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F Model 711? Central Australia

Retro Racer

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Howdy guys, just reminicing about a trip I did many years ago as an 11yo boy.

It was from Adelaide South Australia right up through the middle to Darwin Northern Territory. From memory it was ~1850 miles and most of that was on corrugated dirt "roads".

The Mack was a slim line cab over with the really torquey 6 cylinder, I'm not sure if it was the 237 or 280 HP version. It had 5 main gears on one stick and an overdrive on the secondary lever. It also had a Jacobs engine brake switch but I'm not sure whether it was really a Jacobs or the Dynotard???

There was no passenger seat, so I just made a seat out of the sleeping bags, blankets and box of food/gas stove.

The engine stop cable was faulty and sometimes we used all 3 shots of air and it wouldn't start, so one time we had to sit for 4 hours after our lunch stop in the middle of nowhere till another road train finally came by and stopped to give us some air.

It didn't have any extra driving lights and there was a short under the dash that caused total light failure several times... I later learnt that trip was his first back on the road after months in hospital due to being trapped under a Flinstone Model Mack (R Model?) when of all things the lights failed and he ran off the road and rolled. :(

Being his first return run to the North we didn't pull a road train like he normally would and just pulled a 40' long widespread bogie trailer albeit with ~ 30 ton onboard... The wide spread rockers assembly featured two 3/4" bolts through a large crush tube type bush that were prone to failure. Sure enough these bolts failed on the low side so the trailer was leaning over a fair bit for the last couple hundred miles.

Return freight was basically non existant in those days and a premium was paid for running up north on the dirt roads, so most guys would load up their complete semi on top of someone elses with 1 or 2 trailer axles hanging over the back and they'd share fuel expenses on the way home... Road train guys would just carry their scond trailer home to try an weight the empty trailer and minimise damage.

Guys would often have leaf springs and brake return springs fail on the empty return trip as the ride was just too rough empty.

On my return trip I was spoilt, I sat in a MAN prime mover (rig) loaded on top of a brand new Mercedes 2228 truck n trailer so the ride was superb as both featured long leaf springs and air ride cabs.

I'll try and find my old pics. I'd love one day to grab an old slim line 5 speed 237 Maxidyne and make into a tilt tray with airbag suspension for our race cars.

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  • 7 years later...

Thank you for sharing the story and the pics. Too interesting to put an eye on the land I have never been to.

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Никогда не бывает слишком много грузовиков! leversole 11.2012

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