GATS showcases product lines

Oct. 1, 2003
FOR the fifth straight year, the Dallas Convention Center hosted the Great American Trucking Show September 26-28. The 421 exhibitors used 300,000 sq

FOR the fifth straight year, the Dallas Convention Center hosted the Great American Trucking Show September 26-28.

The 421 exhibitors used 300,000 sq ft of space to display trucks and trucking-related products at what GATS officials say is the industry's second-largest event.

The 39,854 attendees included mega-fleets, owners/operators, exempt haulers, company drivers, drivers for hire, parts distributors, mechanics, fleet owners, fleet maintenance managers, purchasing agents, and material handlers. The 10% increase in attendance came primarily from owner-operator and fleet management segments, both critical in the equipment-buying market.

Here is a snapshot look at some of the key products:

Peterbilt debuted Model 379X, a polished aluminum-on-chrome special edition, which reached dealer lots on September.

“The dealerships are very excited about it,” marketing communications manager Derek Smith said. “There's been a lot of enthusiasm, particularly at shows when somebody actually sees it in person. It's really a truck for Peterbilt enthusiasts and people who love their truck and regard it as more than a tool, and spend time polishing it. It comes with a lot of show-truck-ready accents you can't get in the aftermarket.”

For the first time ever, polished aluminum fenders are an exclusive feature. A brushed aluminum dash, stylized four-spoke “X” steering wheel and custom leather seats highlight the interior, and a chromed shift lever, knob, and base plate also feature the 379X logo. Inside the sleeper, Peterbilt has added brushed aluminum that contrasts with the charcoal cabinetry and upper hard trim. The grille has a punched oval pattern and polished aluminum grille bars.

Kenworth went into full production on its Extended Day Cab during the first week of October.

Kenworth says this option, available on the T600, T800, and W900, is well-suited for regional haul and vocational customers who would prefer more room than conventional cabs offer.

The Extended Day Cab adds 6" of length and 5" of height to a standard Kenworth cab. Bonuses include more head, leg and belly room, additional seat adjustment space, reclinable seating for increased off-duty comfort, and 2-plus cubic ft of additional storage to accommodate personal gear, safety equipment, and recordkeeping materials.

Debuting at GATS was Fontaine International's C7000 Series Clean-Connect Fifthwheel, with a no-lube top plate surface.

It provides the advantages of Fontaine's No-Slack II locking technology plus the benefit of a grease-free top plate surface. The fifthwheel no longer requires grease to lubricate between the top plate surface and the trailer coupling plate. Only periodic greasing of the locking mechanism is required.

Advantages: elimination of the labor costs, materials, and downtime associated with greasing and regreasing the top plate over the life of the vehicle; reduction in the need to steam clean the grease off the top plate surface when maintenance time rolls around; elimination of the cost of grease disposal to meet EPA requirements.

The C7000 will be released in January.

Cat says the new C15 ACERT combines series turbochargers, a higher compression ratio, and higher cylinder pressure to produce improved performance, better throttle response, and increased fuel economy. It also features rugged components such as steel single-piece, low-friction pistons, a four-bolt connecting rod and a high-efficiency water pump.

Cat says it is made for owner-operators, fleets, and heavy haulers who want high horsepower performance combined with durability and resale value. Peak torque ratings up to 1850 lb-ft offer excellent startability and exceptional hill-climbing capability.

The C15 has a displacement of 15.2L, horsepower of 435 to 550 at 2100 rpm, torque of 1550-1850 lb-ft at 1200 rpm, and weighs 2890 lb.

About the Author

Rick Weber | Associate Editor

Rick Weber has been an associate editor for Trailer/Body Builders since February 2000. A national award-winning sportswriter, he covered the Miami Dolphins for the Fort Myers News-Press following service with publications in California and Australia. He is a graduate of Penn State University.