Michael Barbe Trades Suit and Tie for the Front Seat of a Western Star Limited Edition Truck
The first customer to purchase the Limited Edition truck, the accountant-turned-truck driver now enjoys life on the road
REDFORD, Mich. – Sept. XX, 2009 – After 22 years as an accountant in the private sector, Michael Barbe decided he was ready to trade in corporate America and get behind the wheel of a big rig.
“I was fed up with trying to solve everyone else’s problems. I knew it was time to do something for myself,” said Barbe. “And, since I’m not married, there was something appealing to me about the freedom of life on the road.”
Barbe, a resident of Pomona, Mo., enrolled in CRST truck driving school in 1998 and soon after began his new career as a company driver for Swift Transportation, Inc., learning the ins-and-outs of the business. Ultimately wanting to purchase his own truck, Barbe was hired by Columbus, Ohio-based Forward Air Inc., – where he remains today.
“I always knew I wanted to be an owner/operator, and Forward Air gave me the opportunity to do just that,” said Barbe. “But it wasn’t until I met Mark Steck, my current dealer at Jenkins Diesel Power, that Western Star caught my eye.”
In 2007, Barbe purchased his first Western Star truck from Steck – a 4900 EX that featured a 82-inch Startosphere® sleeper, Detroit Diesel® Series 60® engine and a 13-speed transmission – and notes that not only was this truck luxurious, it was everything Steck promised it would be.
“When I first met Michael, he was happy with his existing truck, so it took a little bit of convincing to get him to just try out a Western Star. But as soon as he got in that truck and saw for himself that it had the best of everything he wanted, he was sold,” said Steck.
“From the first moment I sat in the front seat, I knew I was in something special,” confirmed Barbe. “The plush leather seats, intricate dash, and all the bells and whistles I ever imagined made me wonder how I ever lived without a Western Star. And when I got it on the road, the trucks reliability and performance knocked it out of the park.”
After one year on the road in his Western Star, Barbe was spoiled by its customization capabilities and luxury, and wanted to specially design his next truck.
“Although I’ve only been driving a truck for 10 years, I knew my next one would be my last and I wanted the best,” said Barbe. “Western Star not only provides durability and performance, but incorporates the highest quality components I’ve seen on a truck.”
After hearing about every option, color and feature Barbe wanted to incorporate in his new truck, Steck realized he already had the perfect solution – the new Western Star® Limited ’67 Edition 4900 EX – which not only incorporates the highest quality leather package and interior amenities, but a specially built 560 hp 1967 lb-ft torque Detroit Diesel® DD15™ engine, the highest torque rating available in the DD15 and offered exclusively to Western Star customers.
Barbe, who was the first customer to purchase the new 4900 EX Limited Edition, carefully designed his truck to include an Omaha Orange exterior, Messa tan interior with coordinating carpeting, and two large windows and a moon roof for maximum light exposure.
“As soon as I saw this truck, I loved it. It’s that impressive. Wherever I go, my truck turns heads. If I was a salesperson, I could sell a Western Star truck at every stop,” said Barbe.
In addition to its good looks, Barbe notes that the 4900 EX Limited Edition packs pure power and a superior ride. Its DD15 is not only the most powerful Detroit Diesel engine available today, but features best-in-class fuel efficiency and a quiet ride. In addition, the DD15 also gives Barbe incredible torque response and pulling power – delivering 90 percent peak torque in 1.5 seconds – while providing superior performance that allows Barbe to stay in gear longer through steep grades.
“One of the first things I noticed about the DD15 was the smooth and quiet ride – almost like I was in an automobile. In fact, it’s so quiet, I had to start paying closer attention to the gauges because you can’t hear the engine,” said Barbe.
Because Barbe travels an average of 600 miles on every trip, fuel efficiency is among Barbe’s top concerns. And, being an accountant by trade, Barbe monitors fuel efficiency the old fashioned way, with a pen and paper calculating actual mileage and fuel usage.
“My numbers compared to the gauges were spot-on. I am averaging 6.8 miles-per-gallon, which is very impressive for a truck that’s not built to be aerodynamic. And since I only have 2,000 miles on the engine, I have no doubt that my fuel efficiency will get even better.”
Barbe continued: “And not only is its fuel efficiency top-notch, I really experienced the engine’s power on my first trip through the mountains. I didn’t have to downshift as much or load up the engine – the DD15 packs such a punch that it just pulls the truck.”
Barbe notes that although he is impressed with the truck’s comfort, reliability and power, what he most enjoys is being known as an owner of a Western Star truck.
“Only one percent of the truck driver population owns a Western Star and I am proud to say that I am part of that elite group. At the end of the day, when I look at my truck, I realize that I have something truly unique and special – it’s not just another truck on the road. I’ll be happy to retire in the comfort of my Western Star.”
For more information, and to find a local dealer, visit www.WesternStar.com or call 866-850-STAR (7827).
Western Star Trucks Sales, Inc., headquartered in Redford, Mich., produces heavy-duty custom trucks for long-haul and vocational applications. Western Star is a subsidiary of Daimler Trucks North America LLC. Daimler Trucks North America produces and markets Class 4-8 vehicles and is a Daimler company, the world's leading commercial vehicle manufacturer.