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AMT Peterbilt 352 Pacemaker Cabover

AMT No. AMT1090
AMT No. AMT1109 (trailer)
Molded Colors: White, chrome, clear
Scale: 1/25
MSRP: $39.99, $38.95 (trailer)
Pros: Minimal mold lines; beautiful decals
Cons: Mounting areas on chrome parts, final parts interference

Peterbilt’s 352 Pacemaker Cabover tractor equipped with a Fruehauf 53-foot box trailer was a common sight on American roads starting in late 1969. It went out of production in December 1980.

This kit is a pre-1975 model as newer cabs had door handles located at the lower corners of the doors.

Upon opening the two boxes for the tractor and trailer (sold separately), you’re almost overwhelmed by more than 200 parts for the tractor alone. The decal sheet is massive, with various Coca-Cola logos, DOT markings, and multiple state license plates.

Despite the tooling’s age, I was surprised to find the tractor’s parts free of heavy mold lines. However, I was disappointed the sprue numbers didn’t always match the instructions’ parts numbers.

Building the tractor takes 12 steps on a basic, yet informative, instruction sheet, starting with the big 871 cid V8 Detroit Diesel. The well-engineered, accurate engine has 25 pieces and was finished in white, as Peterbilt painted all of its engines white, unless otherwise specified.

Next are the wheels and tires. The wheels in this rerelease are far better than the old AMT wheels and fit together with zero issue. I matte-coated the wheels to tone down the chrome as the rims are representations of 10-hole aluminum wheels.

The chassis was easy to assemble and the parts were super clean. It built up from the rails with the front and rear suspensions, drive axles, and front steering axle.

Once pieced together, everything was coated in a fresh coat of actual Coca-Cola red paint sourced from an employee of Coke bottling company. You’ll rarely find a black chassis under a Peterbilt since all are assembled to spec.

The wheels and tires, fuel tanks, battery box, and engine were then installed to complete the rolling part of the tractor.

The cab’s interior was painted brown and beige to replicate a two-tone leather scheme with a wood grain dash. There are no decals for the gauges.

The rest of the interior fit together well and builds into an inviting area for the driver.

Painted in that iconic red and white Coca-Cola livery, the cab builds well apart from the side windows which required trimming to fit.

Note the cab’s mounting areas where chrome pieces meet the sprue, are right on highly visible areas and need to be sanded then fixed with Bare-Metal foil or a Molotow Liquid Chrome pen.

Final assembly is where it all went south unfortunately.

The chassis and cab interface is loaded with fitment issues due to various chassis parts interfering with the cab’s parts. This forces you to trim, bend, and grind parts to create a cohesive unit. Frustrated, I ended up gluing the cab to the chassis permanently instead of allowing it to pivot forward .

On to the trailer which is a kit in itself. The long box consists of five main body panels with opening rear doors. Its suspension builds an impressive German-style, tandem leaf-spring setup with air brakes and a rolling stock bearing eight, split-rim wheels with 6-lug spider hubs. 

The trailer was painted aluminum, with the side panels painted a familiar Coca-Cola red. All of the decals are big and lay down well onto the beaded side panels of the trailer.

I tried to reposition a passenger side decal on the trailer as it was slightly crooked and now I’m waiting on a replacement decal sheet from Round2.

This project was fun to build, and for a kit that first was introduced in the 1970s, it goes together well. I recommend this kit to any big rig fan with adequate model building experience.


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