Readers' Rig of the Year: Bill Kolias's Western StarDec 1, 2015
Photos simply don’t do a whit of justice to the 2003 Western Star tractor owned and operated by William Kolias of New Hampshire, which was among the Readers’ Rigs featured in June.
Equipped with a 475-hp. Caterpillar C-15 engine, Kolias’s Western Star is coated in Imron 6000 Garnet Red aircraft paint—which goes for $800/gal.—and decorated with a unique yellow-tinted star-and-banner graphic. Yet it’s how his truck’s color is preserved that makes it one-of-a-kind: Kolias hasn’t waxed his truck in nine years. All he does is wash it off with water, often without soap, and cleans a few grime-toughened spots with a bristle brush.
The reason why Kolias can do that and make his Western Star shine like new is that his entire rig is sealed under layers of glass, including the truck’s exterior chrome and aluminum components, dashboard gauges, and inside door panels. Yep, that’s right. Glass.
The seven-step process took two workers 33 hours to complete—first by cleaning the entire tractor inside and out, top to bottom, then applying the glass silicate in layers to create an impenetrable bond to the truck’s paint and other components.
The interior features captain’s chairs, full leather coverage, LED lighting, and a hardwood floor, among other custom touches.
Kolias, who began driving trucks in 1977, started his own company in partnership with his brother in 1981 hauling mostly lumber, building products, and oversized loads in New England.
When his wife retired in 2006, the Koliases began splitting the year between New Hampshire and Florida, where Kolias worked at a local truck driving school two to three days a week. That’s when he added the 38-ft. recreational trailer painted to match his one-of-a-kind tractor color scheme.
“It’s truly the truck I’d always wanted—and I’d always wanted to drive trucks for a living.” Kolias told American Trucker. “I’m a licensed master electrician, licensed pilot, and firefighter. There are a lot of other things I could do, but this is what I love.”
Send us a photo for judging in our monthly Readers’ Rigs showcase. Each month’s winner gets entered into the championship round, with the Grand Champion reader rig selected and profiled in American Trucker’s December issue.
Email your truck pictures to Kevin Jones.