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Classic Rig Has More Than a Few Stories to Tell

EDMONTON, Alta. - You'd never guess that Andy Zary's 1959 Mack B-61 has been involved in two head-on collisions.


BANGER: You'd never guess by looking at it, but Zary's Mack has been involved in two accidents. Photo by James Menzies
BANGER: You'd never guess by looking at it, but Zary's Mack has been involved in two accidents. Photo by James Menzies

EDMONTON, Alta. – You’d never guess that Andy Zary’s 1959 Mack B-61 has been involved in two head-on collisions.

The truck is an immaculate accumulation of stainless steel, spotless chrome and Endura Plastic paint. It looks like it just rolled off the showroom floor.

But while this truck is enjoying much attention during retirement as an award-winning show truck, it has earned every bit of it, according to its owner.

The Mack certainly wasn’t babied when it was rolling down the highway in the late ’60s, he says.

It was a hard-working machine that earned its cushy post-working life on the show’n’shine tour.

“I kind of got attached to it because it did such a good job for me,” said Zary, as he showed the truck at the inaugural Alberta Big Rig Weekend in Edmonton last fall.

Getting the bulldog into show condition was not a simple task. Many years on the highway (and 2.5 million miles to boot) had taken their toll. But Zary’s commitment was unwavering, even though it was far more work (and money) than he ever anticipated.

“It took 17 years to get it into show condition,” recalled the Saskatoon resident.

The ’59 Mack was used to haul flatdecks on the demanding route between Saskatchewan and the West Coast.

In 1968, and again in 1975, it was involved in serious head-on collisions.

Zary wasn’t at fault in either instance, but the damage was severe.

While most people would’ve written the truck off, the owner’s attachment to the rig was so strong that he pieced it back together and continued to drive it.

“There was $20,000 in damages,” said Zary, recalling one accident.

Even though Zary wasn’t prepared to let the truck go after its working days were over, it wasn’t until 1982 that he decided to convert it into a show truck.

“I attended a show in California and I really got the bug about doing a show truck,” Zary said.

The work doesn’t end once the truck is refurbished, however. At each show, Zary spends countless hours in the days leading up to the judging, polishing the truck and getting it looking its best.

“And then it rains overnight,” he said, with a chuckle (it rained the night before the Edmonton show).

Despite all the work, Zary wouldn’t have it any other way. His efforts have been rewarded at every show he’s taken it to, often winning top prize in its category. The Alberta Big Rig Weekend was no exception, with the Mack taking top honours in the show truck (non working) class. Zary was thrilled.

“There’s good competition here,” he said, during the judging, eyeing the other rigs.


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