Louisville, KY. Peterbilt Motors Company (A PACCAR Company) brought the celebration of its 75th anniversary to the Mid-America Trucking Show (MATS) here in Louisville, KY today with a line of new spec packages and an eye-popping anniversary edition of the Model 579 featuring bright work and a paint design reminiscent of its show truck history.

Darrin Siver, Peterbilt general manager and PACCAR vice president, introduced the company’s anniversary offerings this morning in a special press conference. “This is a milestone year for the company and we wanted to acknowledge it in a way that has been defining Peterbilt for 75 years – products distinctively styled, technologically advanced and designed to maximize the satisfaction and bottom lines of our customers,” Siver said. “In this tradition, we have taken the most innovative on-highway vehicle in the company’s history and complemented it with components, accents and amenities that celebrate Peterbilt’s past and future.”

The anniversary edition sports a long list of special features, such as bright accessories, a two-color paint design similar to the original 1939 Peterbilt (as well as the 50th anniversary edition Peterbilt), and a premium interior with exclusive logos and a unique numbered nameplate. 

Other exterior features of the special edition model include: a highly polished hood crown that surrounds a new oval grille design; exclusive 75th anniversary emblems on the sleeper, side hood bright air intake bezel and new bright rocker panels; 75th anniversary two-color paint design featuring a new proprietary color called Diamond Red, created in partnership with Axalta Coating Systems and part of their Imron Elite; and rear stainless steel mud flap hangers with anniversary emblem.

The interior of the Model 579 75th Anniversary Edition has also been given special treatment, including: Peterbilt’s premium Platinum Titanium interior accentuated with a new charcoal dash top and Blackwood finish trim accents; a sequentially numbered 75th anniversary emblem added to the dash accent trim; custom red stitching lining the steering wheel; exclusive Peterbilt Evolution LX seats in black leather with the 75th emblem stitched into the headrest; bright gauge bezels, chromed interior handle, bright shifter plate with logo, and bright shift lever featuring a Blackwood finish shifter knob (available only with manual transmissions).

“Since its introduction, the Model 579 has exceeded the high expectations we initially set for it, as well as those of our customers,” said Peterbilt chief engineer, Landon Sproull. “It has been a major success and proudly stands among Peterbilt’s most iconic trucks introduced throughout our 75 year history. This Class 8 aerodynamic leader exemplifies Peterbilt’s 75-year commitment to innovation, quality, dependability and safety. The 75th Anniversary Edition combines these product hallmarks with a new head-turning design that celebrates Peterbilt past and future.”

The truck is available to order now.

A 75th anniversary edition of the 579 will be touring North America throughout 2014 pulling a custom-built, double-expandable, 53-foot trailer housing an educational and entertaining exhibit about the company and its long history.  The tour will begin on April 1 at JX Peterbilt in Indianapolis, IN and then crisscross the United States and Canada, finishing the tour on November 10 in Lansing, MI, and making more than 75 stops along the way.

The company also unveiled a number of new packages designed to maximize fuel efficiency and mentor drivers, including an EPIQ package and a new optimized  drivetrain package for the Model 579 plus a new driver coaching system available for Peterbilt Models 579,567 and 587 equipped with PACCAR MX-13 engines.

According to Sproull, the EPIQ package can improve fuel efficiency of the Model 579 by up to 10%. “It utilizes an enhanced drivetrain, including Peterbilt’s new combination of the PACCAR MX-13 engine and Fuller Advantage UltraShift transmission, all available aerodynamic options and optimized spec’ing through our proprietary software system used throughout our dealer network,” he said.

Specifically, the EPIQ package includes: 18-inch sleeper side extenders with 8-inch rubber flares, full chassis fairings with rubber skirts from the quarter fender to the front of the tandem axle with rubber closeouts under the sides of the cab and sleeper, and roof fairings with an exclusive rear wall closeout. It also includes aerodynamically enhanced components such as a three-piece aero-style bumper; multi-piece aero-style hood; painted outside sun visor; and an aero-style aluminum battery box positioned on the passenger side, under the cab.

 A new drivetrain pairing, dubbed APEX, is also part of the EPIQ model.  It features the PACCAR MX-13 engine driven through a Fuller Advantage Automated Transmission. This new combination features precise communication between the engine and transmission, as well as proprietary control logic to further enhance fuel economy.  APEX is more than 80 pounds lighter than previous combinations, according to Sproull, and features a small-step ratio in 9th and 10th gears for a more fuel-efficient operating range while downshifting.

To further increase aerodynamic performance, the EPIQ package recommends a single horizontal exhaust configuration or a single right-hand back-of-sleeper exhaust configuration. The package also includes a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) designed to provide operators with real-time tire pressure information, plus low rolling resistance tires

Peterbilt and its dealer network use a proprietary spec’ing system to help optimize vehicle performance and exactly match customers’ business and application requirements. This software has been enhanced to complement the Model 579 EPIQ by recommending the most fuel efficient rear axle ratios and engine settings, among other options.

The company also chose MATS as the venue for the introduction of new functionality for its Driver Information Center. The new module, which is available for Peterbilt Models 579, 567 and 587 equipped with PACCAR MX-13 engines, monitors numerous vehicle systems and driving habits to provide operator feedback through a scoring system that rewards practices to reduce fuel use and minimize brake wear.

The display shows a driver his/her performance scores in categories such as braking and coasting, as well as a total performance scoring percentage. If the system detects driving habits that are detrimental to fuel economy (such as erratic acceleration) or actions that reduce component life (such as excessive hard braking) it is designed to provide coaching tips with suggested corrective actions. For instance, the system may suggest the operator make greater use of engine retarder devices and rely less on the brake pedal to maximize the life of the foundation brakes.

 Drivers view this information on the 5-inch, color LCD display screen located within the driver instrumentation cluster, to enable them to keep their eyes on the road. In addition to the new functionality, it provides operators with essential data on vehicle and engine functions. According to Sproull, the system performs both while the vehicle is in operation and while parked, the latter to help reduce idling time.

 Peterbilt’s medium-duty COE lineup also has a new addition—a Model 220 that features numerous interior and exterior enhancements developed to increase driver productivity, safety and durability, such as a new electronic braking system (EBS) to provide quicker responsiveness and an improved braking “feel.”

The cab has a completely redesigned interior, engineered to give operators still greater levels of productivity and comfort. “Ergonomics were enhanced with easier-to-read instrumentation, and all switches are grouped by function,” said Sproull. “Everything is within easy reach of the driver and the overall layout provides a logical, easy-to-operate environment.”

The exterior features a new galvanized steel bumper, new radiator protection plate and Lexan covering to help protect headlamps. Fog lamps have been integrated into the bumper.

The Model 579 and vocational Model 567 were also expanded with the addition of compressed natural gas configurations.  Both vehicles will be available with the Cummins-Westport ISX 12 G with ratings from 320 hp @ 1,150 lb.-ft. to 400 hp @ 1,450 lb.-ft.

According to Peterbilt, the company leads the industry with 40% of all Class 6-8 natural gas truck sales and has been offering natural gas vehicles for nearly 20 years.

Vocational Model 567 also got several new enhancements, including expanded PTO functionality when paired with the PACCAR MX-13 engine. New features include: the capability to activate external notification of impending diesel particulate filter (DPF) regeneration; remote throttle while in PTO mode; and the ability to have DPF regeneration take place during PTO operation.

72- and 80-inch Platinum sleepers in Model 579 and Model 567 trucks appear in a new light, too, with the availability of an ambient lighting package featuring all LED bulbs for longer life and reduced power consumption.  LED light also has a softer, more relaxing lamination than incandescent bulbs, Peterbilt noted.

All of these introductions come at the start of what the company believes will be a good year ahead. “We are expecting big things for 2014,” observed Robert Woodall, Peterbilt’s director of sales and marketing, as he opened the press conference today. Woodlall listed numerous reasons for optimism. Many fleets have reported record revenue, the average age of vehicles in use remains high and performance is very strong in the parts and service aftermarket, he said. Not a bad marketplace to be in at 75 or any other age.