The Biggest, Baddest Boy at the Chicago Auto Show?

February 7, 2008

Forgot those wimpy hybrids. Who cares about alternate fuels. Gas guzzler? Bring it on. If you’re looking for the biggest, baddest mother at this year’s Chicago Auto Show, just wind your way over to the Navistar International display.

While it may be a name only a few gearheads recall, International has been around quite some time. In fact, it dates back to the original McCormick reaper, of the early 19th Century. In recent years, the company has brought to the show a procession of big rigs, including what it last year declared the biggest SUV ever.

For 2008, International set out to outdo itself.

If you’re up close and personal with the rig’s grill, it might remind you of the Chrysler PT Cruiser, but at about four times larger than life. Stepping back from the front row at the International press conference you’d realize it’s the most distinctive design feature of LoneStar, which we can assure you was the only Class 8 diesel cab to make its debut at the Chicago Auto Show.

Actually, LoneStar is part of a new generation of so-called “aero trucks.” Like traditional automakers, International has discovered the benefits of aerodynamics, which, combined with lighter-weight materials and other tricks, can cut a trucker’s fuel bill “thousands of dollars a year,” noted Tm Baughman, Navistar International’s general manager.

The giant rig has all the customization options of a Harley, added Baughman, including plenty of leather, some cool lights – oh, and a few things you can’t get on a Harley, like a refrigerator and wood floor for the sleeper cabin behind the driver’s seat.

So forget the Suburban, and run right over the Prius. LoneStar may be the only way to travel if you’re trying to make an impression.

2008 Chicago Auto Show. Big news from the City by the Lake. (2/6/2009)

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