There is nothing better for hauling premium cars than a premium truck. Perhaps that’s why Dan Pedersen relies on his 2005 Western Star 4900 SA when transporting high-end, custom-made automobiles across the United States and Canada.
Pedersen drives for Reliable Carriers, a transportation company dedicated to hauling concept, prototype, classic, test, and engineering vehicles for major manufacturers and private collectors. In good weather or bad, and whether delivering to auto shows, marketing tours, ride and drives, commercial filming locations, or private residences, Pedersen has to be on time, every time.
Unlike more common open rack haulers, Pedersen drives a specially-designed enclosed carrier to not only protect the vehicles on board, but to also protect the privacy of the manufacturers. In the competitive automobile industry, concept and prototype vehicle designs are highly-confidential.
Built to Work
With precious cargo on board and his company’s reputation at stake every time he takes to the road, Pedersen knows he needs a powerful truck built to meet the toughest challenges. He chose the rugged Western Star 4900 SA with a Detroit Diesel Series 60 515-horsepower engine and Eaton Fuller UltraShift transmission.
“This truck is stoutly built and has a solid feeling to it,” he said. “Plus, I love the engine. It pulls the hills and holds the grades well.”
Pedersen also added automatic traction control, a feature he has never had before and never plans to be without again. This is particularly helpful when driving in the mountains through rough winter storms.
“I love it and will never own another truck without it,” he explained. “Areas where I know I would get stuck with my other trucks, I get through with no trouble. It’s just great.”
Common Sense Design
Pedersen is quick to credit Western Star’s engineers for designing a truck that is driver friendly.
“A lot of thought went into the dash design and the components on the truck,” Pedersen said. “For example, the Western Star has extra plugs for battery powered accessories. Other manufacturers make you splice into existing wires, but here you just plug it in.”
He also enjoys the outstanding driver visibility and superior handling and maneuverability afforded by his Western Star 4900 SA. This is particularly important when delivering cars to private collectors at their residences, where tight fits are the norm.
“The truck has outstanding visibility and really handles well,” Pedersen explained. “The maneuverability is great – no other set-back axle I’ve driven has had this kind of maneuverability. Plus, with the high bumpers, I can actually clear snow banks and turn easier. Usually, the snow will damage the bumper and head lights, but I have no worries with this truck.”
A Helping Hand
Pedersen has been driving long enough to know that trucks will need service from time to time. It’s getting back on the road quickly that often determines the difference between a satisfied and dissatisfied customer.
“Every truck will have shop time because things happen,” he explained. “I recently had some electrical work done and the mechanics said it was the easiest set-back axle they’ve ever worked on under the hood. This speeds up repair time and saves me money.”
There’s also Western Star’s 24-hour Customer Assistance Center, providing total customer support to drivers on the road in need of technical support or repair work. Recently, Pedersen found himself in that situation and was more than pleased with the results.
“I had a problem and the dealers were closed,” he said. “I called the 1-800 number and talked with someone who provided me a repair person. They got me going in a few hours without a penny out of my pocket. The people were very personable and put me back on the road when they said they would.”
A Family Affair
There’s another reason Pedersen likes his new Western Star – his wife, Brenda, likes it too. She’s been driving with him for the past six years and enjoys the ease of operation and the automatic transmission.
“This is the first truck we’ve owned that she enjoys driving,” he said. “The width of the truck is just great. It has enough room that we were able to install a shower. There’s also a huge amount of room under the dash, enough that I can keep my tool box under there.
“I saw a Western Star when I first started driving and thought it would be a good truck to have,” he added. “Now that I have my first one – I love it.”
Western Star Trucks, headquartered in Redford, Mich., produces heavy-duty custom trucks for long-haul and vocational applications. Western Star is a company of Freightliner LLC. Freightliner LLC is a unit of DaimlerChrysler, the world's leading commercial vehicle manufacturer.