Jun 02, 2020

Heavy-Duty Goes To Hollywood

Heavy-Duty Goes To Hollywood

We love movies.

We love heavy-duty vehicles.

As we kicked back in our (virtual!) offices, we started thinking about putting the two together. How many movies could we think of that featured some kind of HD equipment?

If you’re thinking this was just an excuse for us to watch a whole bunch of movies…well, you’re right, and we probably need some hobbies.

Anyway, we watched a lot of movies. Too many to list here. So we ended up compiling a list of eight favorites to share. Why eight? Well, it’s a nice round number, and there are also eight basic truck classifications, and that was too poetic to pass up.

Let us reiterate: These are just some of our favorites. If yours isn’t on the list, that doesn’t mean we don’t like it. It just means our writer didn’t get to it. And you won’t find representations of every class on here – we just seized on the number eight and decided to run wild.

(Writer’s Note: Have at me, folks!)

Ready? Let’s go!

War Rig

Mad Max: Fury Road
Nothing says “post-apocalypse” like a bunch of Frankensteined big rigs, and Fury Road has those in spades. Imperator Furiosa’s War Rig is a heavily modified T815 from Czech company Tatra. It’s got a few other vehicles (among them a VW Bug) bolted on, and more firearms than we could actually count. We would totally take this thing up against Immortan Joe, some zombies, or those murder hornets in Washington State.

Dead Reckoning

Land of the Dead
Speaking of zombies, if you’re going to face bloodthirsty hordes of the undead, don’t do it in a flashy little sports car. That’ll just get you eaten. You need something with lots of armor and lots of weaponry – bonus if it can set off fireworks, because zombies love fireworks. The Dead Reckoning is barely recognizable as an existing truck because it was heavily modified and built up for the movie, but it started life as a ’92 Freightliner.

Rusty Nail’s Peterbilt 359

Joy Ride
Those who drive and service big rigs on a regular basis see them as familiar, even comforting. The truth is to the uninitiated, the sheer size and power of these behemoths can be scary – especially if one decides it’s time to chase you down the freaking highway. We’re not a fan of weaponizing trucks, but this movie did it to great effect. And hey, it even has a good message at its core: Joy Ride is basically a reminder to not be rude to people over CB radio, especially when those people might be serial killers like Rusty Nail.

Everything in Maximum Overdrive

There are so many vehicles in here, we couldn’t just pick one. Piggybacking on the idea of size and power being used for…well, for not good, this movie centers on all kinds of machinery coming to life after getting too close to a comet. Vending machines and kitchen equipment turn on their handlers, followed by a Caterpillar D7G, a tow truck, and a steamroller. The dark star of all this craziness is a Western Star 4800 with quite the, um, demonic adornment on its grille. If you only ever watch one heavy-duty horror movie in your life, watch that one.

(Writer’s note: I can’t believe I just wrote that sentence.)

Kenworth W900

Smokey & The Bandit
We know it’s hard to believe, but there was a time (long, long ago) where Coors wasn’t available all over the country. Smokey & The Bandit’s entire plot hinges on that concept, and the two titular characters grab a Kenworth (OK, OK, and a pretty sweet Pontiac Trans Am), fill it up with Coors in Texarkana, and embark on a wacky road trip to get it back to Atlanta. Generally, we don’t condone bootlegging, but it’s hard to take a stand against a cold beer on a hot day. Even if it is Coors.

(Editor’s note: Send all complaints to the writer directly about the Coors comment.)

Massey Ferguson 8460

Son in Law
What happens when a city-dwelling party animal winds up trying to learn the farming trade? Shenanigans, that’s what. Even those who don’t remember this movie very well probably remember the scene: Pauly Shore’s character climbs into the tarp-draped Massey and pushes some buttons. He inadvertently gets it underway and writes his name (Crawl) in Walter Warner’s field…while Walter Warner rightfully freaks out behind him.

John Deere 2640

Field of Dreams
You can build it and they will come…but before you build it, you need to clear a space. The JD used by Kevin Costner to do just that may not have had a ton of screentime, but the ghost of baseball players (and affectionate fans) everywhere thank it for its service.

Optimus Prime

Transformers Franchise
We’re not saying he’s the grand-daddy of all heavy-duty trucks in the movies…actually, yes we are saying that. Optimus Prime is probably the single most recognizable vehicle on the list; even people who haven’t seen the Transformers cartoons or movies have a general understanding of who he is. Optimus has shown up in a variety of truck disguises, transforming into a Freightliner, a Western Star, and a Peterbilt.

Psst – he made another list of ours, too – the classification list! (He’s a Class 8 in all his forms.)

There are eight truck classifications…and then there’s Class 9 for “everything else.” To honor that, we came up with one more very special entry.

Special Mention

Millennium Falcon
Star Wars Saga
Why did we put a spaceship on this list? Because the Millennium Falcon, a modified YT-1300 freighter, is the spacefaring equivalent of a big rig. Or it was, before Lando Calrissian and Han Solo made all their “special modifications” over the years. Now it’s used for smuggling Jedi around and getting into dust-ups with Imperial fighters, but it was born to haul material goods from one end of the galaxy to the other.

Fun fact: The malfunctions the ship suffered during The Empire Strikes Back proves the importance of tracking your preventive maintenance.

So there you have it: Eight of our favorite heavy-duty vehicles from the silver screen, plus one extra. Do you have some favorites that aren’t on the list? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!

Suz Baldwin