Himself Spotted Driving the ‘Old No. 44’ – on Propane Autogas
Oregon propane specialist Blue Star Gas is spreading holiday cheer and the word that propane autogas is reliable – and has been for some time – talking up bobtail “Old No. 44,” an International Harvester vehicle dating from the mid1960s. “In continuous service from 1966 to 2006, the classic propane autogas-powered truck now stands as a monument to dependable technology,” the company says.
Company veteran Darren Engle (26 years with Blue Star and now director of marketing) told F&F Friday that his first delivery rounds with the firm were in old 44.
The truck was purchased in 1966 by Bill Stewart, father of current Blue Star Gas president Jeff Stewart. Converted to propane operation the vehicle traveled “more than a million miles on the rural, unpaved roads of Northern California and Oregon” before being retired.
“Rather than put the propane bobtail out to pasture, the Stewarts elected to give the trusty old truck a facelift,” the company says. The truck was refurbished in 2007 and today is exhibited at nationwide trade shows alongside new trucks to demonstrate the evolution in technology.
“Old No. 44 has served us well, even in retirement,” says Jeff Stewart, third-generation owner of Blue Star Gas.
“The truck’s longevity and performance has been remarkable. It made deliveries for decades over rough terrain, providing the communities we serve with clean, efficient propane.
“Now an award-winning show truck we use in parades and display at car shows, this old beauty is still an important part of the Blue Star Gas legacy,” Stewart says.
Robert Hobson, a Blue Star service technician based in Salem, Ore. takes the classic bobtail on numerous cross-country trips. “Rumor has it,” Blue Star says, “that around Christmas time, Santa Claus – who bears a striking resemblance to Hobson –has even been known to get behind the wheel of Old No. 44.”
Fleet Conversions Welcome
“Not many vehicles today can match the durability and craftsmanship of this workhorse propane truck,” Hobson says.
Blue Star Gas is a partner in the Alliance AutoGas network, and as such provides a complete program for fleets to switch to propane, coordinating autogas vehicle conversions, on-site fueling, operational and safety training and ongoing technical support.
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Source: Blue Star Gas with Fleets & Fuels follow-up