It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Yes, it’s Classy Truck of the Year season, when we lay these beautiful work rigs beneath the tree for your enjoyment … and you vote for your favorite.

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Contact Jim with your comments, questions and opinions at

Snow is on the ground and pumpers everywhere are taking a little time off to go Christmas shopping. That also means it’s time to unwrap our Classy Trucks from 2018 and choose one to land on the top of the heap.

Sure, the weather outside is getting frightful. But you can stay inside and open this issue to check out the trucks, which are delightful. Look inside for a complete rundown of our monthly Classy Truck winners, and then go online and vote for your favorite. Use whatever criteria you choose to pick your winner.

Some of you will always vote based on your favorite chassis, or to honor the work of your favorite builder. Some love trucks dripping with chrome accents, or complex paint jobs. Some look at the spec sheet for features they appreciate in a work truck. Others look for a perfect balance of tank capacity, waste-pulling power and a beefy chassis. Others just appreciate a rolling billboard that attracts attention and brings home more customers.

Here are a few general observations that may help you make a decision:

Where’s International?

For possibly the first time in Classy Truck history, none of the winners carries a tank on an International chassis. Navistar International suffered well-publicized problems with its EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) emissions technology several years ago, which dealt a devastating blow to its sales, and our Classy Trucks might be evidence that pumpers continue to move in other directions for the underpinnings of their vacuum trucks.

Two manufacturers are the main beneficiaries. Our Classy Trucks include five each using Kenworth and Peterbilt chassis, both produced by PACCAR. Four of the trucks are Freightliners and two are Western Stars, both subsidiaries of Daimler Trucks North America. One truck is built with a Volvo chassis, and one is a refurbished rig running a now-defunct Sterling-brand hauler.

Bigger is still better; and steel tanks are popular.

This year’s trucks show a continuation in recent years of running bigger vacuum tanks. The 18 trucks average a 3,972-gallon capacity, with the largest running 5,500 gallons and the smallest 2,500 gallons. This trend reflects a desire from pumpers to load more waste between trips to the treatment plant. For many, a 5,500-gallon tank will take on a day’s worth of pumping jobs before making a disposal run. Some pumpers still prefer the smaller tanks to get into tighter spots or navigate narrow or weight-restricted roads. And many pumpers run both small and large trucks so they can make long routes and deal with challenging conditions.

As for the suction power, only three Classy Trucks carry blowers this year, which may be an anomaly, as it seems anecdotally that more and more pumpers prefer the power and operation of a blower. While there are many more vacuum pumps in the specs, they seem to have stronger suction (cubic feet per minute) performance every year.

And this batch of trucks carries a big majority of carbon-steel tanks, 11 of the 18 trucks. Four carry aluminum tanks and three carry stainless steel.

And six of the 18 trucks are outfitted with automatic transmissions, showing that the majority of pumpers are hanging onto their affection for gear jamming.

Showing their colors.

Down this year is the number of trucks showing off the colors of Old Glory. Only one truck boasts the red, white and blue, and the group is trending away from complex two- and three-tone paint jobs and colorful wraps and graphics. The trucks this year are a little less flashy, maybe a little more conservative. Not as much tank real estate is being used for big, blocky text or the type of landscape graphics that were popular in the past. Matching cab and tank presentations are fairly common, as if they didn’t want to clean the spray gun and complicate things with a rainbow of colors. As for popular colors, blue wins with four trucks; black, red and white got three each; and silver, gray, brown and the U.S. flag colors followed.


We’ve seen theirs. So where are yours? I know a lot of you have added trucks as business ramps up along with the improving economy. The Pumper community wants to see how you put a new truck together. We want to know about your must-have options and accessories. We want to learn about the tank and pump or blower you choose, the colors that show your company pride, the package that best suits the work you do.

Entering your Classy Truck for consideration is easy. First, detail the truck like you’re going to drive it in a local parade. Second, park it in front of a nice scene you pass on the roadway or with an impressive local landmark in the background. Get out your camera or phone and take several high-resolution pictures, preferably with the sun shining up all the bright work. Keep in mind we like to see the entire truck, from bumper to bumper.

Now that you have the photos, park yourself in front of the computer and write down some important specifications about your truck. Include the name of the company that built it out with the tank and pump. Explain pertinent facts about the equipment, including the size of tank and the tank material, the truck make, model, engine and transmission specs; exterior and interior features; and then share the name of your driver and explain what type of work the truck is used for.

Send the photos and information to me at That’s it. We’ll do the rest. We will get back to you and let you know we received the materials and put your truck up for consideration. We’ll let you know as soon as possible if and when your truck will be featured in Pumper. Then all the monthly trucks will be presented at the end of the year for Classy Truck of the Year voting. The winner is featured on the cover of the February Water & Wastewater Equipment, Treatment & Transport (WWETT) Show issue of the magazine, where anyone attending the big event in Indianapolis will see your pumper pride.

Let the 2018 Classy Truck voting begin! And maybe we’ll see your truck here in 2019 and beyond.


Comments on this site are submitted by users and are not endorsed by nor do they reflect the views or opinions of COLE Publishing, Inc. Comments are moderated before being posted.