BRUNSWICK heavy duty transport and earth-moving equipment company B & J Catalano was ready to mount one of the biggest displays of vintage Mack trucks seen in Western Australia.
But its plans to display more than a dozen models were put on hold this week with the postponement of the annual Trachmach Lights on the Hill vintage machinery field day.
It was scheduled to be held at Brunswick on Saturday April 18, but a meeting of the Trachmach committee on Monday decided to postpone the event until further notice because of the Covid-19 virus.
The focus of the event was to celebrate 100 years of Mack truck history, with the presence of a limited edition Mack Superliner, owned by local transport company B & J Catalano.
The truck is badged 95 of 100 built by Mack Trucks Australia to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Mack trucks in Australia.
The number 95 has special significance as it is the year company co-founder Joe Catalano died in 1995.
The Superliner is one of only two in WA with the other model owned by WA Limestone.
Among other Mack trucks to be displayed were a B61, which the Catalano brothers restored in 1965.
It now takes pride of place in the company 'museum' showing 1.6 million miles (2.7 kilometres) on the speedometer.
It was fitted with a Mack six-cylinder 711 Thermodyne engine which developed 157 kiloWatts (211 horsepower), linked to a 18-speed quadruplex transmission, boasting maximum torque at 1350rpm.
It is still in working order and technically is the oldest Mack in the Catalano fleet of 60 prime movers, which includes 25 Macks.
But these days it sits quietly in the farm shed diagonally across from the company headquarters on Talbot farm, which is the venue for the Lights.
According to Joe's son Clem, who is a director of the company with co-founder Bill Catalano's son Stephen, his father had three sayings: "Mack trucks", "Caterpillar machines" and "Michelin tyres".
"But it was the Macks that were mostly in the front of his mind," Clem said.
"We grew up with Macks and I can remember country trips where I slept curled up around the gear stick on the cab floor."
He remembers the company's first Mack truck, a Flintstone model (circa 1970s) which boasted a 177kW (237hp) motor and a five-speed gearbox.
"The second Mack was an R700, which was in pieces and Bill re-built it from scratch," Clem said.
"It became one of our front-line fleet trucks exhibiting the Mack qualities of handling the hard yakka and being reliable.
"The later models also were good on the fuel."
Torque note: Bill Catalano still remains company managing director and can spin a yarn as good as anybody on the board.