Old No. 44 Still Truckin on Propane

Joanna Schroeder

Blue Star Gas customers have seen “Old No. 44” delivering propane fuel for 40 years. The classic bobtail truck was also fueled by propane autogas. The truck was originally purchased in 1966 by Bill Stewart, father of Jeff Stewart, who is now the company’s president. Old No. 44 traveled more than a million miles in Northern California and Oregon before retiring in 2006.

BlueStarbobtailtruckChristmaspicIn 2007, the bobtail was refurbished in 2007 by Jarco, who first designed the built the International Loadstar 1600 to run on a propane auto-gas. Now it is back on the road with a look and is being exhibited nationwide at trade shows to demonstrate the evolution of propane autogas technology.

“Old No. 44 has served us well, even in retirement,” said Jeff Stewart, a 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.”

Robert Hobson, a Blue Star Gas service technician based in Salem, and his son Kenny, have taken Old. No. 44 to shows across the country. “It’s interesting to see the 40-year evolution in technology when we display the classic bobtail truck side-by-side with an updated one,” said Hobson. “There have certainly been advances in convenience and safety, but not many vehicles today can match the durability and craftsmanship of this workhorse propane truck.”