The LTSW is a stand-out classic from the 1950s, which was especially popular in California, says Bruce Hollenbeck, Mack vice president, product planning.
“They’re off the road, but they have a strong following to this day,” Hollenbeck says. “It was the design elements that really made this model a classic. It had a long nose, a vertical grille, bicycle fenders and what we’d call a high chrome-to-horsepower ratio. The radiator surround stood out, and there was a bit of an abrupt transition between the top of the hood and the cab. These were timeless styling clues that people look for when they buy.
The LTSW wasn’t just a version of someone else’s truck, Hollenbeck says – it was completely original.
“There was a very high level of customizing, what we’d call bright finish, and that just wasn’t done at the time,” he says. “At the time practicality was what went into design – if it doesn’t make money, we don’t put it on the truck.”
The Superliner, says Hollenbeck, is another timeless design, and that is the core of its appeal.
“You had that wonderful flat face, the big grille and the squared-off hood. We still see them on the road, and we still them all the time at parades and shows,” he says. “It was a design people loved to drive. It was big, it was powerful and it was very versatile. You could use it on highway or as a dump truck, and that added to its appeal. You could also spec it out in a lot of ways. For example, you could get an 11-liter or a 16-liter Mack or a Cummins. That sort of flexibility was part of its attraction.”
Western Star 4900EX
The folks at Western Star say the company’s flagship model is a classic because of the popularity and tremendous loyalty it generates. Tracing its roots to the company’s logging history, the Star is widely used in both on-highway, including long-haul and regional-haul, and vocational applications, including dump, auto haul logging, heavy haul and towing/recovery, testament to this truck’s durability and flexibility, they say.
The 4900 EX, in the Western Star product line for 10 years, features a set-forward front axle, extended hood 132-inch BBC, and the traditional square-nose style so many drivers favor.
Volvo VNs arrived in 1996. After selling trucks all over the world, the new VN series was designed, developed and manufactured by Volvo in North America for the specific needs of the North American market. Its development cost Volvo $500 million.
“The Volvo VN was the first true Volvo truck for North America, based on a modern Volvo platform and utilizing the latest design innovations,” says Peter Karlsten, president & CEO of Volvo Trucks North America. “The VN embodies what Volvo represents: efficient, productive and high-quality products that are superbly designed to meet customer needs, while adhering to our core values of safety, quality and environmental care. It also brought automotive levels of quality and driver environment to North American trucks.”
Proof of the Volvo VN’s preferred status among drivers, says the company, is its record in the annual National Truck Driving Championship, where competitors are allowed to choose which make of truck they want to drive. In 2005, VNs were driven by the winners of six categories, including the eventual National Grand Champion.
The imported Class 8 Conventional N12, while only offered by the Volvo White Truck Corporation from 1984 until the joint venture with General Motors in October 1987, brought a lot of innovative features to this country, according to Volvo. For years, there had been no progress in many areas of North American truck design and performance such as front and rear axle design, steering geometry design and suspension design, which affected maneuverability, ride and traction, says the company.