Most leading truck companies maintain their competitive edge in the market by releasing various models, but not Western Star Truck. The brand takes pride in producing some of the most powerful and stylish semi trucks by upgrading its existing models. In this blog, we’ll look at the development of the famous truck company, including the history of Western Star Trucks.

Everything You Need to Know About the Western Star Truck Company

In 1976, the White Motor Company launched its truck production arm, the White Western Star. The company established its headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio, while also operating a main manufacturing warehouse in Canada. While White Motor Company was eventually bought by Volvo, the Western Star Truck was separated from the acquisition.


Western Star Trucks. (Source: Western Star)

Western Star Trucks officially expanded its business in 1983. The company started distributing its products to numerous regions outside the USA, such as the Middle East, Asia, South America, and Australia. 

In 1991, Terry Peabody purchased Western Star to further support the company’s expansion. However, the turnover didn’t last that long, as Daimler Trucks North America acquired Western Star Trucks in 2000 and moved the company’s production from Kelowna to Portland, Oregon, in 2002. 

Daimler Chrysler’s acquisition of the line proved to be one of the most effective organizational changes for Western Star, as the business started to develop numerous innovations under this administration. 

In 2015, the company expanded its production by constructing a new plant in Cleveland, North Carolina. And in 2017, the Western Star celebrated its 50th anniversary of truck manufacturing. To this date, the company is still considered the premier company for heavy-duty off-road trucks that provide power, convenience, and durability.

History of Western Star Trucks

The history of Western Star Trucks can be mapped out through their 10+ major truck models. To understand the progress of the company, let’s take a look at each of the models and their updates one by one:

1967 – 4900 Series

In 1967, Western Star released its first truck model, the Class 8 Heavy Duty Flatbed Truck 4900. The 4900 is available in numerous engines: Detroit DD16, DD15, DD13, and Cummins X15. The sleeper units of the line provided exceptional comfort, space, and storage, which made them perfect for all-day hauling.


Western Star 4900 truck. Source: (Fitzgerald Glider Kits)

Western Star realized the need for a higher cab for drivers. Thus, the business released the 4900 with the High-Cab model. Aside from this, the company also has a 4900 with a super-tilt hood for better space use and aerodynamics.

1988 – 3800 Series

In 1988, the company released its second major line, the 3800. While the 4900 was released for heavy-duty use, the 3800 series is a medium-duty truck. This is Western Star Truck’s offering for the growing demand for city hauling and delivery services. 


1990 Western Star 3800 truck. (Source: Truck Parts Inventory)

While the 3800 series was customizable, the standard offer included the Cummins M11 with 370-400 horsepower. It was mated with an Eaton 18-speed transmission, RT40-145 rear axles on ten stud wheels, HAS400 air suspension, and double alloy fuel tanks.

1989 – 6900 Series and the 5900 Aero Tractor

In 1989, Western Star Company released its largest model, the 6900. The model was offered in two configurations, the Twin Steer and the Extreme Duty. The 6900 Twin Steer was made available in Detroit DD16, with options for Detroit DD15. For the transmission, the drivers had an Eaton Fuller Manual and an Allison Automatic. It also came in three cab configurations, the 8×4, 10×6, and 8×8. 


Western Star 6900 truck. (Source: Excel Truck Group)

On the other hand, Extreme Duty had a standard offer of the Detroit DD16 with the alternative of the Detroit DD15. The transmission was also available in Eaton Fuller 10, 11, 13, 15, and 18-speed and Allison Automatic 4000, 4500, and 4700 RDS. Additionally, it has multiple configurations: the 6×4, 6×6, 8×4, 8×6, 8×8, and 10×6 truck or tractor.


Western Star 5900 truck. (Source: IronPlanet)

In the same year, Western Star Trucks also released its 5900 Aero Tractor. The standard unit had a Detroit Series 60 6-cylinder, 12.7-liter diesel engine with 430 horsepower. It came with an Eaton Fuller 10-speed manual transmission, a 12000 lb front axle, a 40000 rear axle, and a 52000 lb GVWR. Its other notable features were reliable HVAC, cruise control, engine brake, dual fuel tanks, air ride suspension, and a 224 in. wheelbase.

1993 – Light Support Vehicle Wheeled

Western Star released the Light Support Vehicle Wheeled (LSVW) for the Canadian military in 1993. The country’s combat troops and logistical units employed the LSVW in both countryside and urban operations. Units and brigades received administrative and logistical support from the brand.


Western Star Light Support Vehicle Wheeled. (Source: Truck Fax)

The LSVW was a four-wheel-drive vehicle with a 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder turbo diesel engine, and a 3,200-mm wheelbase. It was designed to hold various weapons as well as add-on armor.

1996 – Constellation Cab

In 1996, the Constellation Cab was released. It was originally designed by a joint Australian Western Star/DAF team. However, the Constellation line was made available for the public market because of the huge market demand. In fact, it was one of the major inspirations for the X-Series, which remains the company’s flagship line. 


Western Star Constellation. (Source: Clean and Cool)

1997 – 4900EX

In 1997, the Western Star truck Company started exploring extended hood rigs. Thus, the 4900EX was born. The standard engine was a Detroit DD13, while the alternative options were the DD15 TC, DD16, Detroit Series 60 Tier III, and Cummins ISX15. 

Conversely, the transmissions were Eaton Fuller FR13210B (7-18 speed), Eaton Fuller UltraShift PLUS, and Allison Automatic 4000, 4500, and 4700. 


2007 Western Star 4900EX truck. (Source: SOARR)

The 4900EX’s cab features made the unit special. The exterior was made with standard galvannealed steel that could be bought with either roped, bonded, or two-piece bonded windshields. The hood was a traditional fiberglass, non-sloping hood for optimal road visibility.

1998 – 3700 Solar

One of the shortest-lived Western Star trucks was the 3700 Solar, which was introduced in 1998. It was a Baby 8 semi-truck, which served as the company’s attempt to get business owners to use Class 7 and Class 8 trucks. 


Western Star 3700 Solar truck. (Image courtesy of granitefan713 on Flickr)

John Nelligan, Meritor Vice President of Sales at Western Star, claimed that the 1998 3700 Solar was one of the most interesting units made by the company. Scott Killin, the Applications Engineer, admitted that the truck’s exterior was not that commendable. For this reason, the company sought to improve the truck’s appearance, especially the hood.

2002 – 4900EX “LowMax”

Western Star Trucks unveiled the “LowMax” trim, heavy-duty Western Star 4900 EX truck in 2002. The 4900 EX LowMax was filled with aesthetic features for optimal driver appeal and had a lowered cab and sleeper height. The retro-styled “LowMax” was offered as a highway tractor with a set-forward front axle and a 132-inch BBC dimension. 


Western Star 4900EX LowMax. (Source: SOARR)

The LowMax achieved the desired traditional styling while adding its own distinctive flair thanks to its extended hood, dual stacks, and close-to-the-road design. Inside, operators could choose premium interior trim packages from a number of available options. Chrome and stainless steel accessories are only available through Western Star dealers. 

2003 – 82-inch Stratosphere Sleeper

Western Star Trucks introduced the Stratosphere Star Light Sleeper in 2003, a new level of luxury and style that is available on all 4900 truck models. The full-standing space and a flat floor are features of the 82-inch Stratosphere sleeper. 

The Stratosphere’s exterior design allowed for the installation of marker lights and air horns on the roof. Only Western Star offered this unique blend of interior comfort and external aesthetic elements in the truck manufacturing industry. 


Western Star Truck 82-inch Stratosphere. (Source: Lectura Specs)

Western Star asserted that the Stratosphere had significantly more headroom in the space between the driver and passenger seats. This eliminated the need for the driver or passenger to stoop down or bend over in order to pass through to the sleeper compartment. Since the ground was unlike other sleepers on the market today, which feature stairs or ledges, the flat space between the cab and the sleeper eliminated this concern for the driver or passenger. 

2011 – 4700

In 2011, Western Star Trucks launched one of its most popular units, the 4700. According to the company, the 4700 was designed to provide great value for business owners. It was made tough and adaptable for heavy-duty hauling. 

Its superb efficiency and mobility make it an exceptional option for tractors for local and regional hauls, and its tough dependability offers companies versatility for various vocational uses. The 4700 was actually designed with the intention of providing Western Star quality to everyone.


2018 Western Star 4700 truck. (Source: Portland Mitsubishi Fuso)

The 4700 was made available in two versions, the Set-Back axle and the Set-Forward axle. Both units came with Detroit DD13 or Cummins ISL engines. Drivers can also choose from an Eaton Fuller 10-18 speed transmission, an Eaton Fuller UltraShift PLUS, or an Allison Automatic 3000-4700. 

2014 – 5700XE

In 2014, Western Star Trucks released the 5700, which they claimed to be their most efficient unit. According to the company, every truck specification was designed for maximum aerodynamics, efficiency, and dependability. For this reason, the model was mostly used for truckload shipping, long haul, bulk haul, and sleepers.


Western Star 5700XE truck. (Source: SCS Software)

The standard offering of the 5700XE was a 14.8-liter Detroit DD15 diesel engine with a Detroit DT12 automated manual transmission. The cab was made available with welded galvannealed steel with a roped-in or bonded windshield, while the cab interior had an agate-gray two-tone base.

The options for the 5700XE came with a 12.8L Detroit DD13 diesel engine and a 15.6L Detroit DD16 diesel engine with Eaton Fuller 9-18 speed. The cab interior exhibited the style of Western Star Trucks as it was made available with two-tone soft-touch panels and grey trim upholstery with Smoky Mountain Gray, Pacific Forest Green, Maple Leaf Red, and Praire Buckskin details.

2020 – 49X and 47X

In 2020, Western Star Trucks decided to improve its X-Series. The 49X came with a heavy-duty vocational frame designed specifically for tough service applications. It was made available in Detroit DD13, DD15, and DD16 engines and Cummins X12 and X15 engines. The cab was made lighter to improve its aerodynamics. It was manufactured with premium-grade aluminum with steel improvements. 

With truck equipment manufacturers (TEMs) in mind, the X-Series was developed. The company constructed the vehicle with features to make it quick and easy to access wiring and add controls. Furthermore, the truck was created to accommodate common configurations such as dump trucks, cement mixers, and cranes. 


Western Star Trucks 49X and 47X. (Source: Western Star Trucks)

The 47X, on the other hand, was created to accommodate more vocational tasks. It was made available with the Detroit DD13, Cummins L9, and Cummins X12. Additionally, it came with new purpose-built tools with numerous remarkable features, including a shorter hood and a shorter 111″ BBC. This shorter configuration is preferred for the usual vocational uses, such as concrete mixers or dump trucks.

2022 – 57X

The 57X, which was produced in 2022, marked the end of the X-Series. This truck was offered with the Detroit DD13, DD15, and DD16 engines. 


Western Star 57X truck. (Source: FreightWaves)

The new digital dash display for the cab is the first standout item on the list – it is bright, clear, adaptable, and simple to use. The driver’s lounge is located in the back. It may be modified with optional equipment, such as a flat-screen TV, refrigerator, dinette, full-size Murphy-style bed, and more. 

The Detroit Connect converts any truck’s performance data into real-time information. This way, drivers can use the data to make wise driving decisions that keep the trucks lucrative and productive.

Present – Continuous Manufacturing 

In contrast to other businesses, Western Star Trucks concentrates on redesigning existing lines in response to changing market demands and emission regulations. At present, Western Star Trucks’ Portland plant is still producing the most recent iterations of the truck models 4700, 4800, 4900, and 6900. On the other hand, the 4700, 4900, 5700XE, and X-Series units are produced at its Cleveland, North Carolina plant.

Essential Upgrades for Western Star Trucks

Due to its focus on comfort, power, convenience, and durability, Western Star has maintained its position as one of the top producers of heavy-duty trucks. Despite this, they still require aftermarket updates (just like any semi-truck) to guarantee that they will continue to operate at their best.

To begin with, it’s best to go with stainless steel semi-truck parts. As previously noted, the majority of Western Star trucks are utilized for local carrying, which makes them extremely vulnerable to rust. Premium aftermarket semi truck parts increase the longevity of your truck’s vital components, letting you use its power without being concerned about serious damage.

Experience the Convenience of Western Star Trucks

Western Star Trucks is unquestionably one of the most well-known truck manufacturers when it comes to creating cutting-edge and dependable vehicles. If you use the necessary aftermarket semi truck parts and maintain safe driving practices, your Western Star truck will serve you for many years. 

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