Optimus Prime time
It’s the expo where bigger is definitely always better
MOVIE stars and fuel misers starred at this year’s Mid America Trucking Show in Louisville Kentucky.
The biggest truck show in the US featured an eclectic mix of chrome-plated super trucks and innovative fuel misers.
One of the most popular rigs was brought in from Hollywood, fresh from filming the latest instalment of the Transformers movie franchise.
Optimus Prime was the focal point of the Western Star stand, complete with dramatic red and blue flaming paint scheme and six fat exhaust stacks.
The futuristic model, with narrow slit headlights and a large rectangular grille that is tilted back to create less drag, might seem like a far-fetched film prop but Western Star officials claim it hints towards a future model.
While it won’t be quite as dramatic, and certainly won’t have six exhaust stacks, the new model will be called the 5700 and Western Star is expected to be preview it this September.
Western Star also appealed to the patriotic spirit of locals with an eye-catching Design Our Star project truck.
The company gave its fans the chance to contribute to the process of building a show truck with a series of voting rounds held on its website. Fans chose the long bonneted 4900EX Long Haul truck with a super long sleeper, before selecting a big-bang Detroit Diesel DD16 engine. Maple red leather was picked for the interior, along with several chrome accessories.
The last choice was for the custom paint. Fans chose a retro red, white and blue scheme, complete with Evil Knievelstyle stars that was called “That 70s Truck”.
Peterbilt looked to the past to celebrate its 75th anniversary, presenting some immaculate classic trucks, but also set its eyes on the future with a special fuel saving pack for its 579 bonneted truck. It uses various aerodynamic elements such as chassis side skirts and a roof fairing, a special bumper and bonnet as well as a single aerodynamic exhaust stack.
The truck runs the efficient MX-13 PACCAR developed engine and a Fuller Advantage automated transmission, which shares more information with the engine for optimum fuel efficiency.
Other improvements include special low rolling resistance tyres as well as a tyre monitoring system that alerts the driver should a tyre drop below the prime operating pressure or develop other problems.
The same efficiency package was the main feature at sister brand Kenworth.
Mack literally left its mark on its fans at its stand at the March show, offering free tattoos. Tattoo artists from the TV show Miami Ink gave 12 fans tattoos of the new Mack logo that the company has just launched, along with the tagline, Born Ready.
The company didn’t show any new models at the show, but presented a wide range of trucks, including a Pinnacle truck running an engine running Compressed Natural Gas.
Fellow American brand Freightliner put the focus on gas with a bright yellow Cascadia Evolution running CNG.
The newly introduced version runs a Cummins Westport CNG engine and tanks large enough to give it a range of 1290km.
There was also a 48-inch sleeper cab and a Meritor Wabco OnGuard collision avoidance system that uses radar to detect a potential impact with another vehicle.
Great Dane trailers featured the futuristic Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience Peterbilit truck on its stand, putting a spotlight on its superlight carbon-fibre trailer.
Cummins placed its focus on a Peterbilt concept truck it is working on as part of the EPA Super Truck program.
The special truck features a Cummins heat recovery device that aims to use heat generated by the engine to generate additional energy.
Cummins says that the technology is several years away from production and is not part of its current development plan, but it remains a realistic proposition in the future.