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INTERESTING IRON

The Most Interesting Trucks of 2023…

Author

Ryan Roossinck

December 14, 2023

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Every year, there’s lots of really interesting trucks listed on Tractor Zoom that I never get to write about. There’s only so many hours in the day, y’know? Furthermore, with more auctioneer and dealer partners than ever, it’s happening more frequently, because there’s so much iron listed on the site. Honestly, it’s a great problem to have!

If you’ve been following the blog for a while, you know that while I love tractors, I love semis too. This year, there were a few that stuck out to me this year, and they deserve a mention, y’know? So let’s look at the most interesting trucks of 2023 that ended up on the cutting room floor!

Rare Breed: 1984 Marmon 110P

most interesting trucks - marmon 110P
How long has it been since you’ve seen a Marmon cabover on the road? (Photo: North Texas Auctions)

Marmon was kind of an interesting truck manufacturer. They did things a little different than the big players in the game. While Peterbilt was knocking out a zillion trucks a year on an assembly line, Marmon stayed low-production and built every truck to order. They did build some fleet trucks, but not many. Most of their trucks were bought by owner-operators, and they called the shots when it came to optioning them. You could order pretty much anything you wanted from Marmon.

There’s a couple of things that really stand out about this truck. Some of them make sense, and some of them don’t.

  1. It’s optioned like an owner-operator truck; nice interior, double sleeper, A/C, and owner-operator style paint, too. (Fleet trucks were all one-color.)
  2. It’s got a healthy Big Cam Cummins set at about 400 horse, but harnessed through an Allison five speed automatic transmission, and exhausted through a single stack.
  3. The auctioneer noted that it was a government-owned truck, which makes sense. Marmon made quite a few trucks under contract for the U.S. government in the eighties, but it’s weird to me to see one so well-optioned. Usually, government contract trucks were kind of an anything-goes parts-bin special.

At any rate, it’s a very nice truck and somebody has taken very good care of it. Very little rust on the frame rails, clean original paint and sheet metal (aside from a ding or two), and pretty good chrome! It’s a great example of why a lot of drivers called Marmon the “Rolls Royce of trucks!”

Hammer Price: $28,000
Auctioneer: North Texas Auctions
Date: March 25, 2023

By the way, Marmon stopped building cabovers in 1984, and this one has a build date of October 1983. It’s one of the last of ’em!

Linnehan’s toy: The Mini-Peterbilt flatbed

most interesting trucks - mike linnehan's mini Pete
Mike Linnehan was a guy who could build just about anything…and he loved Peterbilts. So why not build a miniature one? (Photo: Wilkinson Auction & Realty)

If Mike Linnehan’s name rings a bell, I’ll bet you’re probably a tractor pulling fan (or a student of no-till history). Mike was a long time puller and a pioneer in no-till practices. He also had quite a reputation for being able to build just about anything he darn well pleased. Pulling tractors, self-propelled sprayers, heck, he once built a lime spreader out of an old school bus frame and a 6620 combine cab!

This little flatbed was another one of his creations. He built it using an old Winnebago motor home frame, a cab from a 1994 Pete, a big block Chevy, and an automatic transmission! It had an 11′ flatbed on the back, and even air ride! All in all, a pretty neat little piece – and of course, it was painted up to match the rest of the fleet.

Most of Mike’s creations had a specific purpose in mind, and I’d assume this one did as well. Sadly, I never had the opportunity to meet Mike. He passed away in August of 2022. Someday, perhaps I’ll have the chance to ask his wife Ann.

Hammer Price: $31,500
Auctioneer: Wilkinson Auction & Realty
Date: June 21, 2023

This really is a neat creation. It’s well-built and very unique; you’ll never find another one like it!

Tater truckin’: 1976 Kenworth W900A

most interesting trucks - 1976 KW W900A
This A-model Kenworth is one of the cleanest old-skool working trucks I’ve ever seen. (Photo: Rivers West Auction)

Y’know, there are old working trucks that you can tell have seen a thing or two, and then there’s trucks like this A-model from the London Hills Farm in Cardwell, MT. My goodness, what a beautiful Kenworth!

It’s got all the goods, too. CAT 3406B, 13-speed Road Ranger, 22′ Logan potato box on the back, etc. The motor was supposedly set at 400 horse, but I’ll bet it made well more than that. After all, they sold several tractors that were dyno’d at well over 100 horse more than they came with out of the factory. When looking through the sale, I got the feeling that most everything was a little hotter than average. My kind of people!

The thing that impressed me most about this truck (and everything else on the sale) was how clean and well-maintained it all was. It didn’t matter if it was one of the fleet of potato trucks (there were four, I believe) or one of the tractors or one of the potato planters – they were all clean as a whistle and in excellent working shape. That kind of meticulous maintenance shows, and it definitely makes a difference in price. At $47,000, somebody got a great buy on a piece of equipment that’ll do everything they ask of it for decades.

Hammer Price: $47,000
Auctioneer: Rivers West Auction
Date: June 9, 2023

Single-stack Mack: 1984 R-Model

most interesting trucks - 1984 R-Model Mack
Yep, it’s a single-stack Mack with a window in the back. But how many of these R-Models have 49,000 original one-owner miles on ’em? (Photo: J.M. Wood Auction Co., Inc.)

There’s plenty of R-Model Macks around (especially if you live in the eastern half of the country), but when you find them, they’ve usually been ridden hard and put away wet. There’s a few good ones left but it’s not easy to find ’em.

Well, I’m here to tell you that last week, one of those R-Model needles fell out of the Mack haystack. This  1984 model Mack R686ST is a one-owner truck with 49,000 original miles on it! It’s not perfect, but it’s about as close as you’ll ever get!

I honestly felt horrible when I saw this one, because a buddy of mine is currently looking for one and he’d have jumped all over this! Alas, I saw it a little too late. I guess his hunt continues…

Hammer Price: $23,000
Auctioneer: J.M. Wood Auction Co., Inc.
Date: December 6, 2023

Murphy’s Law: 1984 Peterbilt 359 EXHD

1984 Peterbilt 359 EXHD
This sweet (and very original Pete) had a very bad day on the worst possible day. (Photo: North Texas Auctions)

To me, the 359 and 379 will always be the conventional truck, and I think it’s probably that way with a lot of people. In their head, when they think long-haul trucking, they picture something like this. I never did get the full story on this million-miler from Oklahoma, but I can tell you a few things about it.

  1. I believe that most of the paint is original. I doubt the fenders are, but I think the rest of it is.
  2. It’s got a tried and true B-model CAT, and I’d imagine it’s set to somewhere around 425 horse (or it probably was when it was new).
  3. The interior is absurdly clean for a 40-year old semi. It’s impressive. Plus it’s got a Corvette dash, which I think is the best-looking dash Peterbilt ever made.

However, as Murphy’s Law would have it, this old 359 had a very bad day – on the worst possible day. It blew a driver’s side steer tire on the way to the auction yard. The tire shredded and took part of the fender with it. Talk about bad luck…

Still, the bidders saw what this truck was, and it really brought big money – torn up fender and all. There’s only been one 359 that brought more at auction this year, and it was fully restored and customized a little. Clean original trucks like this are becoming more and more valuable by the day! If you’ve got one, take care of it!

Hammer Price: $61,250
Auctioneer: North Texas Auctions
Date: January 28, 2023

Sinful in cinnamon: 1986 Kenworth K100

most interesting trucks - 1986 Kenworth K100
This two-toned K100 is a left-lane freight train! (Photo: Wilkinson Auction & Realty)

I’ve never asked, but I’m about certain that the guys at Wilkinson Auction & Realty have cool-truck radar. Over the past few years, they’ve sold a handful of really nicely-done trucks that still work for a living. They tend to get pretty solid money out of ’em, too, and this one was no exception.

Such was the case with this ’86 K100. It’s not factory stock anymore, but somehow, even the upgrades and customizations still manage to look “right” and not completely over the top (to me, at any rate). The heartbeat is all fairly standard stuff, with an 855 delivering power to a 13-speed Road Ranger. On the inside, it’s not perfect, but it’s likely a fairly comfortable place to work. I’m sure the stretched frame rides pretty nice when it’s got a load on it! I even like the color – and I’m not typically a red car/truck guy!

Show trucks are cool and all, don’t get me wrong. But for me, there comes a point where they’re just too nice to work (even though I know a lot of those trucks log miles every day). That’s why I really like trucks like this. They look and run well, but they’re not so nice that you feel like you need to run it through the Blue Beacon every night. They can still serve a useful purpose…getting stuff from point A to point B!

Hammer Price: $61,600
Auctioneer: Wilkinson Auction & Realty
Date: June 29, 2023

So there you have it; a half-dozen old trucks I thought were pretty cool, but never had the opportunity to write about for Interesting Iron. Hope you’re doing well, and that you’re able to enjoy the upcoming holidays with the ones you love! I’m going to take the next one off so I can enjoy the holidays with my friends and loved ones, but we’ll pick up where we left off in 2024! I know there are a few tractors I never got to write about, so maybe that’ll be the subject for early January.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all of us at Tractor Zoom!

Find some old trucks of your own here!

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