of torque. It’s one big modern day eco-conscious beast!
For starters, the semi appears to be a chrome magnet, just like a real Harley-Davidson. Chrome details include the front chrome bumper which is flatter then usual international trucks and sits below the Harley-Davidson inspired grill. Inside, expect Harley-Davidson emblems on the leather interior and sleeper cab area. Outside, the word itself is spelled-out on chrome bands decorating each side of the hood. Yet, as nice as it looks the first time you have to stop for refueling will make you think twice about owning one. Getting a Harley might be cheaper!
What is, however, is the unique cabover design. It was quite popular in the early 70s (just like American semis), and can be seen as a feature design element in newer production models too (look at their 2006 models for instance). Scania was ultimately sold to from an auto manufacturer Volkswagen. As such, it remains to be seen just exactly what new designs and vehicles will look like. Knowing Volkswagen, they will be boxy, colorful and efficient!
Volvo tanker trucks are known for their dependability, fuel efficiency and power. However, Volvo tanker trucks owned by Gulf Oil Company are nothing short of epic. Here is a restored classic themed out with Gulf’s iconic blue and orange color scheme. The orange and blue are a bit updated (not as harsh as the original scheme) , but still hint at nostalgia. In the 40s and 50s, residents were very familiar with these trucks. Why? Well, today these trucks refuel gas stations. Back then, they pulled double duty.
They were responsible for both filling gas station tanks and making sure consumers got heating oil for their homes in the winter. In fact, if you live up north this is still quite a common experience, though most of the heating oil is now purchased through co-ops rather then major American corporations. To give perspective, Gulf was considered to be one of the largest American corporation by 1975. In fact, there were number 10 on the Forbes 500 list.
The semi might be famous for a few reasons other than the truck. But first, we have to talk about the truck. It’s a ProStar International equipped with Navistar GPS. It’s owned by Groeb Farms, one of the nation’s top honey suppliers. These trucks are as recognizable as the Gulf tanker truck we just profiled. However, they are famous now for other reasons.
In 2013, Groeb Farms was involved in a large food scandal. It seems that they were cited for fraud in regards to their honey. Rather than grow it stateside, they were importing it, packing it into these nice semis and shipping it all over the US. Once they were caught (read sued) restitution was made and they had to restructure. As for the trucks? Well, they are still operational and can often be seen cruising up and down the highways of our great Interstate Transportation System.
So maybe you think you are looking at a ghost. And perhaps you quite possibly are. This is a vintage 1970 Volvo G 88. It was a derivative of the already popular F 88 which was the main design component of the 1964 Titan Tiptop truck. However, the rest of the vehicle saw a complete redesign with the F 88.
This meant a new engine, brand-new eight speed transmission, stronger suspension and of course beefier chassis. So what was the difference with the G 88? Well, the front axle was lifted a bit. Almost a solid foot to yield greater axle spread. And, this was not a thoughtless engineering act. It was quite necessary to allow for greater load limits. The G 88 allowed 52.5 tons to laden the vehicle during transit.
During the 50s and 60s, Boeing produced a small turbine gas engine. It was a major effort by the company to expand their product base beyond aircraft (postwar). As such, engine development started in 1943 and produced early models capable of churning out 160 hp. After that, the focus was a two shaft turbine engine which underwent production in 1947.
The final gas turbine engine used for the trucking industry produced 175 hp. The first one was tested on a Kenworth tractor-trailer in 1950. Afterward, other manufacturers, like Freightliner, followed suit with design schemes to include the engine as an option. By the early 1960s, these tiny gas turbines could crank out 500 hp. Eventually, they were phased out in favor of more profitable products, like the 747 jetliner. One 747 sale dwarfed the annual profits of the entire gas engine turbine division.
The solution is the big rig you see in this photo. Freightliners cabover design allowed for quick access, except in instances where in frame work was required (try doing that in the snow and see how you feel). Yet, this design all but disappeared by the end of the 70s due to lax highway regulations. As a result, trucking companies stopped purchasing them in favor of more conventional long nose models. However, cabover design is catching fever again. You might see more of these on the highway as enthusiasts are purchasing older models to restore.
That’s right, somebody ponied up $600 and scored this vintage Superliner RW 713! Maybe it had something to do with the 599,998 miles showing on the odometer. However, keep in mind those are all highway miles. See what we did there? At any rate, the E 6–350 diesel engine still holds 350 horses under the hood. This tandem axle 232 inch wheelbase will look beautiful after restoration. They just have to figure out how to get it home first.
In fact, they virtually center on the tire tread rather than mount beside them. Still equipped with a compression release, they were designed to make steering easier. However, the only problem was the service life. Seems like they were known for being short! At any rate, classic truck enthusiasts love them. And who can blame them? Just look at that picture!
This photo is pretty remarkable for one reason. It might take you a minute to spot it so let’s start with the description. This is a 1946 Dodge WK–66. It’s a huge 3 ton tractor trailer that delivered product all over the United States.
However, look closely at the brake lines between the truck and trailer. Those are vacuum lines, NOT air brakes. In order to fully appreciate the situation one would have to drive a truck equipped with vacuum brakes. Then they would never complain about air brakes again. Seems like this old Pepsi truck semi had a trick or two up its sleeve after all. Plus, it’s pure eye candy and we like that too!
You can never go wrong with that. And while the W series looks similar to the K model, the road forks there. Differences include length, available engine choices and side window design. W series Kenworths all featured a pancake underfloor Harlescott 190 hp engine. This was drastically different then the K-series International Red Diamond RD 450 engine. Today, endless customization options make each truck as unique as the driver, down to custom paint jobs, smokestacks and grill features. As for this one, we give it two thumbs up!
Furthermore, all trailer corners are intact, original to the vehicle and not mangled or bent like other M 1000 models. And of course, we have to talk about the most impressive feature. As the tractor-trailer turns, the four axles at the rear turn as well. This gives you much tighter control since the turning radius is smaller. Try doing this with a conventional semi and you will get stuck like Chuck.
Mater (your child’s favorite animated tow truck) would be jealous looking at this little semi truck. Don’t let the size fool you, this Peterbilt may be small, but he’s no fly weight. With two trumpet horns and five running lights across the top, it looks and presents fantastic. The trademark split windshield and sun/rain shield over the window are a nice touch too. And the smokestacks?
We love them. Nothing like a vented exhaust mounted on each side to keep things interesting. And should you get stuck? No problem. This little hybrid can rescue you. We consider this to be a hybrid. We like to think of it as the world’s first semi truck/tow truck/pick up truck thing-a-ma-bob, or something like that.
Here’s a Peterbilt 359 tractor-trailer from across the pond. Built in 1983, it was spotted at a country fair. This wasn’t just any country fair though. It happened to be the Glowcestershire Vintage and Country Extravaganza last year (2017).
Say that five times really fast along with Peterbilt 359 and see how you fare. Good thing there’s a roomy sleeper cab attached and epic paint job. All of that tongue twisting might wear you out. As for the semi, not a chance. It’s designed to keep on trucking and looks pretty epic at the fair if we do say so ourselves.
They are also known for something else, being a subsidiary of Volvo. At least they have been since 2007. Until then, UD stood for Unit Flow Diesel Engine, a two-stroke model developed in the mid 1950s. However, Volvo changed the meaning to “Ultimate Dependability.” Clever.
Either way, finding one “in the wild” so to speak is rare. So it’s no wonder this completely restored red beauty is a head turner. Notice the sleeper cab, considered roomy back then, and the grill guard positioned expertly in front of the vents to prevent damage. Capped with a swan hood ornament she is one beautiful, roadworthy hauler.
However, the company lacked a national sales network and the industry was already overcrowded. In 1997 they went defunct. The last Marmon was purchased by an individual in Green bay, Wisconsin. It sits on a 250-inch wheelbase and is powered by a 470-hp Detroit Series 60 engine. The one pictured here is running the road train in Australia.
While it does have a 146.5 inch wheelbase, the ride is a bit rough. Former owners describe the driver experience as tank-like. And you needed muscle too. This beast had no power steering. Most drivers said you learned to get this one moving first, then you try to steer it. With a paint job like this, we would be willing to give it a whirl.
Seems like old Brockway employees remember creating the Superliner. All was speculation until a former engineer released the production photo years later proving Brockway had indeed develoepd a Superliner. Specualtion was Mack closed them down in an effort not to be outdone. Of course we will never know. maybe that’s the point. Either way, Brockway semis still look amazing, every time you see one.
The Marmon transmission was hard on the hands. Previous owners report having to shift the 4×4 air transmission so much their fingers would bleed. Yet, both are equipped with sleeper cabs. So get a good night’s rest and tackle the road in the morning. And if you drive the Marmon, grab some gauze and gloves. It will make life a lot easier.
We have to admit, the 3 handles over the tiny windows do draw your eye to the fact that there are double bunks in the sleeper cab. Yet, because of lax regulations, the trucking world did not need them any longer. So most of the trucks were cannibalized during the mid 1980s for their engines and other parts. Still, wouldn’t it be nice to restore one and take it for a spin?
Ford would discontinue the L series in 1998 and Freightliner would take over the brand under its subsidiary, Sterlogn Trucks. This would continue until 2009 when Sterling would shutter its doors. This is why you feel as if you might be seeing the same semi at times when you see a Ford, Freightliner or Sterling. If it’s an L series, chances are it’s the same truck!
It was a total frame up restoration complete with a wooden bed that Doug built from an oak tree on his family property. In fact, you can see the old farm pick up on the step deck trailer in the photo. As for the 1975 Marmon cabover, it actually belongs to his son who continues the family truck collecting tradition adding his skills as a heavy duty mechanic to the mix. Together, father and son have managed to create one impressive truck collection.
It’s the ultimate combination of durability, strength and proven qualities of American trucks with the drivability and sophistication of European models. In other words, Iveco says the driver experience yields the best of both worlds. Primary uses are Tipper and dog, long and medium halls, prime movers, B-double trailer hauls and refrigerated transport. Seems like the Aussies know what they are doing when it comes to semi trucks.
Those are manufactured by Death Proof Ducks and truckers love them! The backstory is they were produced in the early 70s for hot rods and became famous after Sam Peckinpah purchased a few for his movie “Convoy.” The mold was rediscovered in 2004 (on a shelf in a storage facility of all places). Quentin Tarantino saw it and requested a duck hood ornament for his movie “Death Proof.” The rest is history and truckers can’t seem to get enough of Death Proof Duck!
In fact, he soars a total of 101.9 feet before landing. And, it looks to us like you could fit a semi underneath him as well. hat huge air! The ground clearance is almost as impressive as the distance! Either way, we feel the need to say don’t try this at home, even though we can’t promise we won’t.