1954 Peterbilt 350 COE

Truck on down for some long haul heritage

Riley Riley

They’re getting ready for an auction of a different kind next month in the US state of Illinois.

A collection of 11 vintage, collectable trucks along with plenty of trucking memorabilia will go under the hammer on March 24-25.

It’s part of the a lifelong collection by trucking identity Gene Olson and his late wife, June.

A celebrated name in the motor carrier trade, Gene Olson is well known for his dedication and commitment to the preservation of the trucking industry and its notable history.

His lifelong admiration for large transport trucks fueled his interest in ensuring the historical legacy of the trucking world would continue to carry on for the long haul.

As chairman emeritus of the Antique Truck Historical Society, Olson’s passion, coupled with the rich story behind each truck he owns, served to shape his resultant personal truck collection.

Trucks up for grabs include from Peterbilt, International, Kenworth and Mack, from a period spanning the 1950s through the 1980s.

Olson’s 1954 Peterbilt 350 COE “Bubblenose” is powered by a 275 HP supercharged Cummins engine, and the classic cabover also features a four-speed transmission with three-speed auxiliary.

His 1970 Peterbilt 352 is a workhorse that he and his wife used to pick up most of the trucks in the collection.

It’s equipped with a 8V71 engine and Peterbilt air-ride suspension.

The 1954 International 405, known as a “High Binder” among trucking enthusiasts, is equipped with a 350 Cummins engine and a five-speed transmission with four-speed auxiliary.

Described as the “Midwesterner” in a 1953 International sales bulletin, the RDFC-405 was built to haul more than 30 tonne loads with a tandem axle power unit.

This truck has been displayed at many truck shows throughout the Midwest.

Other highlights from Olson’s collection include a 1958 Kenworth Bullnose COE, a 1952 Mack LF and a 1984 Kenworth W900 — to name a few.

 The auction will also feature about 500 tractors as well as a selection of coveted road art and relics.

The Gone Farmin’ Spring Classic auction is open to buyers and spectators. For details visit


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