Bulldog V8 going strong since ‘88

“It works when I want it to. It’s a bit like lending out your chainsaw though, I don’t let many other people drive it! We will grab it and do something with it, the main thing is if she’s loaded, she’s a good thing, she’s fun to drive.” 

It would seem that Rich Harrington is fairly selective about who gets the keys to his 1988 Mack Value-Liner, which was paired up to a Drake float and loaded with his other V8 Value-Liner on display at this year’s Kyabram Mack Muster.

Released by Mack as a replacement for the revered R-Model in the late 1980s, the Value-Liner soon found a role in a range of vocations and was a popular choice for many operators. 

In the case of Rich’s unit, it has had a few different kennels in which to call home on both sides of the country, having initially rolled out of the Mack factory as a fuel haulage-spec prime mover.

“It was one of the first of the V8s to come off the line, it was built for Ampol, it was plain white in colour. It has also spent a lot of time hauling a float for Tallangatta Construction and Maintenance. 

“I got it six years ago but it had been to Western Australia and back in the meantime where the fella was going to stretch the chassis and so on but that didn’t happen,” he explained.

Along the way the Mack had undergone some modification including the fitment of an extra air-cleaner barrel and exhaust. 

With the motor still nice and strong Rich soon had the Mack getting the paint attended to by Gordon McCracken in Wodonga and today presents quite nicely in its blue and white colours. 

Rich Harrington and nine-year-old son Frank were making their first visit to the Kyabram event. Image: David Vile

While the Value-Liner is not working every day, the 500 horses under the sloping bonnet are worked hard when required as Rich explained.

“We own The Rock Yard in Albury which is a garden supplies and landscape business. We do a lot of green waste so that’s where the float comes in carting the grinders and so forth about southern NSW and northern Victoria.

“It’s a ‘spare’ work truck. We have three Value-Liners and six Kenworths. I’m also a Kenworth man but if you have trucks in your blood, you like them all, but I am especially hooked on these old V8s.” 

His affinity with the V8 Mack product goes back to Rich’s younger days back on the farm in southern New South Wales.

“I was nine years old. We used to live up at West Wyalong. My dad Tony would do the odd trip of grain down to the piggery at Corowa in one of Hudson’s V8 Macks.

“I would go with him, and I loved it. Since then, I always wanted a V8 Mack and now I have bloody two of them,” he said with a grin.

On the float was another Value-Liner which also has a V8 powerplant set to 400hp. Currently off the road, it has become a project truck and is undergoing an overhaul with a view to it being available to also work when required. 

“It was originally a tipper, I bought it with the body on it that I have taken off, and it came out of Queensland. I have slowly just been doing stuff with it as time allows. The engine is pretty sound, it’s only a 400 as opposed to this 500 and I am going to get the paintwork sharpened up to make them look similar to each other. It’s like all second-hand trucks, everyone has a bit of a go at them doing their own thing, you can put a lot of time and effort in to getting them to where you want them. 

“This runs so I will get it sorted and registered, if you have trucks, you can always do something with it like cart a bit of hay or whatever if you need to.”

The Mack spends most of its time hooked up the Drake float, and is always up on its weight when working, which Rich reckons is when it works best. 

“With a 3×4 Drake and a dolly we haul about 41 tonnes. The green waste grinders are heavy so you need a dolly as well, we were going to go with a 3×8 float but the places we go you’re dragging a bit too much, and we can go down dirt tracks and into farm gates and so on easier with the 3×4 as opposed to a 3×8.  

“It’s good fun to drive; nothing really goes around it. Up in the hills with a heavy load she will really work. They were made to be loaded and loaded heavy and that’s why it’s here loaded now,” he said.

Rich, along with his nine-year-old son Frank, were making their first visit to the Mack Muster with both Macks drawing a steady stream of onlookers.

“There’s been a lot of people coming by to have a look and a lot of interest with what I am doing with the one on the back,” he said.

“This is our first time to Kyabram, it has been a great turnout, and it’s a credit to the people who put this on and the time they have put in to make it happen.”

The two Macks will be part of the Harrington business for some time and Rich is happy with the investment he made a few years back to chase the dream of owning a V8

“It was either trucks or a helicopter, so I bought two Macks. I reckon I am safer on the ground with these than a chopper,” he concluded with a smile.

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