RED DEER, Alta. — The new International LoneStar is a unique looking truck, but it wasn’t enough for Ron Nichols.
After the owner-operator decided on a custom paint job, he decided to protect the brand new rig with a unique looking bumper – a moose bumper.
While a moose bumper itself isn’t exactly unique, the retailer Nichols usually purchases his behemoth grills from had never made one for a LoneStar before. But the folks at Magnum Trailer and Equipment were eager to build one and now Nichols’ 2010 truck is outfitted with the first moose bumper manufactured for a LoneStar by the B.C.-based outfit.
“Our engineering team was intrigued by the unique styling of the LoneStar since early pictures were released,” says Mike Eng of Magnum. “They had a poster of the truck in the engineering office for eight months before it came to market so they could study it and capture the spirit and styling the International designers had built into the truck.”
From the time Magnum first modeled the truck, through to final production, took about six to seven weeks.
The aluminum bumper is 350 lbs and designed to be as light as possible, while still being able to impact, absorb or deflect animal impact, protecting the truck and engine.
The “Magnum Quick Latch” was incorporated into the design to provide quick and easy access to the engine compartment, and no tools are required to lower the moose bumper.
Nichols has been running in the Alberta oilpatch since the late ‘60s, and says he wouldn’t chance one of his trucks out on a job without a moose bumper, and not just because of the off-road work.
“I hit a moose up north back in ’95 and it cost us $16,000 in damage, and took out everything in front of the rad,” explains Nichols. “The hood was the biggest expense. If I didn’t have the moose bumper it would’ve pushed the engine right back and doen some serious damage.”
Based in Red Deer, Alta., Nichols’ two pneumatic trailers are set up to haul frac sand to well operations, and about 80% of the driving is done on-highway. And the highway is where the trouble is, according to Nichols. “Anytime we’ve hit a deer or moose, it’s been on the highway,” he adds.
As if a 2010 LoneStar with a custom designed moose bumper wasn’t enough, Nichols had a unique idea for a paint job too — Dodge Hemi Orange.
Nichols had just finished going over the list of usual spec’s for his new oilfield truck and the final question was color.
When offered the “any color you want” option, Nichols jokingly asked for Dodge Challenger Hemi Orange Pearl coat. The salesman told Nichols to get the paint code from Dodge and they’d send it in. It was a perfect match.
“I’m a Dodge nut, and the Hemi orange is the same orange they were using back in the early ‘70s,” says Nichols. “I’ve had a Dodge ever since I turned 16, and that was a ’56 Dodge Regent.”
His LoneStar might not be a Dodge, but for Nichols, it’s the next best thing.
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