Friday, April 1, 2011

"R" Model Macks

I  have always like the styling of the "R" model Macks. Much more modern looking than the other common conventional of that era in NZ; the "W" series Kenworth. I have never driven one, but have sat in the driver's seat and found the view over that short, fat bonnet through the curved two-piece windscreen quite impressive. Here are some NZ "R" model Macks mostly photographed in the 1980s.
Although strictly speaking "R" model includes the Super-Liner, I have not included them in this piece.
An "R" of Childs Freighters in A-train configuration enters the Manawatu Gorge between Woodville and Ashhurst. The tunnel is for rail traffic. A short distance past this point the road crosses the Manawatu River and winds along the cliff face on one side of the Gorge, whilst the railway does the same on the opposite side.

This 1984 R612RS with self steering semi-trailer has just crossed the bridge at the western end of the Manawatu Gorge and is approaching the settlement of Ashhurst. This one was operated by Produce Freighters.

A 1985 R686RST of NZIG ( New Zealand Industrial Gases) unloads LPG at Tom's Auto Services in Masterton. The Mack has probably served it's useful days by now, but Tom's is still operating, but these days run by Tom's son; successful rally driver Richard Mason.

Piako Freighters 1985 R688RST B-train with a load of drums awaits at the Picton ferry terminal in the South Island for a sailing to Wellington in the North Island.

D.F.Lloyd & Sons of Palmerston North operated this R686RST of 1987 vintage with tri-axle tanker.

Detroit Diesel powers this "R" model of TD haulage of Mount Maunganui. Seen here parked outside the Dudley Arms Tavern at Mangatainoka, the home of Tui ale.

ASC-Flowers ran a daily freight trip to Masterton from Palmerston North with this, then, brand new "R". In the background can be seen the viewing tower of Centrepoint in Masterton's main street. This building has now been demolished and replaced by a new premise containing a bank amongst other things. The "R" model macks in NZ were mostly Australian sourced. As far as I know NZ and Australia were the only countries where "Rs"came from the factory with a 4 headlamp set-up.
The short trailer in this photo is the front half of a B-train. The trailer bogie could be slid out from under the body and the turn-table (fifth-wheel) for the second trailer would emerge from between the chassis rails. 

John Reid contracted to Child freighters used this flat deck "R" and trailer to carry products for Humes who make large concrete pipes, tanks and culverts.


A Halliday's Haulage "R" with furniture trailer moves away from the traffic lights on a wet day in Taupo's main street. Notice how the engine's torque is making the front of the truck lean to it's right under acceleration.


A long bonnet "R" is parked in Masterton outside McGregor Hall in Worksop Rd.with a load of empty produce crates. The long bonnet (hood) was an option and usually housed a V8, but sixes could also be specified with the long option as may be the case here as there is no V8 badge visible on the bonnet side. This rig was operated by Freightways.

This "R" was operated by Bob Laing. It is unusual in the fact that it has 10 stud wheels whereas most Kiwi "Rs" had the spoke type hubs with detachable rims.
A Freightways B-train tanker purrs through the sheep saturated NZ countryside.  This one wears twin exhaust stacks and twin intake stacks.

5 comments:

The Old Vic said...

That Freightways R-model tractor unit was owned by an owner driver who contracted to Freightways Bulk Services Ltd, which later became Fluidex Transport Ltd. That B-train was used for carrying ethanol and the tanker trailers are still in full-time use by Fluidex

Anonymous said...

Excellent write up and photos Trev, I myself have a R688RST. Great machines

Austinpowered said...

Great to see the photo of the B train Mack tanker. Really brings back memories! My dad was General Manager of Freightways Bulk Services from 1971 through to 1988 and purchased the Mack fleet. Before that they ran Fiats. He was always so proud of the company's accident-free record.

The Old Vic said...

Hi, Austinpowered

I started driving for Freightways Bulk Services in 1972 and am still there, although it is now called Fluidex Transport. I am actually in Ashburton at the moment with my tanker parked outside the hotel where I am staying for the night, but it is an International now not an R model Mack!

I presume your dad was Brian Mountjoy, he was a great boss and it really was a pleasure working with him and being part of the whole Freightways organisation.

Regards, the Old Vic (Vic Hungerford)

Graham Walker said...

The ASC-Flowers unit I believe was operated by Mark Shields (ex Camerons owner driver in Wellington). The "R" model in the photo was a derated 300 hp that was originally destined for the Chilean market. Motor Truck Distributors got hold of them after the Chilean deal fell through. The distinctive cowing on the bonnet was an id mark of these limited vehicles. I worked as a company driver for ASC-Flowers in Wellington at the time this photo would have been taken. A number of such units made up the beginnings of the night-shift operations between Wellington-Auckland as well as P/North-Auckland etc. I ended up with an "R" model prime mover (ex Freightways logger from Taupo) before moving on not long after Trailways (now Owens Road) purchased ASC-Flowers. Hope this helps fill in a few details, Cheers Graham Walker, now in Timaru