Rescued from obscurity and decades of lack of use, one of the most iconic Mack trucks is on the road again.
And the late daredevil Evel Knievel couldn’t be prouder.
The 1974 Mack FS786LST used to haul Knievel’s show across the country, made a triumphant return this past summer at appearances across the country. It will continue to tour in 2016, before eventually setting in its new home – a Knievel museum that is being built at Historic Harley-Davidson in Topeka, Kan.
Knievel became a household name in the 1960s and 70s through his motorcycle-jumping feats. The Mack truck used to haul his show was later used by Knievel’s son Robbie, also a motorcycle stuntman, before coming to rest in a weed-filled lot in Clearwater, Fla.
It would have been a sad ending for what Mack Vice President John Walsh calls ‘one of the most famous highway trucks in history,’ if Robb Mariani of the “American Trucker” TV series hadn’t tracked it down following a well-documented search.
Fittingly, it’s now being hauled to shows by a pair of Mack Pinnacles.
The Mack also contained Knievel’s living quarters and was seen by millions of television viewers during the stuntman’s heyday. One of Knievel’s most famous stunts involved jumping his Harley-Davidson over 11 Mack trucks.
Knievel kept the truck up until his death in 2007, after which it came into the hands of pro skateboarder Lathan McKay – a collector of Knievel memorabilia. Enter Mariani, who eventually tracked the rig down and had it hauled to Brad Wilk’s annual antique truck show in North Carolina.
McKay had been hoping to restore the truck, and with a big helping hand from Historic Harley-Davidson owner Mike Patterson, more than 96 individual and businesses helped restore the truck and trailer.
Once restored, the famous truck started its tour in Butte, Mont. – Knievel’s hometown – and has appeared at events such as the annual Sturgis, S.D., motorcycle rally.
Needless to say, it’s been a hit at every stop.
“I’ve had five grown men cry on me,” said “Killer” Bramer, who hauls the trailer.