1/43rd SCALE


1955 Peterbilt 281 with Fruehauf Tanker Trailer

Site last updated MAY 29th, 2013...

This model is 330mm in length and comes already painted, assembled & detailed as shown.


THE SCALE OF THE MODEL IS 1:43 WITH APPROX. DIMENSIONS L - 330mm (13") , W - 60mm (2 3/8"), H - 70MM (2 3/4")

*Sorry this model is no longer available*

A Little Bit About The Film :

Duel was written by Richard Matheson, based on the true story of a road rage incident that happened to Matheson and a friend in the desert when they were returning from a golf game on the day President Kennedy was shot in 1963.

Matheson is a writer in the thriller/action/sci fi genres, and wrote for both Twilight Zone and Night Gallery. The story Duel was first published in Playboy magazine in April 1971.

The movie was such a ratings hit that Universal decided to release it in theaters in Europe and Australia. It later had a limited release in U.S. theaters after Spielberg's success with Jaws.

Duel was Spielberg's first feature film, had a budget of $60 million, and was shot in 13 days. Most scenes shot on Soledad Canyon Road in Southern California with the truck and car eventually running off a cliff at Soledad Canyon. "Chuck's Cafe" was later transformed into a French Restaurant called Le Chene and is located on the Sierra Highway, Santa Clarita, California.

The original TV movie played out in only 74 minutes. 2 years later Spielberg, cast and crew were called back for two days of filming to add in an additional 16 minutes to make the film long enough for theater-goers.

The scenes added were: Mann's phone call to his wife, the school bus scene, the railroad crossing scene and a longer opening sequence. Obscenities were dubbed to make the film more in line with a theatrical release.

For trivia buffs, during a chase when David Mann approaches a pest exterminator vehicle mistakenly thinking it was a police car, the sign on the pest control vehicle reads "Grebleips" - which is Speilberg spelled backwards.

When Carey Loftin, the driver of the truck asked Spielberg what his motivation for tormenting David Mann should be, Spielberg said "You are a dirty,rotten,no-good son of a bitch" to which Loftin replied "Kid you hired the right man."

Carey Loftin was born in 1914 and became a top stuntman through the 1930's and 1940's. He began his career as a motorcycle stuntman and his credits include performances in films such as Bullit, Vanish Point, It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, The Love Bug, Used Cars, Days Of Thunder, The Rookie in which he was performing stunts into his 70's. He was both a stunt performer and stunt co-ordinator in a great number of films. He died in 1997.

About the Actual Truck:

The original film for television release, according to Steven Spielberg, featured only one truck, a 1955 Peterbilt 281. The truck had only one driving axle from new, hence the model designation 281, with the lazy axle to make the truck a 6x2 added later. This was not uncommon for trucks of the day and a cheaper option where a 'bogie drive' was not required. This particular model Peterbilt also did not have brakes fitted to the front wheels, as a safety feature for trucks that may operate in icy conditions. This is very noticable in the scene where the truck rolls backwards into a hiding spot and brakes suddenly.

This '55 went off the cliff at the end of the film (Mystery Mesa) in 1971 and is referred to as ‘Truck No.1’. It started it’s life as a Union Oil tanker. This truck was used for the entire television version of the film.

Truck No. 1 is easily identified by the yellow air cleaner indicating that it had a Caterpillar Diesel engine instead of the factory issued Cummins. After the cliff scene the truck was recovered the next day used for parts by the oil company then scrapped in 1979.

A second truck, a 1960 Peterbilt 281 was built as a standby unit at the request of Universal Studios as the engine of Truck No.1 was apparently on it’s last legs and a backup was purchased just in case. This truck has come to be known as the ‘surviving’ Duel truck however it was never used in the film. Instead, it was later used in the movie Torque, Chevy Malibu commercials and David Lee Roth's 1994 music video "She's My Machine". This truck is the only one not to have been destroyed.

The film was so successful that in 1973 it had to be extended for release in Cinemas. As the original truck was destroyed in the cliff scene, a later 1964 Peterbilt 351 model was purchased and prepared for use in the additional scenes that were added to extend the film, those being the “school bus” scene and the “railway crossing” scene. This truck can be easily identified by the different grill with closed slats, a different style trailer, original 'Cummins Engine' air cleaner and Kenworth mudflaps! This truck was also crashed down a cliff in another film, used for parts then scrapped at the same time as Truck No. 1.

A fourth truck, a 1962 Peterbilt 351 was used by Universal to make an episode of The Incredible Hulk based on a lot of archived footage from Duel. This truck had a much shorter wheelbase and different wheels and had nothing to do with the film.

According to the owner of the company who sold the trucks to Universal, there was an identical twin to Truck No. 1 used in a few scenes of the film, a 1956 Peterbilt 281 which got blown up in another film in 1979. These scenes are said to be : in the window and leaving Chuck’s Café, passing by as the car hides by the railway track ,and passing by the Snake-a-rama as the car pulls in, however Spielberg has stated that only one truck was used in the original length film. Some shots show the Duel truck with a damaged air horn, while in other shots the horn is undamaged.. could this be that truck? It's subsequent history is unknown.

About the Model:

The model is based on "Truck No. 1" which was used for the bulk of the film and the truck that went down the cliff at the end of the film. Only 10 numbered replicas have been produced. There are many differences between the various trucks and trailers, for example Truck No.1 has a different mirror on the driver's side to the standard mirror fitted on the passenger side which is reflected in the model. The 'surviving' truck has the same mirrors both sides.

The trailer used in the film has different shaped wheel arches and tail lights to the 'surviving' duel truck and the bumper is mounted in a different position. The 'Flammable' signage is also different and the ladder on the trailer in the film was in the middle of the tanker, not on the left as seen on the surviving truck. The trailer of the second Peterbilt used in the additional scenes added to the film in 1973 is of the same type as the 'surviving' truck sporting these differences.

Both the second film truck and the 'surviving' truck have Peterbilt emblems on the side of the hood as well as the 'T2A' sticker on the driver's side - the truck used in the bulk of the film, Truck No.1, does not.

If you've wondered why there is a small round mirror on top of the Duel Truck's radiator there's a good reason for it - to keep an eye on the exhaust stack. Excessive black smoke would indicate that the engine was running too rich due to lugging at low revs which could damage the cam or bearings. In this instance the driver would need to decrease the throttle or shift to a lower gear otherwise the over-fueling would increase exhaust gas temperatures while coating the cylinders with unburnt fuel and cause hot spot on the pistons and liners - eventually leading to the failure of those components.

The mirror could also be used to make sure the stack could clear low obstacles.

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