I happened to run across a post this week that spoke about the founding of Freightliner Trucks by Leland James which sparked a thought in my mind as to why this marque has always appealed to me. I feel a connection to this brand that probably exists due to my affinity towards competitive motor-sports. 

Racing and trucking have so many parallel paths of thought when it comes to “winning” the race at hand. In racing to win, your equipment must be strong enough to survive and finish the race. Trucking is no different in this regard as uptime and ease of maintenance are the foundation of a profitable truck. 

Strength and durability are important to a winning formula but the race is won by being lightweight. Tare weight is the enemy of a winning race car or a profitable truck. This is where Leland James focused his efforts, with the use of an aluminum cab along with many other components to increase the cargo-carrying ability of the Freightliner truck. 

Maneuverability and handling are also traits of a winning combination on the race track or at the freight dock. If a race car or a truck cannot maneuver in an efficient manner the “race” will not be won. Visibility and maneuverability have been hallmarks since the first aluminum cab Freightliner cab-over trucks all the way through to today's Cascacadia flagship model. 

But remember no one wins a “race' without a great pit crew. Leland James had a trucking company that also produced a truck. So arrangements were established to have the sales and service of the Freightliner brand of trucks through the White Motor Company. By forming this relationship the owners of Freightliner Trucks had access to parts and services in every corner of the country. Sales and service locations were actually one of the major deciding factors for my choosing a 1996 Freightliner FLD 120 as my first truck. This still is one of the most important factors in building a winning combination. And to my knowledge, today, Freightliner Trucks is supported by the nation’s largest service network. The availability of trained service for light repairs through Service Point at T/A – Petro Travel Centers further enhances your ability to keep your truck up and producing revenue. 

The core reason for the existence of the Freightliner brand still shines through today which is to outperform its competition through innovation. This started out by an aluminum cab-over truck that exploited its advantages during a time of patchwork truck weight and length rules which covered North America like a patchwork quilt. Today's Freightliner trucks tackle the tasks of total cost of ownership which includes fuel efficiency, driver comfort, up-time, ease of maintenance, and safety technology. The DNA of innovation runs deep at North America’s leading brand of trucks.

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Henry Albert

Henry Albert is the owner of Albert Transport, Inc., based in Statesville, NC. Before participating in the "Slice of Life" program, Albert drove a 2001 Freightliner Century Class S/T™, and will use his Cascadia for general freight and a dry van trailer. Albert, who has been a trucker since 1983, was recognized by Overdrive as its 2007 Trucker of the Year.

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