If you’re familiar with the Transformers franchise, you may know it’s been around since the 1980s, complete with toys, comic books, and at least one animated series. You may know, too, that there are different continuities, if not different universes. The fairly recent live action movies brought these transforming robots into the spotlight when they came out. The bright yellow Bumblebee is a fan favorite, to be sure, but it can be argued that the lead Autobot, Optimus Prime, drew just as much – if not more – attention.

We can’t say how many knew his truck form was a Western Star beginning in the fourth Transformers movie, let alone if there was a rise of people looking for a Western Star semi truck for sale for use in their businesses. But that doesn’t change the fact that the process of, well, transforming such a truck into a robot – and in a way that was even marginally believable – was an interesting one.

Western Star Trucks

Western Star began in 1967, when they first engineered heavy-duty trucks for use in the logging, mining, and oil industries. Their focus was on quality, longevity, and reliability, since one wrong move or cutting corners in those industries could spell disaster for the one behind the wheel as well as those around them. Suffice it to say when they ventured into highway trucks, they used the same philosophy to fuel their designs and production.

Any Western Star is a product of handmade construction and stringent quality control measures, whether it’s meant to drive on the highways and byways or go off the road. Those who own at least one Star in their fleet of trucks know that it may cost a little extra, but the payoffs down the line are well worth it.

Bringing Optimus Prime to Hollywood and the Big Screen

In Generation 1 toys, Optimus Prime was a cabover, and in the live action films – at least until the third movie – he was a Peterbilt Model 379. Paramount contacted Western Star about the collaboration, and one can only speculate at the timing. After all, the movie was released in 2014, and Western Star unveiled a new truck model that same year.

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Whether this was deliberate or not, the fact remains that Optimus Prime had a different look, and it was custom-built to boot. According to one Western Star spokesperson, the Autobot leader’s truck form incorporated a few things that showed the next step in innovation, as far as the trucking industry was concerned. But the truck manufacturer’s hallmarks were easy enough to spot – for those who know trucks, at least.

The most notable of these is the tall cab, which means more headroom for the driver and better visibility because of a bigger windshield. The hood also had a marked difference when compared to the previous Peterbilt Prime; the latter was more boxy in appearance, while Western Star Prime has a slight downward curve, making it a tad more aerodynamic.

When you look at the company’s focus on making tough trucks that are built to last, and put that next to Optimus Prime’s role in the world of Transformers, it’s easy to see where they overlap. A no-nonsense leader of sentient transforming robots who does what’s needed to get the job done and empathizes with his human partner? That sounds like a Western Star.

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