Friday, June 26, 2015

Mack Trucks Museum

The museum is part of The Mack Customer Centre. I arrived at the gate in the truck and they must have thought I was making a delivery as the security guard waved me through. I couldn't find anywhere to park and was thinking, "I shouldn't be here, especially in a Peterbilt." I narrowly avoided turning onto the test track before pretending to make a delivery and driving out. I parked on the nearby industrial estate; got the bike out of the truck and rode back to the gate. This time posing as a British tourist on a bicycle.

The museum is just beside Interstate 78 at exit 57 in Allentown, Pennsylvania. It used to be the Mack Trucks Research and Development Centre before Volvo took over in 2000 and moved all R & D to their place in North Carolina.

The original bulldog mascot was carved from a bar of soap by a bored member of senior management in 1932. Alfred Masury was recovering from an operation in an Allentown hospital at the time.

This is the oldest surviving Mack vehicle; a 28 seat passenger coach from 1905. Right-hand drive but not for the British market; it worked in Chicago in the Summer and New Orleans in the Winter.

This is a L model Mack and like most of the trucks in the museum it is in better-than-new condition.

B-Series Heavy-Haul Mack unit pictured in the sound-proof room where Mack did all the decibel testing. All those triangle wedges on the walls are covered with a soft furry material that deadens all the sound vibrations like in a recording studio.

A B75, just like the one that used to stand in the Flying Eagle yard; but in much better condition.

B61, the most numerous of the B-series. Between 1953 and 1965; 127,653 B-series were produced.

Mack and Brockway, side by side. They were near neighbours in New York when Mack began in 1900 and Brockway began in 1912. Mack bought Brockway in 1956

All the trucks start and run; the museum rotates the trucks on show so it will be different every time you visit. It is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 am till 4 pm. With guided tours leaving on the hour and taking about an hour. I was the only person on the 10 o'clock tour, so it was just me and Tom, a retired Mack test engineer, as my guide. There wasn't much he didn't know about Mack engines and transmissions.

The biggest truck on show, built for the mining and construction industry. One of the first Mack trucks to have the cab off-set to the left so that the driver could line-up the vehicle easier.

A gas-turbine engined Mack, one of only three that were built to see if jet fuel was better than diesel fuel. Maybe the only vehicle that was not in working condition.

The turbine engine was under the cab of this virtually un-used Cruiseliner. 

The iconic AC Mack, the truck that went into service with the British Army during World War 1 and became known as the Bulldog Mack. A name given to it by soldiers because it was tough and tenacious like a bulldog.

The museum has it's own restoration workshop staffed by retired Mack employees. Here an old cab-over model is being restored in an area that previously used for the dyno-testing of engines. The drive wheels were placed over rollers built into the floor and the horse-power of the engine was measured.

40,299 AC Macks were built in the 22 years between 1916 and 1938. It came in three sizes: 3.5 tons, 5.5 tons and 7.5 tons.

Besides the old trucks; there was a section on Mack Trucks in films, also loads of old Mack toys and models. Old photographs and memorabilia. There is a gift shop with everything Bulldog and Mack, plus a cafeteria. It's free entry too and I must say that everybody was really friendly; I think I shook hands with every body who worked there. But the best thing about the visit was Tom; you could not have wished for a better person to give you a insight into the Mack company, their history and their vehicles. The tour was supposed to last one hour but we were chatting away about Mack Trucks for well over an hour and a half; it was that good. 

One area of the centre is for a display of the company's latest models. This is the top-of-the-line over-the-road tractor unit: The Rawhide.

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