Friday, August 28, 2009

A Movie Star in Our Parking Lot

The 1960 Peterbilt tractor parked at the northeast corner of our parking lot may not look like a celebrity; its faded primer-colored body, dingy chrome, and painted steel wheels inspired a helpful local police officer to call us, offering to track down its owner to have the abandoned truck retrieved.

Imagine his surprise when I thanked him for his generosity but assured him the truck was actually a movie star - one that appeared in Steven Spielberg's first production-length Hollywood film.

In Spielberg's 1971 classic Duel, businessman David Mann (played by Dennis Weaver) sets off on a driving trip across the desert to meet a client when he comes upon a slow-moving old tanker truck. What initially begins as Mann's attempt to simply pass the truck and move on to his appointment escalates into a day of terror as the seemingly driverless truck pursues and tries to kill Mann.

The tension-filled cult classic featured three near look-alike Peterbilts in the main role; this Peterbilt was considered truck #2 and also later played a role in a David Lee Roth video.

The Duel Peterbilt is currently on loan to the Museum from its owner, who also owns the "Rubber Duck" from the classic trucker movie Convoy. "Rubber Duck" is also currently at the Museum of Transportation.

For more information on the Duel truck, visit

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