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Reliving his youth with a classic Mack

“I had an F-Model when I was running up and down the highway and I thought I would relive my youth again by buying one…probably not the greatest idea but here we are!” said Wayne Lighezzolo with a smile as he stood next to his 1979 FR700 Mack at the Kyabram Mack Muster earlier this year. 

Wayne had made the long trek south to the Goulburn Valley from Brisbane with the cabover taking its place on display amongst the myriad of Super-Liners, B-Models and other Mack variants on show.

Wayne has been the custodian of the imposing Mack for a few years now and the FR carries the name of his family’s former transport operation, Nepean Valley Transport, on the doors. 

Having first hit the road in a Gardner-powered Atkinson, Wayne soon found himself behind the wheel of an F-Model. As the Nepean Valley fleet built up to around a dozen trucks at its peak.

The bulldog breed soon had a prominent presence. 

“The old Mark 1 Atkinson was a slow but good old truck,” Wayne explained.

“My old man bought me a F-Model Mack and put me in that running general. Back in those days the [Cummins] 903s were all the go so we mainly ran Ford Louisvilles, but we wound up with around four Macks.”

After being in the Mack for five years, Wayne headed north to the Sunshine State, operating a concrete truck. 

Fast forward a few decades and the desire to “relive his youth” led him to southern New South Wales where he bought the Mack off Scott and Tracey Martin. 

The ’79 Mack FR-700 stands tall at the Kyabram Mack Muster. Image: David Vile

“Apparently it originally was an interstate truck, running Melbourne-Sydney- Adelaide but ended up sitting in a paddock for a while. 

“It had been tidied up fairly well though and I saw it advertised so I thought about it, and we had a chat about it, so I jumped on the plane to Wagga and picked her up and drove it home.”

The Mack has a genuine pedigree from end-to-end with a Coolpower motor, Mack 10-speed driveline and camelback suspension at the back end. 

While 285 horsepower might seem modest today, back then it was comparable to other engines. 

“The 320hp Coolpower unit came out at the same time, but they are a slightly different concept – the 285 got a lot more torque as opposed to the 320.

“They will cool down a lot more and hang on in the hills a lot longer,” Wayne explained. 

“The 320s will rev a bit harder. The 285 was a very popular motor. It’s only geared for 100k’s.

 “Back when I was driving we were limited to 80k’s so if you were geared for 100km/h you were laughing, but a lot of trucks used to go a lot faster than that, trust me,“ he continued with a grin.

Since purchasing the Mack, Wayne has fitted a new turntable along with generally keeping everything ticking along, and with the truck now 45 years old some parts are getting a little scarce. 

“I got the cab suspension sorted but had to go looking a bit as cab parts are getting a bit hard to find.

“However, anything off an R-Model will fit the chassis, but a lot of aftermarket bits and pieces can also do the trick.”  

Wayne and the F-Model are regulars on the show circuit. They also attended the Rocklea Historic Show and also get-togethers at Biloela, Gatton and Wauchope in New South Wales. 

This year’s Mack Muster was the first for Wayne. He had planned to attend the last one in 2022 before its cancellation. The F-Model travelled down on a float pulled by an R-Model, with the trip south done at a fairly leisurely pace. 

“We thought we would try the Muster out. Because this was Mack-orientated we decided to come down and have a look and I am glad I did. 

“We tried to steer clear of getting in people’s way, so we came out through Goondiwindi and down the middle to Moree then down to Rankins Springs for the second night and rolled in here around 3pm. It was a little bit out of the way, but it got us off the Newell.”

For the trip home, Wayne was planning to load the R-Model up on the float and drive the F-Model to give it an extended run. 

Back in Brisbane he has a B-model which he reckons needs a “bit of love” to get going again but for the time being the venerable cabover will keep ticking along and given the opportunity would gladly point the bulldog in the direction of Melbourne or Sydney once again. 

“It’s just a matter of keeping on top of the maintenance, it’s been pretty good – I wouldn’t hesitate to go anywhere in it.”


The post Reliving his youth with a classic Mack appeared first on Big Rigs.

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