The Last Minute

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This month’s creation was built for John Mejia (43) of Moreno Valley, CA.  Married to his wife Norma for the past 20 years, the couple has three children – Adam (24), Phillip (22), and Isabella (19).  John already had two trucks and one of them was CARB-compliant, but after he had some problems with it, he knew he had to buy another one.  “After waiting until the last minute, I ordered this Peterbilt, so now I have three trucks!”  Funny thing is, John doesn’t have any drivers, so he considers the other two trucks spares, which are good to have these days.

When growing up, John’s dad Jose was a driver and an owner operator.  When John was young, he loved to go with his dad in the truck and can honestly say he caught the trucking bug from him.  But when he got older, he started having second thoughts.  Remembering those long trips to Florida and back with his dad, which sometimes could be up to three weeks, the cab of that COE was pretty small by the time they got home.  John got a warehouse job in Fontana, CA running a forklift from 1997 until 2000.  While still working there, he saved his money to buy a truck with cash and got his CDL.

Buying a 1984 Freightliner COE, John now had a truck and a license, but no experience, which made it hard for him to find any work.  Eventually, he landed a job hauling containers and running local.  He did this for a year, and then in 2001 he purchased a used 1999 Volvo and leased on to FFE out of Texas – and away he went.  He was gone a lot.  He did that for over three years, then in 2005 got his own authority and bought a 2003 KW W900L with a studio sleeper (which he stills owns).  When the state of California (CARB) forced him to update to a newer truck, he purchased another used KW, and tried putting a driver in it.  Well, that worked until it didn’t.  Now it’s back to just him.

Knowing he was going to have to update his truck again at some point, John waited as long as he possibly could, because he didn’t really want to.  Being a longtime reader of 10-4 Magazine and running into a customer or two of mine that suggested he order through me, John finally called.  They told him I was hard to get a hold of, but when he called, I picked right up, and we hit it off great.  He ordered this new Peterbilt, and we had the dash plate read “Custom Built For The Last Minute” since he held off doing it until he absolutely had to.

The truck is a new 389 Peterbilt with a 70” sleeper.  With a nice long factory wheelbase, low air, a 605-hp X15 Cummins, 18-speed, all disc brakes, and dual 150-gallon fuel tanks with four straps on each side, this truck came loaded with all the goodies.  Painted a nice metallic blue with a matching frame, it was also ordered with big Peterbilt oval wheels and little seats.

When the truck showed up, the crew at KC Peterbilt added a 20” boltless bumper, extra grill bars, 359 double-round headlights on Double JJ brackets, and breather lights.  My dad chopped the screens on the breathers, then painted cab lights were added, along with a stainless drop visor, full function 7” straights, custom cab and sleeper skirts, and Hogebuilt stainless steel half fenders.  The DEF tank was hidden in the big box on the left side so both sides are equal.  Final touches include eight amber load lights on the back of the sleeper (mounted low), a flush deck plate, and a Jim Crain rear light bar.

Even though he now has three trucks and can only drive one at a time, he likes having spares.  John said, “People collect things, I just collect trucks!”  Currently pulling a reefer and running between California and Chicago, John Mejia really loves trucks.  And even though he waited until the last minute to get this compliant Peterbilt, he is happy he finally did.

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