Vintage Truck: Peterbilt 350 COE – The Happy Trucker

I love vintage photos of trucks, but I really love old photos of people when they’re expressive. So this one scores doubly: it’s a tall and burly Peterbilt 350 COE, from the legendary truck maker of iconic long nosed conventionals. But there was a growing demand for big COE’s, given the length restrictions in many parts of the country, and long-haul trucking was on the rise after the war. This Petebilt COE came out in 1950, but it’s pretty hard to date otherwise.

As to the grinning driver, well, let’s not forget that Elvis Presley started out as a truck driver, although it was just a 3/4  or one-ton Chevy. But he supposedly did pick up his hairstyle from truckers, who wore it on the long side and slicked back.

Here’s another one of these, next to a later Peterbilt COE model.

Another 350 straight truck with trailer, a combination that was fairly common in California.

In 1955, a more modern COE cab arrived, the Model 351, called the Pan-O-Ramic SafT Cab, in the lingo of the times.

It was replaced by the more familiar cab arrived in 1959, the model 352. That was then used for several decades. This one has single round headlights, suggesting it’s from the 60s. Some also had quad round headlights.

Later versions had the quad rectangular lights. These were Model 362.

Peterbilt’s last COE was the Model 372 Aero, built between 1988 and 1994, but did not find many buyers as the length standards were liberalized during this time, and conventional cabs became the preferred choice.