Custom 1987 Peterbilt 377 with Cat Powered Marine Engine


This 1987 Peterbilt 377 truck was built, owned and operated  by an Ontario-based owner operator.

It belonged to a good friend of mine (AKA: The Lettuce King. He is a Peterbilt fanatic and a mechanical genius.)

This ’87 Peterbilt 377 had some pretty amazing features and specifications.

Here are the notable specs:

  • 15 over transmission
  • 390 rear ends
  • Rev limiter was set to 2600
  • Had a marine fuel pump
  • Caterpillar 700 HP Marine engine, Model 3406 with propane injection
  • Schwitzer turbo
  • Marine injectors
  • Kysor automatic heat shut off
  • 244″ wheelbase
  • Set forward front axle, SFFA, (most were set back front axle SBFA), it would  scale differently than most trucks. Actually the reason it was designed like this, was because the owner wanted this configuration to accommodate an oversize bumper.

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1987 Peterbilt 377 Custom Semi Truck

Peterbilt 377 With Power +

1987 377 Peterbilt & 1993 Kenworth W900L
Peterbilt 377 (Lettuce King) + My Truck (Kenworth W900B)

This Peterbilt 377 had no shortage of power and torque.

The motor was built before the emission standards came into play in the trucking industry.

It was custom built by Great Lakes Diesel mechanic, Rick Plauman. It averaged 6.5 miles/gallon, which was absolutely amazing, for a diesel engine with these specs.

This baby smoked like a chimney when it was working hard, although it rarely needed to work hard. It had way more power than it ever needed.  It won several championships at truck pulls in Ontario over the years.

Way back when, we ran produce on the 3 day schedule, from the U.S. west coast, Salinas and Bakersfield, California to the Ontario Food Terminal, in Toronto.

On these trips, this truck performed at it’s best. It could literally almost run coast to coast without
dropping a gear. Only occasionally, he’d need to drop a gear.

When he was climbing Donner Pass on I-80, going east, he’d drop one gear. But that was it, all the way to Toronto. Needless to say, he’d pass me on the hills like I was standing still!

It also had lots of custom made chrome accents, such as clutch pedal, fuel and brake pedal, steering column was chrome.  The owner kept the truck in meticulous condition, inside and out. It was his baby.

1987 Peterbilt 359 Custom Truck

Time to Trade

My buddy had this Peterbilt 377 for about 8 years and eventually traded it for a rare high bunk, long hood, black and gold 359 Peterbilt, with a 425 Cat.

He decided to trade AFTER he blew an injector, attempting to pass another truck, with the thing wound up to its limits.

This guy was evidently a fiend for power in his trucks, as you can tell from the specs of this Pete.

This particular truck didn’t have a long wheel base. He later got theyearning for the big ass long wheel-base trucks later on.

He built a few long wheel base trucks from the ground up and sold them.

He would start with a bare bones frame and body, take a heap of parts, go to the salvage yards and buy some used parts, buy some new parts and build a truck. He has amazing talent.

He’s also quit driving long haul truck, about 15 years ago, to drive locally in the construction business.

However, I predict that soon, he’ll be back behind the wheel, running long haul.

He’s got diesel and trucking in his blood and he just can’t stay away.

Related > Best Truck Engines + The Worst Truck Engines – A Trucker’s Guide

The Ride of the Lettuce King – 1965 Peterbilt 351

The most current ‘Lettuce King’ build.

  • 1965 Peterbilt 351 Model
  • 3406 Cat
  • 6 U Joints
  • Frame is half 359, half 379 Pete
  • 5X4 Twin Sticks
1965 Peterbilt 351 (Needlenose)

F.A.Q’S

Are mechanical diesel engines better than emissions-friendly engines?

It depends on who you ask. The emissions-friendly engine trucks have had reliability issues over the years. The emissions trucks are more expensive to purchase, maintain and operate. Many truck owners are keeping their mechanical engine trucks and restoring and rebuilding the engines to avoid the less than reliable and expensive emissions trucks.

Do emissions-friendly trucks get better fuel mileage than the mechanical engine trucks?

Yes, most of them do get better fuel mileage. But this isn’t necessarily because of the engine, but more technology as the newer trucks are more aero-dynamic and have features that help with improved fuel economy.



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