Mafia Secrets
Aero trucks turn heads, too

By Bryan 'Boss Man' Martin, contributing writer

Ladies and gents, it is becoming more and more evident that we are definitely trucking in the aerodynamic age. We all love the classic, bold, squared up look of our ol’ Petes and KWs. But when you pass by a rest area or scale house and scan the lot, seven out of 10 rigs will be an aero body style of some sort. Love it or hate it, that’s what the majority of us will likely be driving four to five years from now, if we aren’t already.

As trucks become more “shapely” and convex to cut through the wind with minimal effort, it becomes difficult to conform stainless steel or chrome-plated metal to accessorize and enhance them. Most upgrades must either be accomplished by upgraded paint/vinyl graphics or an assortment of bolt-on chrome plastic trim pieces. With a vision, a budget and a plan, the appearance of these spaceships can be radically changed for the better.

Take a look at this Cascadia we customized some years ago for our friends at Freightliner Corp. With literally hundreds of thousands of these on the road today, this is the most popular model of truck in the USA. You must admit that this one does make you stop and look.

As you can see, we let the paint design and color combo do most of the work for us. The copper-to-white fade provides a cool effect on the outside of the truck, as well as on the inside of the cab. When the painted fiberglass rear fenders were added to the mix, it even got better. This truck toured for a season as a show truck only, so we opted for the custom machined alum wheels on the steer axle. Not DOT certified, but man they look wicked. Four smoothie wheels went on the drive axle with a set of painted top hat hub covers.

We re-skinned the rear of the sleeper with smooth alum to hide the corrugated rear exterior wall offered by the factory. A polished stainless steel drom deck, air line box and rear frame cover was fabricated and bolted to the chassis to tidy up most of the gaps on the rear of the rig.

More stainless was used above the windshield on the extended outer sun visor, which adds some attitude to the stance of this li’l line-hauler. A line of amber LEDs down the length of the cab-sleeper, as well as the tank fairing, provides a unique light package not available from the dealerships.

From the driver’s seat, this truck was a pleasure to drive. You gain the comfort and drivability that would remind you of a late-model pickup truck, great ergonomics, and super sharp eye appeal to boot. And all this at nearly 8 miles per gallon. She may not boast a 20-inch Texas square bumper with a flip kit, but the stack of Ben Franklins it could leave in your wallet at the end of every month sure will make ya think twice about changin’ your ways. LL