Op­ti­mus Prime time

It’s the expo where big­ger is def­i­nitely al­ways bet­ter

The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - Working Wheels - JAMES STAN­FORD

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.