The manufacturing plant where every Western Star truck is built is a pretty nifty blend of mechanical and human technologies. As you may already know, your favorite hand-built trucks come from Portland, Oregon on a sliver of land called Swan Island. They’re celebrating 10 years at that location this year, so we thought we’d celebrate them.
Some 35 Western Stars are built each day by more than 1,000 people working two full shifts. In the last 10 years, the hard-working folks at the Portland Plant have built over 50,000 trucks including the Western Star 4700, 4800, 4900 and 6900 models.
Before 2002, Western Star Trucks had been manufactured in Kelowna, British Columbia beginning with the first White Western Star in 1967. Now, the Portland, Oregon plant handles even the most complex Western Star configurations. What was the first Star produced in 2002 at the Portland plant you ask? Why, a 4900 we say, in June of that year. Anybody out there have a Star that was built in Kelowna?
Since Stars are custom built by hand, they’re almost like snowflakes. Rarely are two alike because they’re built exactly to each owner’s unique specifications. It’s just amazing to us that they’re still built by hand. That’s old school quality. You know how they say, “They just don’t make things the way they used to?” Looks like they do in Portland.
Now, for safety reasons, manufacturing plants don’t generally let you just walk up, knock on the door and ask if you can have a look around. Most of us don’t live down the street, either. But, one of the virtues of technology is that it allows us to be shown around the plant without having to leave our easy chairs. There’s a series of 5 videos here at http://www.westernstartrucks.com/Company/Heritage/ that walk you through the process. We think your kids will like it too. A virtual field trip is almost as good as a real one but you don’t have to wear safety glasses.
So the next time you climb into that Western Star 4900 or whatever model you drive, think about the muscle behind the muscle putting together your next one out there in Portland.