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Since 1981 Western Star has been a make in its own right, but it began as an offshoot of White Trucks in 1968 when that company launched a new model aimed at the West Coast market. White Western Star 4900 soon earned a reputation for ruggedness and reliability in the United States and in Canada where White had set up the production plant at Kelowna, British Columbia. When White collapsed in 1980 and was taken over by Volvo Trucks in 1981, the deal did not include Western Star and the division was re-formed into Western Star Trucks Inc, owned by two Calgary-based companies. As well as the familiar versions, some cabover Western Stars were built featuring the White Road Commander cab.
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