Did this old Mack ever bring a smile to my face when it pulled up next to me in traffic at a light. Macks of this vintage were my favorite trucks during my east coast years, as they predominated the truckscape back in the day. This B77 has the bigger radiator. The more common and classic B61 had the more delicate curved radiator that would have looked right at home on a classic car (see below). But my smile got even bigger when the light changed to green and he took of in his utterly un-muffled, un-sanitized hard working Mack, belching the kind of black cloud that used to be ubiquitous in the good old days. Did you know Mack trucks could shoot flames too?
As a teen, I had a brief stint as a gardener’s helper for a former truck driver, who was a little worse for wear having abused his body for decades with bennies and and rough-riding noisy Macks like this one. He told me that under the right conditions, at night you could see flames coming out of a hard working Mack exhaust. Right.
A few years later, hitchhiking through mountainous western Pennsylvania at night on the Turnpike, I saw it: one or more old Macks laboring up the steep winding freeway at maybe twenty five or thirty, and a beautiful orange flame about a foot or two long sitting at the top of their exhaust stack, burning off the excess hydrocarbons that otherwise would have been seen as an extra-black smoke cloud. A catalytic converter without a catalyst.