Monday, March 31, 2014

Riding shotgun in OOIDA's new Western Star

When it comes to trucks, the way it drives, the way it works, the way it holds up to the task at hand is all critical. How it looks is also high on the list. That’s why Western Star Truck Sales came up with a Design Our Star project, handing the power to Western Star fans to vote on what went into Western Star’s 2014 show truck.

Come on, Jon, let's roll.
The truck was unveiled at the 2014 Mid-America Trucking Show last week – a red, white and blue Western Star 4900EX, ultra-high sleeper with a maple red premium interior, Detroit DD16 engine, 18-speed manual transmission, ’70s paint job with plenty of chrome and lots of accessories.

Then the big moment: Western Star’s Guy Lemieux explained that the company was giving the truck to OOIDA for 24 months. Our own truck pilot Jon Osburn and OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer accepted the keys.

On Saturday night, the truck rolled out of the glitzy Western Star booth where it was sitting beside Optimus Prime (yes, the Transformer truck). With Jon behind the wheel, it cruised over to Papa John’s parking lot.

I like the way “Land Line Now” Host Mark Reddig described its arrival.

Jon "I am the captain" O.
“Tony Justice had just finished a rockin’ good song and here comes Jon in the new Western Star, lights blazing, right up beside the stage. Jon gave two blasts of the air horn and the crowd went wild. That entry couldn’t have been more exciting had it been totally planned, which it wasn’t.”

Sunday morning Jon headed back to OOIDA headquarters with me riding shotgun.

When we rolled north out of Louisville, the truck had 1,020 miles on it. It’s a joy to ride in. I really liked the seats and all the adjustments. I am only 5 feet tall, and with Sassi Dogg on my lap just some fine-tuning and we were totally comfy. Note: The seat belts were awesome and did not choke me.

The dash is a veritable cockpit. The door lock buttons sit on top of a well-upholstered door, and when we stopped for fuel Sassi locked Jon out. Fortunately for him, she locked me in.

The truck was so quiet, we could hear the bugs hit the windshield. Well, the big bugs at least.

It was so quiet, I could hear Jon gnashing his teeth and muttering as we endured some St. Louis four-wheelers demonstrating their worst driving habits right in front of us.

Incredibly cool truck.

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