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International Miles Ahead

Gino's Money Maker

by Jim Park

Gino Cuglietta's favorite place to be at six o'clock in the morning is on the golf course. But you won't find him emptying out the sand traps with his pitching wedge. He's filling them up.

Gino and his stunning 2000 Model 379 Peterbilt haul sand to several new courses in southern Alberta on a regular basis. When he's not cruising down a soon-to-be fairway, he's hauling sand and gravel to construction projects in the Edmonton area, as he's been doing for the past 25 years.

Gino emigrated to Edmonton from his native Italy at the age of 15, and went right to work in construction. He bought his first truck - a tandem GMC - in 1974 and he's been on his own ever since. His son, John, recently joined the business and currently drives Gino's other Pete: a 1997 379 that looks a lot like this one except for blue lettering and nearly half-a-million miles on the clock.

Gino's own truck was clearly spec'd to make money. The dump and pony trailer combo gives Gino a payload of 38.5 tons - 10 tons more than with a tridem end-dump. His 500-hp C15 Caterpillar is 300 lb lighter than a 3406, and he runs 22.5-in. tires because they're 25 lb lighter than 24-inchers.

Even the axles earn their keep. He runs a set of tandem Super-40's: a 46,000-lb axle in a 40,000-lb carrier to save another 2200 lb. The aluminum boxes weigh 3000 lb less than a pair of steel boxes. And as for the shine: "It took five guys a full day to make it shine like this," Gino says. "Next year, I'll spend another $1800 and have it all shined up again."

The unit was custom built by Peter Peeling at J.P's Sales and Service in Edmonton, and features Hendrickson axles and air suspension on a custom-built frame and converter dolly. All the axles are equipped with on-board scales. The tarp winches are electric and operated from the cab. Gino runs three extra electrical connectors between the truck and the trailer: one for the back-up alarm and the tarp winch, another for the suspension air pressure, and a third for all the extra lights.

Call it extravagant if you want, but Gino says he's only been pulled over for six inspections in 25 years, and he's never had a mechanical violation. He works five days a week, six when it's busy, from 6:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for about $80/hr. He burns about 400 liters of fuel a day and turns about 140,000 km annually.

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