When Leonard Mix leaves for work, he will be taking the modern conveniences of home with him, thanks to the latest design in truck cab technology by Pegasus Truck Cab Inc.
Mix, the first truck owner/driver of a Pegasus cab, was presented a plaque by company and city officials at an unveiling last week of the first product off the line. Mix is an independent trucker from Benicia, Calif.His replacement cab, which fits right over the chassis, turns his old Kenworth truck into a mini-motorhome that pulls freight, said Gene Swift, one of the founders and vice president of manufacturing at Pegasus.
The cab comes with a sofa, a sink with running hot and cold water, a refrigerator, a microwave, a closet, a fold-out table and two bunk beds and is tall enough for a person to pull his pants on without lying down, Mix said.
The cab is 131 inches long, 13 feet high and 120 inches wide - all within legal truck size standards. It is made of Divinycell, a strong fiberglass material used to build Coast Guard cutters.
Stan Peck, owner of Bedouin Boats in Payson, used his fiberglass techniques to help build the cab. He said the Divinycell material is stronger than regular aluminum and steel cabs and said that during tests a 20 pound sledge hammer was unable to put a hole in the body. The material doesn't rust or corrode and the paint is laminated into the outer shell.
The cab is aerodynamically designed for added fuel economy and can improve fuel mileage at least 15 percent, said Pegasus President William Fresh. He also estimates that living costs on the road will be cut in half.
The unibody cab reduces air turbulence and makes the ride quieter, he said. The cab was also designed with additional window space for greater visibility, making it safer.
And the cost of a Pegasus cab over? Almost $30,000.
But Mix doesn't mind. "In a few years it will pay for itself," he said.
The success of the new design may also bring additional jobs to Utah County, according to DeLance Squire, executive director of the Commission for Economic Development in Orem.
"This could be very substantial for the economy," he said. "I've felt like this could be one of the important businesses in town."
Fresh said within two years the company could employ up to 1,000 people. Ten people now work for the company. By the end of the year he anticipates 30 people will be working there.
"It could become a major industry in Utah Valley," he said.
The company already has a number of cab-overs on order and is prepared to turn out two a week in its Orem facility once production increases.
Bob Smith, a founder of Pegasus came up with the new cab idea after he faced headstrong winds while driving a truck.
"He thought `there's got to be a better way' and sketched out some ideas," Peck said. "We turned it into reality. It is still hard to believe a year ago it was just a dream."
Peck, Smith, Swift and several others took six months to build the Pegasus cab prototype and have since been testing it to get all the bugs out.
Swift said Smith drove the prototype across the country to see if production was viable. "Once we knew it was, it warranted more tests," Swift said. "Then the demand was high, so we finished it."
It was during one of Smith's drives that Mix spotted the Pegasus cab. He became interested in the new product and later placed his order for the first one off the production line.
Mix's wife, Trudy, said she and her husband have planned to become a husband and wife team, but until now "it just hasn't been as convenient."
Pegasus plans to sell the cab kits to truck rebuilding centers throughout the United States.