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Bad Attitude Stands Out at Big Rig Show

Bad Attitude Stands Out at Big Rig Show


Sometimes iconic hot rods show up at places you least expect. One of the coolest builds we had the pleasure of seeing last summer put in an appearance at the Big Rig Show in Eau Claire, Wis. Nicknamed “Piss’d Off Pete,” the souped-up, long-hooded semi-tractor looks like a kid’s toy come to life. Even in a parking lot full of custom 18 wheelers, $300,000 “rotator” tow trucks and shiny red antique fire engines, this customized Peterbilt with a bad attitude stood out as the “Big Rig Big Attraction”.

Piss’d Off Pete is Jay Leno's 1960 chopped Peterbilt. The bad boy is powered by an 852-cid two-stroke Detroit Diesel V-12. It has twin blowers that function as an integral engine component, rather than power boosters for the two-stroke diesel. The engine produces just shy of 500 hp and nearly 1000 lbs.-ft. of torque and redlines at 2,800 rpm. The monster mill is attached to an Allison four-speed automatic transmission pirated from a Greyhound bus.

According to fabricator Randy Grubb ( who did the build for Blastolene Brothers, “Piss’d off Pete was built from a 1960 Peterbilt semi-truck model 351. The top was chopped and the cab was re-skinned with new aluminum. The engine is a Detroit diesel 12v71 of approximately 1972 vintage. Each cylinder is 71 cu. in. and has two superchargers on this two cycle diesel motor. The Detroit diesel makes 1200 lbs.-ft. of torque and 474 hp at 2150 rpm.

With an unforgiving attitude and dangerously loud (in its flat-out scream, it hits around 140 decibels), the name Piss’d Off Pete is totally appropriate for this classic! Ironically, it was sold to a very happy (and smiling) private collector.

The car took 3,000 hours to build over a span of t5 months. It features a 60 mph speedometer, riveted doors that have an aeronautical flavor, aluminum bomber seats with tooled western leather work, a nickel-plated 35-gal. boat tail gas tank inspired by Gatsby era Auburn speedsters, swan neck side view mirrors with oval lenses and ’38 Ford rearview mirror sourced from Bob Drake.

Grubb became a hot rod sensation when he sold an earlier creation, The Blastolene Special, to Tonight Show host Jay Leno. That car was powered by a M47 Patton tank engine. Leno featured Piss’d Off Pete on an episode of Jay Leno’s Garage in which he and Grubb went cruising around Burbank, Calif. in the tricked-out truck. Grubb told Leno he would rather not talk about miles per gallon because it’s so good in generating “smiles per gallon.”

Leno eventually purchased Piss’d Off Pete for his Jay Leno’s Garage Collection in Burbank.

Original Truck Make: 1960 Peterbilt Model 351 
Engine: Circa-1972 Detroit Diesel 852-cid 12V71
CID Per Cylinder: 71
Fuel Intake: Two in-line 6-71 Superchargers
Transmission: Allison 740D Automatic 4-speed
Rear End: Rockwell with 2.70 gears
Front Suspension: Transverse Leaf Springs
Rear Suspension: Quarter Elliptic Leaf Springs
Brakes: Disc with hydro boost
Front Tires: BF Goodrich 700-20
Rear Tires: Michelin 445/50-R22.5
Rearview Mirrors: HR-18402/3 Bob Drake Swan Neck
Rear View Mirror: HR-78-1 7690 Bob Drake ’37-39 Ford
Torque: 1,000 lbs.ft.
Weight: 7,800 lbs.
Length: 17f ft.
Horsepower: 474

Piss'd Off Pete put in an appearance at the Eau Claire Big Rig Show

A second rod that looked like Piss'd Off Pete's little brother was also at the Big Rig Show.