Megatron vs. Optimus Prime:
For this second entry, it’s really just a matter of taste, therefore, we’re going to leave it up to you. Who is cooler, Megatron, the nasty leader of the Decepticons, or Optimus Prime, the noble leader of the Autobots? While one is an extra rugged MACK® Granite™ military truck that wants to destroy mankind, the other is a Freightliner FL86 cab-over-engine triple axle semi trailer truck that intends to save the human race. That said, for all the human readers out there, the decision shouldn’t be too difficult.
A classic red-and-blue Peterbilt 379 played the starring role of Optimus Prime, the fearless leader of the Autobots, in the first three Transformers movies (2007, 2009, 2011). In the fourth installment, Transformers: Age of Distinction, set for release in 2014, Optimus Prime will be played by the shiny red-and-blue Western Star truck pictured above.
Smokey and the Bandit (1977)
A relatively unknown Burt Reynolds was catapulted to stardom with the release of Smokey and the Bandit. Now regarded as a classic, this movie follows the trail of a truck driver’s crazy attempt to illegally transport a truckload of beer to win a bet. The tale goes awry when the local sheriff goes on a mission to stop him.
Add in a runaway bride and you are in for an entertaining, funny and thrilling ride. Smokey and the Bandit was the first of its kind to top the box office paving the way for other truck movies. It also spawned a number of Burt Reynolds’ look alike and Smokey and the Bandit copycats that failed to capture the humor, wit and charisma of this film.
What could be more menacing than a psychopathic trucker, behind the wheel of a derelict truck, harassing innocent motorists out on the highway? To most drivers, not much. Based on this simple yet frightening premise, Steven Spielberg directed Duel, his first full-length movie, in 1971. In the film, a traveling businessman (Dennis Weaver) is suddenly menaced on the highway by a rogue narrow-nose Peterbilt pulling a tanker trailer. Although he can never see the psychopathic driver of the truck, he soon realizes that this guy is out to kill him! This month’s cover may not be the prettiest truck ever (in fact, it might be the ugliest), but for fans of the movie, they quickly realize that this is the rig from the film. In fact, it is the only surviving truck from the movie.
Not technically Steven Spielberg’s film debut, Duel began as a TV-Movie, but was later expanded for theatrical release outside the United States when Universal Studios saw its box-office potential. The original story was written about a real-life situation that happened to author Richard Matheson. As the story was told, Richard and a friend were crossing the desert in 1963, when, for no apparent reason at all, a trucker began harassing them on the road. At one point, the situation got so heated that the two men had to swerve off the road into the dirt to avoid a collision with the truck. No one was hurt, but it scared the two guys half to death. Years later, Richard’s story was published in a 1971 edition of Playboy magazine. Someone at Universal read it and decided it might make a good movie. At that time, Steven Spielberg had dropped out of film school and was working at Universal, directing episodes of Columbo, Night Gallery and Marcus Welby. When he saw the screenplay, he knew he had to do it.
Another gem from 1978, starring Ryan O'Neal as an unnamed crook who specializes in getaways. And his favorite vehicle is a hot-rodded Chevy shortbed truck. Some of the best pickup driving ever caught on film.
8. Take This Job And Shove It (1981)
Not much of a cast (Robert Hays made one good movie--"Airplane"), and not much of a story (again based on a song), but this is the film that introduced Bob Chandler's Bigfoot Ford F-250 to the world. And that led to monster trucks.
7. *** Drivers (1957)
British lorry drivers fight to expose the rackets of their corrupt industry. Very cool trucks--and a young pre-Bond Sean Connery lurks through many scenes.
6. They Drive By Night (1940)
The great George Raft and the even greater Humphrey Bogart under the fine hand of film-noir master Raoul Walsh in a tale of two truck-driving brothers caught up in murder. Great old trucks, and then there's Ann Sheridan around to throw in some sex appeal.
5. White Line Fever (1975)
The always-sullen Jan-Michael Vincent fights for justice for independent truckers from the cab of his Ford cab-over named "Blue Mule."
4. Smokey and TheBandit (1977)
The second biggest hit of 1977 behind "Star Wars." And "Star Wars" didn't feature a Kenworth.
3. Duel (1971)
Steven Spielberg's first full-length film stands up as one of his best with a cruddy Peterbilt menacing innocent driver Dennis Weaver. It's more fun if you root for the never-seen trucker instead of empathizing with Weaver.
2. White Heat (1949)
One of James Cagney's best films. And the only one where his gang of crooks uses a tanker truck as a Trojan horse to take over a refinery.
1. The Road Warrior (1981)
Still one of the greatest stunt fests in cinematic history, with the action centered around a few drops of gasoline aboard a right-hand-drive Mack.
George Miller’s Road Warrior/Mad Max II had an orgy of awesomely mutated vehicles. While there were some slick truck mutations, the Mack truck used to haul the “precious juice” stands out. I believe this truck was a Mack R600 Coolpower, but I am unsure of the year. Miller did use a different truck on a few close-up shots, but it’s hard to tell what that truck is.
Still, when you see it enter the fray fully mutated, it’s awesome. Between Lord Humongous loosing his mind and performing a kamikaze attack on it, and Wez (the mad dog with the orange Mohawk) trying to get his hands Max, it’s awesomeness overload for the viewer.
“YOU! You can run, but you can’t hide!”
Good stuff. A new Mad Max movie (Mad Max: Fury Road) is slated to hit theaters May 15, 2015. Judging by the photos and preview, it looks like George Miller is buckling up for another orgy of mutated vehicles. Can’t wait!
The Limited Edition James Bond truck coincides with the release of the newest James Bond movie, “Licence To Kill.” In the film, Bond uses Kenworth W900Bs to pull him through perilous situations. The same truck, minus the 1000 horsepower engine required in the film, will be available in limited numbers at Kenworth dealerships beginning in September.
Ed Wallace, Kenworth’s general sales and marketing manager, says the trucks are not “standard” by any means. “They’ll feature the 007 paint design and a gold-plated Kenworth hood ornament, as well as a gold-plated nameplate on the side to commemorate the film,” said Wallace. “In addition, they’ll feature the most luxurious driver amenities we’ve ever offered, including a high powered (300 watt) sound system, with CD and cassette players and equalizer, and an entertainment system, complete with VCR and color TV. You won’t find a more sophisticated or powerful stereo system anywhere. In addition, the interior is our top-of-the-line VIT option diamond tufted - fitting for this special truck.”
The Limited Edition also introduces Kenworth’s Extended Hood option, adding a full 10-inches to the hood, giving the truck a powerful, classic appearance. The Extended Hood will now be offered as an option on all Kenworth W900Bs.
Drivers who enjoy the traditional look, will now be able to have the latest in technology along with the bold appearance of the longer hood and the 60-inch AERODYNE sleeper (standard with the Limited Edition). “The Extended Hood celebrates classic trucking with a full 130-inch bumper to back of cab dimension.”
“Coming out of the factory, the Extended Hood model will be the fanciest, most eye-popping truck ever produced by Kenworth. It’s a beautiful truck,” Wallace said. “We’ve designed this model to appear to the successful driver who enjoys the glamour of chrome and polish, and who appreciates luxurious amenities.”
Extended Hood models feature power steering using Cat, Cummins or Detroit Diesel engines. Customers have a choice of 9, 10, 13, 15 and 18 speed transmissions. Featuring tandem rear axles, the new model also has Kenworth Air Glide 100 rear suspension for a smoother, more comfortable ride.
To make the W900B look more like a show truck than an over-the-road model, Kenworth have added lots of extra options. “We’ve added a substantial amount of bright work to really make it shine and stand out from the crowd,” said Wallace. “Starting at the front , we’ve gone with a chrome-plated steel bumper and added dual polished aluminum fuel tanks, dual chromed exhaust stacks, a stainless steel sun visor and polished aluminum tool and battery boxes. To finish off the truck, we are factory installing stainless steel cab and sleeper light panels, providing quite an impressive sight.”
Wallace also pointed out that the new truck, like all Kenworths, had hundreds of options available to match the truck to the customer’s exact needs.
The W900B with Extended Hood can be ordered with a 60-inch VIT or AERODYNE VIT Sleepers, or it can be ordered as a non-sleeper tractor.
To learn more about Kenworth’s new James Bond Limited Edition or Extended Hood W900B, contact your local Kenworth dealer.
Dipping into the television archives a bit, we have to highlight that infamous red and white Kenworth K-100 cab over semi truck from the briefly aired comedy B.J. and the Bear. Considering the show only aired for two years (1979 to 1981), this is still one of the most popular semi-trucks to have ever traveled the country's highways, albeit on TV.
Knight Rider Truck from the TV Series Knight Rider.