By Ruth Jones
Peterbilt Motors Company un-veiled a new conventional tractor in February. The Peterbilt Model 387 features sleek, contemporary, aerodynamic styling in an identifiably Peterbilt package. The hood slopes 22 degrees, and combined with the curved swept-back bumper results in a 13 percent reduction in drag over the Model 377. The hood design and wider one-piece aerodynamic windshield can mean both better visibility for drivers and increased fuel economy. Specially designed headlights enhance the driver's view at night, as well as contributing to the overall aerodynamic design. Even though the cab and sleeper is 17 percent larger than the Model 377, aluminum construction makes the vehicle weights comparable. The hood consists of three panels, and the bumper consists of two pieces, to facilitate repairs in the event of damage. A two piece fender liner reduces noise and spray, but is attached to the hood and tilts out of the way to allow easy access to engine components. The set-back front axle and 50-degree wheel cut enhance maneuverability. The Model 387 will be available in a 112-inch BBC configuration this summer, and in a long conventional (120-inch BBC) later in 1999.
The dash> is ergonomically designed to put every switch in easy reach and every color-zoned gauge in plain sight. The tilt-telescoping wheel is controlled by a pedal in the floor rather that a lever on the steering column. The hood release is located inside the cab for the driver's convenience, and also enhancing exterior A wide armrest is incorporated into the door as well as side defroster vents. There is 30 inches of room between the seats and the shift tower is positioned to allow easy passage from either seat. There are cup holders under the dash to accommodate both small and large mugs, and those on the passenger side fold away to increase already impressive leg room.
The sleeper features a 42-inch easily-lifted bunk, revealing 25 cubic feet of storage that can also be accessed from outside the cab through baggage compartment doors on either side of the vehicle. A second bunk is optional. Upper windows tilt out for ventilation. A modular cabinet system provides storage adaptable to individual needs. Interior colors depart from the more usual somber hues to enhance a light and airy atmosphere. Sleeper surfaces are designed without deep grains or grooves to be easier to clean. LL