ABOUT AIRFLOW TRUCK COMPANY

The Early Days

AirFlow Truck Company was founded in 1983 by Bob Sliwa.

 

As a child, Bob had a very inquisitive mind, and was very interested in science and physics. He would love to take apart all of his mechanical toys to see how they worked. And when rebuilding them, he would always try to modify the original design, or the components, for a more efficient design.

 

Later as a teenager, he transferred those mechanical aptitude skills into his first career and became an automobile mechanic part-time after attending daily high school classes. Also during this period, he discovered his love for anything automotive and became an amateur drag racer. He raced his cars during sanctioned events at drag strips throughout the northeast. This period was instrumental in his life as he learned many lessons from racing that would be very useful later in life.

First Car – 1965 GTO

In 1968, Bob bought his first car, a Montero red 1965 GTO. It came equipped with a Pontiac 389 cubic inch V8 engine, Tri-Power carburation, a 4 Speed Muncie manual transmission, and a Posi-Traction differential with 3.08 “desert gears.” It also had a black interior with bucket seats and a console. The GTO was a way cool first car, for a 16 year old kid.

Bob purchased the GTO with monies he earned as a part-time automobile mechanic, after school and on Saturdays . He drove it to high school daily, and raced it at the local drag strip on Sundays, obtaining ¼ mile times and speeds of 13.1 ET @ 110 mph.

SECOND CAR – 1968 L88 CHEVELLE SS

Bob’s second car was a real powerhouse for the street, and for the times. It had the legendary Big Block Chevrolet L88 racing engine. The L88 in the Chevelle was a 427 cubic inch engine with Chevy’s second-design, open-chamber aluminum heads. It produced 600 horsepower, utilizing a 12.5:1 compression ratio, a Holley Dominator 1250 CFM carburetor, an Edelbrock high-rise intake manifold, and Hooker Headers with 2.25″ primary tubes. The Chevelle also had 10.5″ M&H RaceMaster slicks, a 4-speed Muncie M22 Rock Crusher Transmission, and a GM 12 Bolt differential with a 4:11 gear ratio.

 

Bob drove it to high school during the week, and raced it at Dragstrips in the Northeast on Sundays,  obtaining ¼ mile times and speeds of 11.4 ET @ 122 mph.

He enjoyed driving so much, he figured a 13 speed truck transmission would be more fun than 4 speed automotive one. So in his early twenties, Bob obtained his Class 1 license (predecessor of the CDL license) and began driving tractor trailers throughout the northeast for local regional carriers.

 

Running from New Hampshire to Pennsylvania, with New York City and Long Island stops thrown in, this local high-traffic-density truck driving experience would provide a great initial trucking background and education.

Image on the left is another shot of the SS power-shifting the L88 into second gear @ 6000 rpm.

FIRST TRUCK – 1980 FORD CLT 9000 CABOVER

After six years of regional trucking, Bob knew that he was ready to open his own over-the-road trucking company and become an owner-operator.

 

He bought a cabover tractor and leased it to a carrier in Denver Colorado, running throughout the country in a 48 state operation.

 

But he soon realized how inefficient long haul trucks were, as he could only average 4.4 mpg.

 

Image to the right shows co-pilots Zephyr, and her son Bismarck, at a freight stop in Long Beach, CA. Getting 4.4 mpg with a square truck. Circa 1980.

THE FIRST GENERATION CABOVER PROTOTYPE – 1983 TO 1985

He then decided to use the lessons of his prior racing days to make his fledgling business more profitable, by modifying the cabover to be more aerodynamic and fuel efficient.

This time, instead of a goal of going the quickest possible from point “A” to point “B”, his new goal was to be the most efficient from “A” to “B”.

Starting from the 4.4 mpg baseline, he changed only one item at a time, and documented the effects. Through hard work and constant experimentation during “real world” freight runs, he would soon average close to 10 mpg.

This first generation aerodynamic cabover prototype was fabricated from the same, formerly square, cabover truck as shown in the image above.

THE 2ND. GENERATION PROTOTYPE, THE BULLETTRUCK – 2009 TO 2012

We began work on our second super-aerodynamic and hyper fuel-efficient Class 8 rig, the BulletTruck, in 2009. We introduced it to the public and began weekly “real-world” freight hauling runs with it in 2012.

We hauled freight all around the country with it on revenue runs to prove it was a real freight-hauling rig, and not just a show truck or another concept vehicle.

People called the rig the BulletTruck because they said it resembled a bullet train, and the name stuck.

THE 3RD. GENERATION PROTOTYPE, THE STARSHIP – 2015 TO PRESENT

The goal is to now build complete tractor trailer integrated systems, utilizing innovative aerodynamic designs and materials, and to produce the most fuel efficient class 8 vehicles anywhere.To that end, we have designed and have begun fabrication of our next-generation super-aerodynamic and hyper fuel-efficient Class 8 rig, The 2017 AirFlow StarShip. The StarShip will make its debut to the public in the third quarter of 2017.

 

Bob resides in central Connecticut with his German shepherd dog, Kayla. In his free time he enjoys hiking with Kayla, Home Theater, and utilizing his private pilot’s license.

Newington, Connecticut
robert.sliwa@airflowtruck.com