Mafia Secrets
Not your typical Pete rebuild

By Bryan 'Boss Man' Martin, contributing writer

In 2007 Daniel Demaree, and his dad John bought an ol' rough 1980 Peterbilt 352 with the vision of restoring it, like so many of us, "when they had time."

What attracted them to it was the double-bunk cab, and the Detroit Diesel 8V92 powerplant, which they were partial to. If they were going to invest in a restoration project, they wanted it to be unique and a bit uncommon as compared to the typical Peterbilt show truck makeovers you see these days.

Quite some time ago, we ran into the Demarees in Louisville, Ky., and they explained that they had been blessed with a ton of work that kept them hustling to accommodate the needs of their customers. They asked the CSM crew "When could you potentially get started on a project like this?" And the saga began…

We started out with a basic in-frame engine rebuild. The truck had been sitting long enough that the piston rings had collapsed and were stuck to the pistons, allowing for excessive oil consumption. Next, we stretched the frame to a 245-inch wheelbase and added a Low-Air leaf suspension.

From there, it was essentially a no-stone-left-unturned renovation. The cab was really banged up from decades of hard road miles. After extensive body work, the new copper, cream and black paint job went on. A complete custom upholstery kit was installed along with new chrome aluminum wheels, 7-inch chimneys, new fuel tanks, a big chrome bumper, and tons of other new parts.

Our metal fab shop crew wanted to add to the uniqueness of this 352, so they fabbed a quilted battery box cover, pleated frame filler panels and rear light panel. Then they built an engine tunnel cover for the rear of the cab, created a one-off drop visor and put a cool spin on some Merritt aluminum frame covers.

Daniel wanted a bold look for the truck, so we followed his lead and went with western colors, nostalgic stripe job, and the traditional late '70s look. Nothing exotic or contemporary was even considered for this project. Our assignment was to build a "truckers truck."

Since Daniel was young, ridin' shotgun, hauling livestock with his granddad, he wanted to be a trucker. Once he got through high school, that's exactly what he did. Today, the Demarees own four trucks of their own that haul livestock throughout Indiana, Illinois and Ohio. Plus, they keep eight additional owner-operators busy too. These drivers don't slough around either; typically these Demaree rigs see 125,000 plus miles annually.

People with slick trucks are often asked about how to get into trucking. The Demarees have this advice.

"You better make sure that this is truly what you love to do, and want to do," Daniel said. "It's much more than simply driving. There is maintenance, billing, bidding, payroll, paperwork, finance planning and a whole bunch more involved to keep these trucks loaded and running. A fella has got to be determined and dedicated.

"In a world where there are many trucks that can move livestock for customers, we focus on providing reliability, and being willing and able to adapt and accommodate when the situation throws you a curve ball, which it does… all too often."

Daniel and John are partners in this cabover and say they will be hauling a few loads this summer and fall with "Stage #80," but it will be stabled during the harsh winter months.

Daniel also wants to especially thank his family for all their help and insight with this project, and most of all his wife, Tayler. Trucking (and truck building) can take a toll on the home life, and he is grateful for her understanding.

I want to express our gratitude to the Demaree clan for being such a great family and for their patience during this truck build. Exceptional trucks take more time than others to go together. We are proud to be the fellas that put together this awesome Pete for such a hardworking, down-to-earth, fantastic family, like Indiana's Demaree gang. LL