Restoration of iconic drag truck gathers speed

drag truck

In 2016 I wrote a story in Big Rigs about an iconic drag truck called the Mean Machine, a B-model Mack owned by the legend himself, Billy Gordon.

I loved doing the story on this truck because of its iconic history on the highway and on the race track.

It’s the truck I grew up with watching at Surfers Paradise International Raceway back in the day.

The truck is iconic because of one man, that’s Billy Gordon.

Billy not only bought that truck as a young fella and ran her up and down the highways of Australia, he then decided to race her.

It all came about back in the mid-70s when some Gold Coast and Brisbane-based highway runners, who had egos bigger than the gear they were driving, decided they wanted to have a go with their highway trucks on the race track instead of the highway (no speed limiters back in those days).

So began the quarter mile running highway trucks at Surfers Paradise International Raceway. Some of the interstate trucks would pull up out in the car park, drop their fully loaded trailers and run the quarter mile. Then after the night was over, they would hook up their trailers and continue on their trip to Sydney and brag all the way down.

Guys like Morrie Lowe, a local Gold Coast truckie who ran the quarter mile more than once in his Kenworth K125, and of course Billy Gordon and his old B Model Mack.

I will always remember the last race that I saw the Mean Machine run. That was against Frank Gaffiero’s Expeditor, later to be known as The Bandag Bullet, at Surfers Paradise International Raceway.

The truck eventually stopped doing highway work to focus on racing fulltime.

When I last did the story on the Mean Machine, Billy and Sharon said they would never sell that truck.

Well, a lot has changed since that interview in 2016.

I was so saddened to hear about the passing of Sharon, heart-felt condolences to the Gordon Family from everyone here at Big Rigs.

Billy and Sharon decided to sell the Mean Machine to Bernie Tobin on one condition. That condition was that the Mean Machine is to be restored back to its former glory. No ifs, or buts, and no changes.

The deal was done. So, the float was despatched south to pick up the Mean Machine from Billy and Sharon’s farm at Norwell and the float then headed north to Bernie and Neil Conway’s place where the restoration is well and truly underway.

That’s where our next story will begin. So, I’m heading north to talk to the boys. The owners, the mechanics, the panelbeaters and spray guys to see how they are going with this iconic truck.

I can’t wait to catch up with everyone up there and have a look at the truly iconic truck of our past to see how she is looking.

By the look of some of the photos I have seen, she is looking absolutely great. Trucks like this have to be restored because that’s where our trucking history started back in the day.

·      Ed’s note: We’ll have part two of this restoration story in Big Rigs later this year and at bigrigs.com.au.

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