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Mack Value-Liner scores Truck of the Year gong

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Owner-Driver  /  March 11, 2019

Nick Radford laughed surprisingly after he picked up the phone in February when told his 1990 Mack Valueliner had been voted the Owner//Driver Tranzmile Truck of the Year for 2018.

This was the inaugural running of the Tranzmile-sponsored award, and the other 11 contenders of various makes and models were of a much more recent vintage.

However, Nick was even more impressed when I arrived at his Radford Pastoral property at Penola in South Australia a few days later with the shiny 7kg trophy.

"Surprised? Very much actually," Nick said on receiving the trophy. "It’s good that the public liked the truck, the old girl."

Voting for the Owner//Driver Tranzmile Truck of the Year took place on the publication’s website at www.ownerdriver.com.au, beginning on December 1, 2018 and closing on January 17 this year.

Nick had originally bought the Valueliner to be done up and taken to truck shows. But a surge in work around the farm at Penola brought the old Mack out of semi-retirement.

"It became an everyday truck, and it was out on the road with a water tanker and single side tipper," he says.

"It’s a little bit gravel-rashed since we’ve done it up, a few stone chips or whatever, but it’s still in good order and condition."

As told in the article which appeared in Owner//Driver’s February 2018 edition, Nick has had diesel in his veins from a young age. Especially Mack trucks.

"I was 13 when that was built," he says, pointing to the Value-Liner. "Dad had one; that was fond memories for me going with dad and the drivers in those era trucks.

"Now there’s a whole new generation of young fellas that weren’t even around when those trucks were made.

"Those trucks were dead and gone, and they’re interested in them.

"They’re loud, they use heaps of fuel, sound good, look good, so there’s a bit of a following with the old trucks."

The Value-Liner’s refurbishment meant swapping the original 12-speed ’box with an 18-speed Roadranger. "The old 12-speeds, not that they’re hard to drive, but they’re a different ’box if you’re not really trained up on them."

As well as the Valueliner, Nick has an ’81 Super-Liner stored I the shed, plus four Kenworth working trucks, three of which – a T904 and two T908s – he took to the Koroit Truck Show earlier this year.

The Value-Liner, the old Super-Liner plus a Mack Southern Cross which is currently under restoration and his father’s W Model, made the trip to Kyabram for the biennial Mack Muster three years ago. But attending truck shows is time consuming, especially when you have a large property to look after.

Nick, however, has the Mack Muster at Gatton in south-east Queensland during September marked tentatively on his calendar. The event will coincide with the celebration of 100 years of Mack trucks in Australia.

"That would be really good," he says. "I’d like to get there."

Hopefully, if the Mack Valueliner does make the trip, the Owner//Driver Tranzmile Truck of the Year trophy will be hitching a ride in the passenger seat.

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