Highway 31: The Western Star 4900FX
Fresh from examining the 1975 White 4000, Matt Wood takes a closer look at its Highway 31 competition, the brand-new Western Star 4900FX
My recent blast-from-the-past drive of the White 4000 may have left me with ringing ears and a numb shoulder but it was also hard to get the smile off my face.
However, I was transported back to the present day with a first look at our Detroit-powered Western Star 4900FX.
Behind those traditional looks, this gleaming prime mover has been loaded up with the latest in gizmos available from the Penske stable.
Behind the gleaming King Bars bullbar is a 560hp Detroit DD15, and behind that is an Eaton UltraShift automated transmission.
This ‘Star also features a four-camera blind spot display, electronic stability control, keyless entry, and push button start. Funnily enough the old White also features push button start!
A massive walk-through Stratosphere Starlight sleeper adds some acreage to the cab area, which also features leather-clad driver and passenger seats.
Liberal doses of chrome and stainless round out the package, along with some custom pipes. It’s a bloody nice looking rig.
So while I roll along reminiscing about where trucking has come from, this 4900 represents the present and future of North American truck technology.
Western Star has been liberal with the chrome.
Quick test of the 4900
I didn’t get to spend much time behind the wheel, but it does take a little while to adjust to the keyless entry and push button starter.
Once the Detroit fired up there was a noticeable bark from the flash looking ‘Star through the custom slash back pipes.
Every prime mover needs a trailer, so in keeping with the theme we got our hands on the latest Auto Mez Deck drop deck trailer from Freighter, equipped with AutoHold and auto curtains.
GM to DD15, tarps and ropes to automatic curtains, manual gearboxes to automated ones, so much has changed in trucking technology over four decades.
So we’re going to have a closer look at the ancestor White from the 1970s and the latest in tech from Western Star.
We’re going to roll down the Old Hume Highway to relive the old school experience as well as looking at how much has changed with trucks, trailers, and the job of steering them in the 21st century.
There’s an old school cool about the old V8 White, but it’s hard to ignore the new age trucking statement made by Western Star with this 4900.
Crawl-through versus walk-through, manual versus auto, horsepower versus rpm.
We’ll keep you posted as we look to the future by taking a walk down memory lane.
To read about Matt's experience with the 1975 White 4000, click here.