The very first Western Star 49X to land in Australia has found a home – and the purchase is a pretty special one for this road transport operator.
Colin Pattel, who has run his family business – Pattel’s Heavy Haulage in Townsville – for 38 years, says this truck will probably be the last new one he ever buys.
“I’m 63 now, and I’m hoping to retire in 2025,” he said.
“I have things I want to do after retirement and if you don’t do it, things can happen, health-wise, so you have to make the move.
“It won’t take long for two years to go by and I’m glad I’ve got pretty good gear now.
“Because this will probably be the last truck I’ll buy, I named it after my mum, Myrtle.
“People might say ‘I’ll believe you’re retiring when I see it!’ because I had previously bought a Volvo that I said was going to be my last new truck, but then this one came along.”
Pattel first spotted the gleaming red 49X at the Brisbane Truck Show back in May, and after some administrative back and forth, and customising the truck to his company’s needs, Myrtle finally got to work a few weeks ago.
“I saw the truck at the Brisbane Truck Show and I didn’t think it was for sale, I thought it was a demo they had travelling around to shows.
“But I got in touch with Penske, who are the distributor for Western Star in Australia, and they actually offered me that truck. We did a deal and that’s how it all happened.”
Western Star describes the 49X as “the toughest of the tough”, with a heavy-duty frame, an impact-resistant bonnet, and intelligent LED headlights with high-impact polycarbonate lenses and additional hard coating protection.
It also comes with an optional TufGlass impact-resistant windshield, which is 2.5X more resistant to damage.
It’s the most tested Western Star ever, and the American manufacturer claims it has the most advanced suite of active safety systems ever offered to the vocational market.
Safety features include Active Brake Assist 5, the only system on the market that works down to 8km/h, as well as side guard assist, adaptive cruise control to 0km/h and brake hold mode.
Pattel’s model has 140 tonnes GCM capability and a 72” sleeper cab.
“The 49X has a few varieties but they chose this one to bring to Australia and I’m very happy with it so far,” he said.
“We mostly use it for moving machinery and equipment, wide loads, whatever comes along in the construction and mining industry.”
After he bought the truck, he did a bit of work to it before he put it on the road.
“I bought the truck as it was but it wasn’t built for me, so I added signs and radios, aerials, more spotlights.
“We also added ice packs, toolboxes, and a rack on the back, behind the cab.
“I spent another 50k plus on it, easy!” he laughed.
Trucking is in Pattel’s blood, going back generations. His parents, Bill and Myrtle Pattel, bought an old Ford truck in Townsville and set it up as a concrete agitator back in 1958.
By the time their son Colin was born in 1960, MI & WGF was a thriving earthmoving and tipping business.
“My grandfather and great-grandfather were also involved in the transport industry,” he continued.
“I’m the fourth generation in transport in my family.”
Although Bill Pattel sadly passed away when his son was just 25, Myrtle still lives in Townsville.
“Mum is still going, she’s 91 years old now and still living at home where I grew up. I was happy to name the new truck after her.”
Rex Ross, Truck Sales Representative for Penske Australia, said he was delighted to sell the special truck to Pattel’s Heavy Haulage.
“I’ve known and worked with Colin for some 25 years now and it’s an honour to have sold him the first Western Star 49X to be delivered into our region.”