Sweet 16

| January 01, 2007

“A classic truck should make the driver’s job easier and make it comfortable,” he says. “I have to drive this truck for five years, and I’ll enjoy it every day. That makes a huge difference.

“A classic is more than looks and chrome; it is a truck that makes a user a better trucker, and the Classic XL does that.”

Freightliner FLD
The FLD is not in Freightliner’s product line any more, but the company says it was one of the greatest trucks it has made in its history. Introduced in the mid-1980s and retired in 2002 (in the NAFTA market), the FLD was the “go to” truck for on-highway fleets, says Freightliner. Easy to maintain, reliable and quiet, the FLD was a solid truck with a large and durable yet lightweight reinforced aluminum cab that minimized vibration and noise. The FLD also offered Freightliner’s first integral sleeper.

Peterbilt 359
According to American Truck Historical Society Managing Director Bill Johnson (see sidebar on page 21), the 359 deserves classic credit for leading the way for the 379, which became its successor in 1987. The 359 hit the road running on April 12, 1967, and more than 14,000 were sold before they went off production in 1987.

When it was introduced, the 359 was the first wide-nosed conventional. Peterbilt produced a limited edition at the end of its run, just as it will do next year with the Legacy edition of the 379.

The 359 boasted a number of firsts or unique attributes, some of which (*) were carried over to the 379:

  • First air-assisted hood tilt

  • First all-aluminum tilt hood*
  • Aircraft quality huckbolt construction*
  • Tilt-out dash for easy maintenance
  • Corvette-style dash and instrumentation
  • 90-degree cab door opening*
  • 90-degree hood tilt*

Peterbilt 379
“Few products in the history of the industry have achieved the level of renown as the Model 379,” says Dan Sobic, Peterbilt general manager and PACCAR vice president. “It defined the appearance and performance expectations for a generation of trucks.”

This is the last year for the 379. The final 1,000 units produced will be commemorated with a Legacy Class Edition, limited to the extended-hood, 127-inch BBC configuration. More than 230,000 Model 379s have hit the road after the very first, chassis number 205168, rolled off the assembly line on October 18, 1986. In its 20-year run the 379 has accounted for the majority of Peterbilt’s production (including on- and off-highway vehicles).

Kenworth T600
Kenworth’s aerodynamic T600, introduced in 1985, “helped revolutionize the trucking industry,” says the company. The design originated in 1976 with wood and wax models, to test different shapes and configurations, often at the University of Washington’s wind tunnel in Seattle. The biggest advantage of the new truck was in fuel use. A standard straight hood conventional tractor was tested, the hood was removed and the truck was reconfigured like the Kenworth T600.The aerodynamic turned out to be 22 percent more fuel efficient.

While the Kenworth T600′s sloped hood drew most of the attention, the truck was loaded with other innovations. A set-back front axle allowed for easier front axle loading. New 64-inch taper-leaf springs provided a much improved ride, and the turning radius was 23 percent less than on other conventional trucks. The new design also reduced splash and spray by 50 percent.

Kenworth W900
With its long hood and distinctive cathedral grille, the W900 embodies “the classic look that never goes out of style,” says the company. The reputation of the W900 for outstanding reliability and performance is reflected in its higher residual value, says Kenworth.

The W900 is designed and built for driver comfort with a quiet cab, controls where you need them and high-quality interior appointments, the company says. Also, the proprietary eight-bag air suspension and cab/sleeper suspension combine to provide an exceptionally smooth ride.

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