With the recent Heritage Truck Show celebrating 60 years of Mack trucks being manufactured in Australia, it was fitting that one of the models with which Mack made its mark in Australia was well represented.
And in the case of John Bocks’ beautifully restored 1963 B-61, there were few better examples of the legendary truck on display at the Rocklea Showgrounds in May.
Completed in 2020, the finished product is the result of a nut and bolt overhaul which Bocks undertook with the Mack receiving a heart transplant in the form of a bigger motor along the way.
“Originally it was a single drive, and it had a tandem put under the back end as it was being used for carting earthmoving machinery around,” Bocks explained.
“I put it back to a single drive and changed the motor over, it now runs a 285 Coolpower as opposed to the 185-horsepower motor it was originally fitted with.”
Having driven trucks for 17 years before taking on the grocery store and post office in Theodore, Bocks had always a soft spot for the famous B-Model. Upon acquiring the truck, the restoration was a process over an 11 year period which he undertook with the assistance of his brother and nephew in his shed at home.
“We went right back to the chassis rails, just doing a bit on weekends and so forth. In 2011 when we had just the cab and everything in pieces we had the floods and over six feet of water through the shed which made a hell of a mess, but we just kept going,” he said.
Casting the net for parts and spares to get the Mack back into shape, Bocks got some good assistance from the late Ian Lee in Victoria, along with Mack specialists Watt’s Truck Centre in Pennsylvania in the US along providing some of the ‘jewellery’ to get the B-Model sparkling. T
The chassis has been painted gold with the interior receiving a brighter tint of green which was the standard Mack finish at the time. The paint on the exterior was a different matter with the brilliant blue hues more commonly seen on the Ford Performance Vehicles car range.
“The paint code is called Ford ‘shockwave’, the fella I got to paint it he reckoned it was just a nice colour, so we went with that, and it has turned out real nice, and we have added a fair bit of stainless also to it,” he said.
The Mack runs on club registration and is a regular at all the heritage shows, and Bocks also has a Mack B-95 at home but reckoned it isn’t as nice to look at as the B-61.
He was looking at making a few changes to smooth out the ride of the old Bulldogs but overall is happy with how the project turned out, even if it did somewhat exceed his budget.
“I wasn’t expecting to spend the money on it that we did!” he said. “You do one thing, and you think of what it will take to make it look good, so you keep on going. It’s rough to drive but its nostalgic and I just like to look at it.”