Mafia Secrets
‘The Mistress’ gets a makeover

By Bryan 'Boss Man' Martin, contributing writer

What you see here is not how Brandon Avant’s 2010 Peterbilt 389 looked when he bought it back in 2015. It was indeed double-framed, had this original wheelbase of 290 inches, but was not equipped with a fifth wheel. It was a straight truck during the first four years of its life.

Avant is the proud co-owner of Blann Tractor in Hampton, Ark. They operate approximately 80 trucks in a very diversified fleet, consisting of hopper bottoms, pneumatics, low-boys, and end dumps.

On the 2010 Pete, Avant installed a new Holland long-slide, tall-profile fifth wheel; removed the 40,000-pound rear suspension; bolted up a 46,000-pound air trac suspension system and added a 20,000-pound pusher axle; and then swapped the 12,000-pound steer axle for a 14,600-pound.

BBS Painting in Texarkana painted the truck after Brandon’s team at Blann did most of the upgrades. Recently, they have beefed up the factory 600-horsepower, 2,050-torque Cat engine with a single turbo conversion and a fairly aggressive ECM tune for optimum performance.

We crossed paths in 2016 with Brandon and wife Melissa, and he expressed a desire to take the truck to Louisville, Ky., and enter it in the Paul K. Young Truck Beauty Championship. After CSM’s shop foreman, Cody, and Brandon had a long talk about the vision for the finished appearance, the Boyz in the shop went right to work.

With a large portion of the bright work painted red to match the truck body, this Pete instantly acquired a racy hot rod look. The visors, grille surround, air cleaners, fuel tanks, battery boxes, frame covers, rear fenders, headlight housings and mirror brackets were all prepped, painted, and sprayed red.

All the lights are not only clear-lens LEDs, but also all the color-changing Dual Revolution series by Trux Accessories. So, with the flip of a switch, Avant can turn every light on the entire truck to bright red. Of course, no detail was left unaddressed: 10-inch stacks, a slammed sun visor, boltless box end bumper, and WTI rear fenders completed the exterior perfectly.

Moving to the interior, the painted dash, shift knob, horn button and floorboards made the inside look as hot as the outside. Our shop, with the help of the Davis and Moffett guys, put in a kickin’ sound system and created a one-off 48-inch sleeper remodel. We turned the bed area into a sofa-chair arrangement, so that Avant can comfortably haul three riders along with him when he takes off to the truck shows, vacation or whatever the need may be.

After the endless hours Avant has spent working with this truck, instead of being home with the Mrs., Avant’s wife soon dubbed the truck “The Mistress.” It seemed like a fitting name, and thus the title for this article: The Mistress gets a makeover!

Brian Bradley and Avant don’t want to risk having any time to relax, so they operate not only Blann Tractor, but also a 24-hour, full-service towing company. They are also gearing up to start a division to facilitate road construction.

When asked what he thought was the best advice one could give to someone contemplating becoming an owner-operator, Brandon’s suggestion was to “take your time, locate the best buy you can find on 1999 or older trucks, and side-step these e-log requirements. The

e-logs are going to really change the habits of today’s hard-working truckers.” LL