the last word

What becomes a legend After nearly four decades on the road, the Mack RD-the last R-Series model is being retired at year's end. It's going out in style, thanks to a special edition dubbed the R-Model Legend. Mack says more R-model chassis have been built and registered than any other Class 8 vocational vehicle in trucking history. Approximately 360,000 have been produced since 1965 and over 200,000

What becomes a legend

After nearly four decades on the road, the Mack RD-the last R-Series model — is being retired at year's end. It's going out in style, thanks to a special edition dubbed the R-Model Legend.

Mack says more R-model chassis have been built and registered than any other Class 8 vocational vehicle in trucking history. Approximately 360,000 have been produced since 1965 — and over 200,000 of those are still running.

“We retire the RD with mixed emotions,” said Tom Kelly, Mack vice president of marketing. “On the one hand, we are extremely pleased with the response we've received to its replacement, the Granite. But like all R models, the RD was a real workhorse — truly Bulldog-tough — and helped forge our reputation for dependability and durability.”

The R-Model Legend is tricked out with limited-edition paint, badges, chrome and various amenities, including a special steering wheel and embroidered seats. Production will be limited. Mack says it will have all vehicles built by the end of the year.

Even air time goes by…

Qualcomm is celebrating the 15th anniversary of the launch of its OmniTRACS wireless communications system. In August 1988, OmniTRACS, and the CDMA cellular concept behind it, were rolled out. The company was a pioneer in leveraging wireless data transfer for trucking — which itself was a pioneer commercial user of the now seemingly ubiquitous technology. Schneider National was the first carrier to sign up for the new service. Since then, reports Qualcomm, 476,786 units have been shipped and 2,093 customers have signed up for OmniTRACS.

Aboard the Bloom Mobile

According to Calgary, Alberta-based CSI Wireless, its Vector Sensor GPS product was a key component of the revolutionary “Bloom Mobile,” the one-of-a-kind vehicle deployed by NBC News to transmit live on-the-move reports by the late broadcast journalist David Bloom of the U.S. Third Infantry Div.'s advance on Baghdad during the war against Iraq.

CSI says its product was an “integral part” of the mobile satellite system that Maritime Telecommunications Network (MTN) developed exclusively for NBC. Veteran newsman Bloom, who died in the field while still embedded with U.S. troops, has been widely credited not only with making incredibly effective use of the mobile technology but also with coming up with the concept in the first place.

The equipment aboard the Bloom enabled an NBC satellite dish to achieve extremely accurate headings - and to transmit crystal-clear video - while the transmission truck was “on the run” or still moving, notes CSI.

One big retread

Poised for nearly 40 years beside the main road leading from the airport to where else but the Motor City, Uniroyal's “Giant Tire” is about to get retreaded. The tire maker says it will spend close to $1 million to renovate the 80-ft-high roadside icon as its contribution to the revitalization of Detroit's I-94 corridor.

First rolled out as a gigantic Ferris wheel for the 1964/1965 New York's World's Fair, the tire's appearance over the years has changed several times already.

The work, to be completed this fall, will include replacing the more than 30 steel beams that structurally support the tire. The exterior will be updated with Uniroyal's URL (uniroyal.com) in reflective lettering. The hubcap will be repainted silver and the neon lighting added in 1994 will be replaced with reflective lettering to illuminate “Uniroyal.”

Arnold's SUV?

Fans regard the Pinzgauer as the best small-production 4×4 in the world. Built by Austria's Steyr Daimler Puch for the Swiss Army, the Pinzgauer was designed to be easily operated and repaired in the field by enlisted soldiers without any extensive mechanical training. Pinzgauers made from 1971 to' 79 qualify for import into the U.S. and have secured cult status among die-hard outdoorsmen. This one was spotted near California's Big Bear Lake.

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