FERGUS, Ont. - Avast maties and avert yer eyes to a sight you've ne'er afore seen this side of Davy Jones' locker. 'Tis a fine vessel from bow to stern, decked out in the finest paint and detailing th...
BURIED TREASURE: The finer details, like those found in the Brinker’s cab, helped the couple win Best of Show in Fergus.
AWE-STRUCK: An onlooker laughs in amazement at the intricate detail found in the truck’s murals.
A COUPLE O’ BUCKANEERS: Bob and Shelley Brinker show off the hood of their Classic XL Freightliner. Pictured alongside Johnny Depp’s pirate character is their daughter Amie, who passed away last year.
FERGUS, Ont. – Avast maties and avert yer eyes to a sight you’ve ne’er afore seen this side of Davy Jones’ locker. ‘Tis a fine vessel from bow to stern, decked out in the finest paint and detailing that be available in…Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.?
Yep, you heard right. One of the sleekest, most stylish, ornately painted and detailed trucks to hit the show truck circuit in recent years had all its work done in the Northern Ontario city affectionately known as the Soo. (Oh, and in case you scurvy dogs were wondering about the all that pirate talk, the truck is outfitted to look like the Black Pearl from the Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise, savvy?).
So just how good is the workmanship of Bob and Shelley Brinker’s 2000 Classic XL Freightliner? Let’s just say the sight of the truck would be enough to shiver the very timbers of Pirate’s own Captain Jack Sparrow (played by Johnny Depp in the films). Sparrow himself can be found in mural form on both the hood and driver’s side of the truck, with the “real” Black Pearl painted on the passenger side and some ghoulish characters on the back.
The transformation from truck to ship is stunning – from the anchor extending from the engine (which is airbrushed to look like wood), to the ship’s wooden “deck” in the cab (complete with seagulls, a parrot and a few little rats scurrying around), to the satin sheets in the sleeper (fit for Sparrow himself) – the design team left no stone unturned when creating the masterpiece.
The truck’s design is courtesy of Sault Ste. Marie-based artist Al Proulx and TMS Truck Center, the body shop that finished the truck’s base and clear coat.
For Proulx and TMS, the Brinker’s truck meant a challenge to create a beautiful product with as much detail as possible. But for the Brinker’s, the truck means so much more.
In September of last year, the Brinker’s daughter Amie passed away. In the months that followed, Bob and Shelley decided that they would like to create a memorial for their daughter, using their truck as the canvas. The truck had been painted from head to tail (no pun) to resemble a dragon – but since their daughter was a big fan of the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie, they decided to repaint it using the updated theme. In fact, Amie herself is featured on the truck’s hood alongside Depp’s character.
“We totally changed our truck as a memorial for her, which is why we went with the theme,” Bob told Truck News at the Fergus Truck Show. “Her kids enjoy it as do her sister and brother. It’s something that we wanted to do for her.”
But the Brinkers’ family isn’t the only one that has been enjoying the design. Their truck easily drew the largest crowd of any competitor at the Fergus event and show-goers were quick to show their appreciation of the design.
“It’s been overwhelming. Everybody just absolutely loves it. I don’t think I’ve said thank-you so many times in my life as I have in the last two days,” Bob said.
The truck performed exceptionally at the show, taking home first place in the Best ’98 to ’01 Working Tractor, Best Mural Tractor, Best Light Show ‘Heavy’ Single, and the coveted Public Choice – Best Truck of Show. The Best Owner/Operator’s Working Tractor category in Fergus garnered them a second place finish as well.
But it seems the Brinkers have been tearing up the show truck circuit both north and south of the border. The couple recently won top prize in the Mural and Interior categories, as well as a second place Best of Show finish at the 24th annual Shell ROTELLA SuperRigs truck beauty contest in Sacramento, Calif.
But the truck isn’t just a nice piece of eye candy – it also has a job to do. The Brinkers rack up about 140,000 miles a year using their 2000 Freightliner to haul flatbed lumber and steel for their company Brinker Trucking.
The Brinkers’ decision to first redesign their truck five years ago was a throwback to the mural trucks which were more popular in the ’70s and ’80s.
“We just love mural trucks and all the themes they’d come up with, but that’s kind of died out now,” Shelley said. “We’re trying to bring it back, I guess.”
But what would company officials at Walt Disney, whose “Pirates of the Caribbean” ride at Disneyworld served as the inspiration for the films, say if they saw the Brinkers’ Pirates-themed truck cruising down the highway? Bob and Shelley may soon find out as they recently sent off pictures of the truck to Walt Disney Studios.
But for now the couple is content to revel in the attention their truck allows and know that their daughter Amie is looking down on them approvingly.