The RC Peterbilt 359 Semi Truck Takes on Nissan Patrol
Luca Bordin always had a fascination with big trucks. Born and raised in Venice, Italy, he realized the narrow streets of where he lived would never accommodate a full sized model. A graphic designer by trade, he set about sketching a one quarter (1:4) replica of his dream semi truck: the Peterbilt 359.
If you’ve ever worked on a semi-truck before you may know some things are easier because they’re bigger. So to fabricate and build a truck one quarter the size is no small task. The Peterbilt 359 is an American classic flat top commercial truck. Highly valued by truck drivers and fleet managers, it went into production in the mid-70s and continued into the late-80s before finally being replaced by the 379. It epitomized an era of independence and ruggedness for this truck manufacturer.
When Luca Bordin initially chose this specific vehicle as the one he would seek to replicate in a smaller remote controlled version, he spent over 2000 hours painstakingly designing the body to match the original. Equipping his version with a trailer replete with a sound system, Luca finally completed his work at the end of 2011 with a series depicting its capabilities.
The original Peterbilt tractor trailer was certainly capable of pulling well above its weight. Keeping true to form, Bordin used a 36 volt, 750 watt electric motor to power a weld
True to the Original
The original Peterbilt tractor trailer was certainly capable of pulling well above its weight. Keeping true to form, Bordin used a 36 volt, 750 watt electric motor to power a welded steel chassis. With a custom designed fiberglass exterior, he constructed the wooden frame that would be used to support the engine and electric transmission. Bordin demonstrated a painstaking attention to detail – going so far as to even keep the Californian license plates, chrome engines, and distinct Peterbilt horn. All in all, it took him over nine months to take the vehicle from concept art to a working reproduction.
This remote controlled tractor trailer is powered mainly by a single onboard 24 VDC car battery housed in what would have been the driver’s sleeping quarters. Electronic speakers are used to simulate the noises of the engine – with allowances for smoke to come out of the dual smoke stacks located on either side.
Is it up to Peterbilt Standards?
Obviously this remote control tractor trailer won’t be heading onto major turnpikes any time soon. Designed to be maneuvered through the narrow streets of Venice, its predominant requirements were its artistic adherence to the appearance of a Peterbilt truck. Bordin gave this vehicle an extremely elaborate, detailed paint job keeping with the old independent trucker spirit. From the wheel wells to the distinct paint job, this Peterbilt 359 replica more than stacks up against the real thing. Measuring in at 16 feet in total length (with trailer) and a height of 3 feet – it keeps true to the dimensions of the original.
Bordin’s Innovations to the Original
Because no tractor trailer is complete without a trailer, Bordin custom designed it with a stereo system and speakers so he could wow spectators with more than just the appearance. The trailer unfolds to become a MTV Cribs-enviable stereo experience. Topping it off with a 22-inch LCD television, he’s made the perfect system for watching a movie in the park.
Once he was finished building it, he released several YouTube videos showing its newfound capabilities. Able to drive at almost 9 mph and even tow his own Nissan SUV, this truck has certainly earned its way into the proud inherited tradition of the Peterbilt brand. Weighing in at nearly 550 lbs (250 kg), this RC beast is far and above what most remote controlled enthusiasts hope to build for their recreational vehicles. He’s included videos where he’s even riding atop the trailer as he pilots it down the street. This Peterbilt 359 is truly a fine specimen of what creative design and engineering can do to replicate a true American classic.