ITTES show stopper

Every year, Western Star manufactures a customised show truck to help promote the brand and gain the attention of passers by.

Chris Jory is the manager of the concept, the prototype and corporate show trucks for Western Star. He was told by brand communications manager, Andy Johnson, to come up with something amazing and was given free reign. Chris enlisted the help of Mickey Larson, president of Twins Custom Coaches in Oregon and the result was the development of the ‘Wanted’ show truck – complete with ‘wanted’ posters painted onto the truck’s exterior.

The vehicle made its debut at the Mid-America Truck Show in Louisville, Kentucky early last year. Western Star has now confirmed that the truck will make the journey to Australia to take part in the 2012 International, Truck, Trailer and Equipment Show.

“The truck is a showpiece, pure and simple,” says Western Star Trucks Australia General Manager of Marketing, Don Hanson. “Visitors to the Western Star stand will have the opportunity to view a true one of a kind vehicle. And, if the response is anything like what it received at last year's Mid America Truck Show, it should gain a lot of attention.”

Inspired by the wild west, the Western Star 4900EX Low Max ‘Wanted’ is a stock truck that has been outfitted with leather saddle bags, shiny belt buckles and twin rifle barrel exhaust stacks. The Low Max model name is inspired by the Kirk Douglas character, Lomax, in the western film, The War Wagon, which co-starred John Wayne.

The truck’s saddlebags were handcrafted by former rodeo performers who also manufacture $4000 custom-made boots. These saddlebags have been used to cover the fuel tanks and are inset into the rear fenders, which were designed by Mickey to match the front fenders. The grille is also leather, attached with Chicago screws. Saddle soap ensures the leather always looks its best and is kept in tiptop condition.

“The fact that the truck is covered in leather makes it a clear standout, but it’s the attention to detail and pride of craftsmanship that really strikes me,” says Don. “It reflects the pride and passion that I see every day with Western Star owners and drivers, and their trucks.”

To add, the 22 inch high, leather-covered front bumper is complete with a new Western Star insignia and logo that resembles a giant belt buckle. Belts with similar buckles wrap around the air cleaners, and the exhaust stacks which have been shaped to look like rifle barrels ready to fire. An intricate pattern has been engraved into the stacks, air cleaners, wheel rims, roof edge and inlaid strips of the rear fenders.

And the colour is not just any shade of brown. It was chosen because of its resemblance to the colour of root beer and to give the truck a woody tone. Painting preparation and finish work was completed by Twin Custom Coaches, while the painting was completed by UnderGround Customs, also located in Oregon. 

Light bars below the cab doors are made from aluminium bar stock, with metal ribs and bullet lights.

Following the western theme, Western Star has used anodized copper in the tread plates and in the vertical grille bars.

But despite all of the elaborate modifications, Don confirms that ‘Wanted’ is just a stock truck underneath it all. Everything has been bolted on and can easily be replaced with factory parts.

The truck’s designers also made the decision not to touch the truck’s interior, instead choosing to show off Western Star’s new OEM interior which is complete with wooden cabinets and a table, dashboard, door panels and prairie tan coloured upholstery.

Most of the show trucks developed by Western Star in the past have been pre-purchased by a dealer, who takes delivery of the vehicle once the touring has ended. The ‘Wanted’ truck, however, has proved so popular that Western Star will be holding on to it for an extended period so that dealers around the United States can display the vehicle at open house events and during customer visits.

After its short stay down under for the ITTES, the ‘Wanted Truck’ will make its way back to its homeland before visiting the IAA Commercial Vehicles Fair in Hanover, Germany later in the year.

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