Overdrive Magazine

October 2019

Issue link: https://dmtmag.uberflip.com/i/1172966

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66 | Overdrive | October 2019 E Q U I P M E N T "C olorway" has been a buzzword in profes- sional sports for years. The NBA's uniform partner, Nike, has been an innovator when it comes to mixing fabrics, fonts, colors and design to churn out creative team colorways. Oregon's football team has five this season — with near-limitless combinations. But cool colorways aren't generally hot topics at the fuel island. Until now. Peterbilt this year debuted its Blackout Exterior Package for the Model 579. It features an exclusive black-effect exterior paint for the cab and sleeper, Alcoa's Dura-Black matte aluminum wheels and a black-finish grille crown. Peterbilts have long been embraced by owner-operators and small fleets. One reason is their ease of cus- tomization, but that usually means stockpiling and hanging aftermarket chrome from headlight to taillight — or spec'ing a Model 567 Heritage, which isn't short on factory shine. But this new murdered-out truck goes in the opposite direction, trad- ing in bling for a striking package that's more Batman than Bandit. "One of the cornerstones of Peterbilt is our ability to provide individualized solutions to match our customer's need," said Wes Slavin, manager for Peterbilt's On-Highway Market Segment. Slavin foresees the Blackout Exterior Package, with its distin- guishing features, being particularly popular with the owner-operator community, as well as being used as a reward truck for larger customers. I took a blacked-out model, spec'd with an UltraLoft sleeper and upgraded with Pete's Epiq pack- age, for a nearly 200-mile jog from Denton to Henrietta, Texas. While the all-black finish soaked up the 100-plus degree heat, the rig looked cool doing it. My fuel economy was about 8.5 mpg, pretty good for dragging a 77,000-lb. gross across Texas hill country. Fuel efficiency is supported by the truck's Epiq technologies, which tie together its MX-13 engine (455 hp and 1,650 lb.-ft.), Paccar 12-speed automated transmission and Paccar rear axle to squeeze more fuel bang for the buck. Take rates for Paccar's MX engines continue rising, with more than 60% of Model 579 customers spec'ing one. The trailer was outfitted with tan- dem wheel covers, skirts and a tail to make the combo extra-slippery, but Pete's 579 Epiq goes all-in on aero by itself. It includes optimized com- ponents like a three-piece bumper with an aero bumper dam, an aero- dynamic hood with wheel closeouts, a sun visor and side extenders with a rubber guard. Optimized fairings include a pulled-forward roof fairing, a roof fairing close-out and trailer bridge, side skirts above and below the chas- sis fairing and extended chassis fair- ings. The setup does an excellent job at tossing air down the sides of the truck to reduce drag and wind noise, making for an exceptionally quiet ride. A flat floor, additional headroom, more storage and a spacious liv- ing area are a few of the slew of driver-friendly benefits UltraLoft offers over prior discrete large sleep- ers. UltraLoft's integral design also improves aerodynamics by 2%, resulting in a 1% improvement to fuel economy. "When we launched the UltraLoft in 2018, we did not see it as a replacement for the large discrete sleeper business, and that has held true through 2018 and so far through 2019," Slavin said. Total orders for the 579 UltraLoft exceeded 11,000 through August. "The discrete sleeper business remains strong with both 72- and E Q U I P M E N T More Batman than Bandit E Q U I P M E N T BY JASON CANNON PETERBILT'S BLACKOUT EXTERIOR PACKAGE for its Model 579 takes a simple approach to color to get big results in style. The aerodynamic features inherent to the Model 579 Epiq achieve notable fuel savings. Jason Cannon

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