FEELING SPORTY

In May 2021, Short Story May 20216 MinutesBy Dave McCoidJune 28, 2021

If you step back and look at a ProStar, the impression is one of a compact, unintimidating, arrow- like carriage. Walk up to the nose, and the average six- footer will be a good head above the famous orange diamond emblem on its front. They’re slippery, and the battle is always on between International and Freightliner as to who has the lorry that slices the atmosphere most efficiently. Is it ProStar or Cascadia? On the vast open plains of the central United States, it’s a meaningful stat and represents real dosh. In this work in the back blocks of Hawke’s Bay, aerodynamics are of little consequence.

   
The Prostar cockpit. A compact, powerful, maneuverable truck that’s begging to be driven. (Right) The AMT shifter module in the foreground.

Access is easy, and the doors have beautiful big handles – inside and out. Once inside, there’s a spacious feel in a cab that’s only about 80mm narrower than Kenworth’s 2.1m. There’s buttoned vinyl on the roof and rear wall, and a dash with a more fleet-spec plastic grey-and-black backing to the wrap and binnacle than the Aitchison machine’s Rosewood backing from two years ago.

In typical fashion, the Intertruck team say they have found a way to swish that up a bit, painting the backing in mid to dark grey. So that’s the go, moving forward.

The binnacle bristles with gauges, warning lights and small central telematics, trip and driver-info readout. There’s an independent design language for the binnacle and the wrap, with the binnacle looking more car- like while the wrap is a flat- fronted affair, more modular in appearance.

   
1 & 2) Starchy efficiency aside, in the comp for who has the coolest shifter, there is no competition at all.

   
3) With its low, sleek profile, the ProStar is a simple beast to get in and out of. 4) A handy toolbox for hats, gloves and wet stuff that ‘we’ don’t want inside if at all possible.

The fully adjustable steering wheel falls comfortably to hand and looks like it is out of a ute or car also – nothing in that, just saying. There’s a smart wheel with just a horn button and cruise management – that’s handy. Wands are home to wipers, indicators and headlight beam adjustment on the left, and trailer control on the right. There are some switches under the binnacle – lights, mirror heat and like – and, on the wrap, climate, entertainment, traction, tyre inflation, some more gauges, brake valves, and minor incidentals.

When you’re talking space, day-cab loggers will never win any prizes for being a home away from home, and there is an intrusion into the cab from the engine department to get Big-Red to fit, although the occupants don’t take any heat for that as they did in distant predecessors. There are stows on both the left and right side of the front overhead console, which is home to a radio slot and interior light module.

The passenger seat has a locker underneath, there are door pockets and the godsend console between the seats. Also scoring high on the ‘handy’ scale is the locker between the entry steps on the driver’s side. It saves wet gloves and dripping hardhats from entering the inner sanctum.

Visibility is superb; it’s a big glasshouse with quarter lights. Mirrors are well placed, with all the mirror-type things you’d expect in terms of heat and adjustment. The driver gets a fully adjustable air seat, and at the time of writing, the standard offering in this department had also just had a birthday. An ISRI 6860/875 seat with the Inter logo embroided in the headrest will now adorn your new ProStar. Savage!

   
Yep, the X-15’s in there. If you can’t see it, put your foot on the throttle – that’ll tell you.

“The new-look dash backing and seat upgrade have made a huge improvement,” says Intertruck managing director Comer Board.

The AMTs have the push- button shifter module, but the coolest-of-cool is the long gear lever in the manual, with the legendary International kick or tweak in the shaft that tells any truck-head worth their salt just who this truck’s daddy was.

In many ways, it is a tip- of-the-hat to the legendary models of the past.

The bonnet lifts with ridiculous ease to reveal daily checks.

Overall impression? It sounds crazy, but the ProStar invokes the same feelings of enthusiasm as great models of Inter’s past. It has the big shifter that comes to you, and although a US machine, it somehow honours the cockpit feel of the Aussie T-Line in the way everything is easy to get at.

The ProStar is a truck that begs to be driven, and for me, that’s just what an Inter should be, a truck in the same category as your favourite pair of gloves.

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