December 01, 2011


Peterbilt Spotters Guide

A brief photo reference guide to identify various Peterbilt models from the 1980s

During the 1980's Peterbilt continued to refine the conventional line-up.  The model 349 was introduced as a wide-hood 348 and a highway-lightweight version called 349H was available.  The 1st stand-up sleeper was installed on a 359 in 1986.  1986 also saw the introduction of an entire new line of conventional models and the last 359 in 1987.



The 348 carried over from the 70's.

Model 348 6x6 shared the 359-113" SBFA hood.



349H with bright polished crown, 36" sleeper and roof fairing. 349H with standard hood, roof fairing and non-sleeper.  Note the battery box now has a built in step with tread designed to clear slush and snow.  This 349 also has square turn signals and roof lights.

349 vocational configurations - 3496x6, 349 FEPTO and 349 SBFA.

This I-DOT 349 has the Severe Service cab.


The model 353 continued from the 70's.  The 353 pictured has a FEPTO bumper, Severe Service cab, set forward front axle and painted crown and surround.  353 was available in SFFA, SBFA and tandem-steer configurations.


387 also continued from the 70's.  This 387 has the Severe Service Cab option. 387 was available in SBFA configurations.

Rear view of a 387 prime mover.  


The model 397 was the largest Peterbilt built.  397 featured a 40" wide frame, 11.5" rails, optional suspensions up to 150,000 lbs. and power plants up to the Cummins KTA-600, Caterpillar 3408 and Detroit Diesel 8v92.  Only 2 397's were built.


Severe Service Cab

The Severe Service cab option included an optional windshield mask with a wider center post and rounded glass corners.  The mask was availble on all 1100 cab models.  



By 1980 rectangular quad headlamps became available.  By the mid 80's square fender turn signals became optional, along with Hadley square air horns and aero-style roof marker lights. 

Late '79 into 1980 builds saw the all-Peterbilt 36" sleeper. Photo courtesy of R.Gaines 

A late year  359 similar to the '84 calendar.  This 359 has square turn signals, roof lights and no fender marker lights.  The bumper fog lamps are also the rectangular style. 

Another later year 359 with square turn signals, roof lamps and no fender marker lights.  

This 1986 built 359 has one of the first factory installed raised-roof sleepers.  The new sleeper had rear doors on both sides.  Note the square fender mounted turn signal and the forward fender corner marker light has been omitted.  

359 became the benchmark for the "Large Car" customized truck.  Here a 359-127 has large aftermarket sleeper, fat straight pipe exhaust, extra horns, extra grille bars and numerous custom items.  

"Old No.One" the first truck from the Denton, Texas plant in 1980 was bought back by Peterbilt and restored to factory-fresh condition by staff and remains on display at the plant. 

The last 359. Compare it to one of the first.

  Even 20+ years after the last 359 was built, the 359 remains popular with many still in service and is a favorite for restoration for show truck duty.

Eighties Interior

Classic II interior in blue vinyl and velour. Classic II in brown.

Peterbilt Spotters Guide Page 3

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copyright 2010 Tim's Trucks and Tim Ahlborn.  Photos copyright their original photographers and Peterbilt Motors Company.

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