Luca Bordin is a big fan of American trucks, and since he couldn’t get his hands on a real rig, the Italian handyman decided to build his own Peterbilt 359.
Luca, who lives in Venice, Italy, told Wired Magazine he finds European truck small and dull compared to the American behemoths, but even if he could afford to buy a real big rig, it would never fit through the narrow streets of his home city in Northern Italy. So after seeing a YouTube video of a Dutchman driving around in a 1/4 scale replica truck, he decided to build his own Peterbilt 359, just to see if he could do a better job. Making model trucks was never really a big passion of his, but after seeing that video, the challenge was just too hard to resist.
Bordin but it over 2,000 hours of work, over nine months, but the result is just breathtaking. His remote-controlled Peterbilt 359 model is a perfect replica of the original, right down to the authentic California license plates. The 16-foot-long, 3-foot-tall model tips the scale at 180 kg without the trailer, and goes over 250 kg with the trailer attached. He used images and drawings of the American truck, built a perfectly scaled wooden model of the cabin, which he later used to make one out of fiberglass, created a sturdy iron-pipe frame capable of withstanding serious weight, and used a steering system inspired by go-karts, where the wheels have a different turning radius.
To make his 1/4 scale replica Peterbilt 359 functional, Luca Bordin installed a 36-volt, 750-watt electric motor, which, although not as powerful as he would have liked, is strong enough to tow his Nissan Patrol GR SUV. He even made the “green” decision of mounting a solar panel on the trailer to provide power to the truck. Other cool features of the remote-controlled truck include hundreds of LEDs lighting up the cabin, real truck horns powered by a mini-compressor, and even a small fog machine, like the ones used in dance clubs, that pumps fake smoke through the twin smokestacks. The truck even sounds authentic, thanks to a pair of speakers that emit the sound of a 400-horse-power engine.
The trailer is also an awe-inspiring work of art. On command, it opens to reveal a 22-inch LCD display, and a monster sound system that is bound to make any automotive enthusiast jealous. Luca Bordin says he hand-built his awesome Peterbilt 359 truck replica for personal satisfaction, and doesn’t plan on selling it.