Sunday, April 25, 2010


As usual I have been spending a lot of time over on HANK'S TRUCK PICTURE FORUM, and recently the subject of the PETERBILT MIGHTY MITES came up in a thread started by my buddy Jerry called "FOR PETES' SAKE" (VINTAGE PETERBILT APPRECIATION) .

So now I hear you asking yourself (while others may already know), "WHAT IS A PETERBILT MIGHTY MITE?"

Seems back around 1946 PIE (PACIFIC INTERMOUNTAIN EXPRESS) came up with an idea to highlight PETERBILT as this was their dominant truck at the time, and at the same time promote PIE throughout the trucking industry. So, in 1947 PIE constructed a 1/2 scale operational truck in their SALT LAKE CITY shop that was to become the first MIGHTY MITE.

Here is a picture of that truck beside the real truck it was patterned after, a model 344. It made its' first appearance August 2, 1947 at the opening of PIE's Denver Terminal.

This 1/2 scale truck was used by PIE to promote truck safety and the PIE trucking enterprise. After touring the country, this truck was put up for sale. Fortunately, there were no buyers, and PIE decided to give the old 47 a little face lift to make it a model 350 cab-over with a dromedary unit. Most of the conversion work was now done by Peterbilt, this included the lengthening of the 47's chassis and building of the cab. Note the drom unit and short cab in the picture below.

At some latter point PIE again made further modifications to the old 47 (now an early 50's BUBBLENOSE 350) by lengthening the cab with a sleeper and removing the dromedary unit to come up with this configuration  shown here beside a full size PIE truck for comparison --

By 1965, PIE was once again in need of a replacement for the Bubblenose PETE. Again Peterbilt made a model 282 COE in 1/2 scale to fit the bill, shown here beside a KENWORTH COE.

Of course, it would be very sad indeed if these "one of a kind" trucks did not survive. Where are they now?
For that information, and more pictures, you'll have to visit HANK'S, specifically the  MIGHTY MITE thread
to see how some wonderful people have provided the answers.


  1. Some really good info here on an interesting subject -- thanks for the post and researching!!!

  2. How refreshing! This is a super fun topic to read, and even sip! Who says trucks and truck equipment is the only important topic? By golly,
    what’s your brand, what tastes best, is important to all of us.
    Thanks to Pilot and to Fleet Owner for reminding us of the simpler topics of interest to truck operators.
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  3. My Dad drove for PIE for years. I have several of the toy trucks and pictures of me with the mighty mite at the whitwood mall in Whittier Calif.

  4. Anonymous --- I hope you will send me copies of the pictures via email, or at least send me an email with your address. No coincidene that you contacted me just after I spoke with Al Koenig!! THANKS fo posting and hope you read this!!

  5. I have a photo of me standing next to the Mighty Mite at a truck rodeo held at the Ford City shopping mall in Chicago in the late 60's. Fond memories.

  6. frittsg@bellsouth.net My wife worked with Ron Duffin here in Memphis and his father worked for PIE in Salt Lake. Ron used to tell us about his father showing "driving" this truck in parades. Never saw it til now. Small world!

  7. Good God! I remember the small truck from being little. My Dad, Grandfather and Uncle worked for PIE.

    I got to ride the small truck when PIE had a Company outing at Geauga Lake amusement park in the late 60's and early 70's.
    Thanks for the memories.
    S. Dillon

  8. i also have pictures of the little pete with doubles at the summit terminal my dad drove for pie i remember the pie picniks the had at the amusement park in the late 60s and 70s what great memories.

  9. PLEASE!!!!! If you have pictures, I would love to add them to this post. If you send an email to me, PLEASE include your email address so I can contact you!!!

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  13. I just saw the SOUTHEASTERN FREIGHT Mighty Mite at a customer appreciation lunch at their terminal in East Texas. It looks, sounds and runs great. Mike


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