Mafia Secrets
'Smoking Section'

By Bryan 'Boss Man' Martin, contributing writer

Welcome to 1986 and Kary Bryce’s Peterbilt 359, appropriately named “Smoking Section.” It’s a play on the fact that this pre-emission 3406B Cat engine will definitely push a bunch of black smoke thru the 7-inch exhaust pipes, guaranteeing there is no chance of passing CARB specs with this retro rig.

When Kary started the remake on this Pete, it actually was way over a 300-inch wheelbase and had suicide cab doors and late-model mirrors like a ’04 or newer Pete. His plan was to build a genuine trucker’s truck. Something 1980s-cool-and-smooth. Nothing gaudy or overdone. By golly … I’m thinkin’ he’s done it.

The chassis got shortened to 300 inches, and a late-model Flex Air suspension was installed. The cab was put back to traditional doors and 359 mirrors. A big Unibilt hole went in the back of the cab. And the entire truck, inside, outside, under the hood, front-to-back, top-to-bottom was reworked to show-winning condition.

The CSM crew went with heavy use of paint for this project. The tanks, boxes, and fenders were all painted in lieu of leaving them shiny. New buckskin and maroon leather upholstery went in. The dash was painted and striped to match the exterior. A stainless bow tie visor is what nearly every Pete deserves, so that’s what this one got. Retro double bubble lights went under the cab and sleeper to keep the theme going.

Now, there were some modern touches planned in the makeover, too. We ditched the old air wipers and put in electrics, installed a polished stainless steel grille surround instead of the original aluminum version, and the polished aluminum fifth wheel plate was a must-have.

In the past, many of Kary’s trucks have featured his signature wood-and-stainless cab floors. Well, we kicked it up a notch, by featuring the wood and stainless not only in the cab and sleeper, but on the exterior frame covers and tank filler panel too. Is it practical? No. Is it gonna last 10 years? No. But what the heck. It looks super sharp.

We have refurbished several trucks for Kary Bryce, and we couldn’t be prouder of the relationship we enjoy with the PMI folks. It made our day when “Smoking Section” took first place in its class at the PKY Truck Beauty Championship this year in Louisville. Kary has a few additional modifications planned for this truck and there are rumors of possibly a matching trailer coming soon.

Kary is from Minden, La., by the way. If you live in the central-lower U.S., look for black smoke rolling through your town. It very well may be this sweet 359 Pete. LL