Internet images offer a preview of International’s newest truck
January 25, 2008
January 25, 2008
Recently, a reader e-mailed us some pictures of a new truck sporting the International logo, which appeared to have been photographed during a covert operation the likes of which you’d expect to see in a James Bond flick. The low-resolution images appeared to have been snapped with a cell-phone camera, and the truck itself looked like something out of a futuristic (or maybe retro?) Hollywood flick.
Having spent a few days with representatives from International Truck and Engine here in Las Vegas, I can confirm the photos are real. The truck is real. It’s called the LoneStar and will be officially unveiled in a few weeks at the Chicago Auto Show. Beyond that, I can’t report much more at the moment. Partially because International is fairly tight-lipped about their new product and I don’t know a whole lot more about it. And also because of my fear of reprisal from the company, which incidentally, has invested a substantial sum of money into the new rig and really isn’t too happy with the fact pictures of their newest baby were leaked on the Internet in the first place. So, you’ll have to look elsewhere to see the pics – I won’t post them here.
Being a bit of a cynic by nature, I initially thought the pictures may have been intentionally leaked by International itself. Having spoken with some of the people who worked on the project, I no longer think that’s the case. The story goes as such: The LoneStar prototypes were sent to the US West Coast where some promotional video was to be shot. Believe it or not, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco was even shut down for a few hours to accommodate the video shoot. When the trucks were put to bed that evening, the local dealer allegedly neglected to properly tuck them in and cover them up for the night. Someone with a cell-phone camera happened by. The next thing you know, thousands of e-mails depicting the new truck were being circulated. The cat was out of the bag.
Based on the scant information I have been able to gather about the new truck, as well as my own observations (limited at this point to the pictures making the rounds on the Web and a short teaser video shown by International), you’re going to love it or hate it. It’s a radical departure from the traditional truck ‘look’ that dominates the North American market place. International has dared to be different with the design of the LoneStar, and not everyone is going to like it. But I think those who do like it, will like it a lot. And give International some credit for rolling the dice and providing fleets and owner/operators with an alternative to the norm.
I wasn’t able to extract any information from the International reps I spoke with this week about fuel economy, aerodynamics or performance characteristics. Based on a short teaser video the company showed us, the interior will be one of the truck’s strongest selling points. If you want a condominium-style living room instead of a just a bedroom back there, I think you’ll be pleased with what you’ll find. But having said all that, the truck will be as big a surprise to me as it will be to you. Editorial director Lou Smyrlis will be on-hand at the launch and will be posting a report on Trucknews.com as soon as the information becomes available for publication. Thankfully, we have something major to look forward to in early February – a sure cure for the February blahs.
James Menzies is editor of Truck News and Truck West magazines. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 15 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies. All posts by James Menzies