Australia’s last surviving original B Model Mack owner

Sunny Warby is the last surviving original B Model Mack owner in Australia, purchasing the rig in 1965.
mack

When standing up at the altar, you are promising to spend the rest of your life together. For richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to remain faithful, till death do you part.

Well, after meeting Sunny Warby and his 1965 B61RT Model Mack, it seems they have a better track record of upkeeping these vows than many married couples. 

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Since purchasing the Mack brand-new in 1965 when he was just  23 years old, Sunny is now the last surviving original B Model Mack  owner in Australia.

It’s come a long way from how it was back in the day

Sunny’s love affair with Macks began in the 50s when he attended the Sydney Show grounds. 

“There was a display of Macks from America with sleeper cabs and all that,” he says.

He was immediately impressed by the rigs; unlike much he had seen before. 

“I thought to myself, one of these days, I’m going to buy me a Mack.” 

Growing up on a farm, Sunny decided to branch out from the family business and found himself working for United Dairies carting milk and doing various other services. 

It wasn’t long before the urge to step out on his own took over, and he decided to finally bite the bullet and buy a truck of his own.

Needing guidance, he began to correspond with Norm Lee from refrigeration hauler company Frigmobile.

“I wanted to keep my options open, so I went and got prices on Mercedes, Foden, Internationals, MAN’s and Diamond Ts.”

“However, Norm just kept insisting I buy a Mack,” he says, “every time I came back he would say ‘look, just buy a Mack.’

“Looking back, the funny part about it is he was just trying to make a commission off me purchasing one,” he chuckled.

The shiny red Mack Sunny had his eye on had an asking price of 9,250 pounds (roughly $17,200 AUD).

mack

“I paid 9,000 pounds for it. It was originally 9,250 pounds, but they gave me 250 pounds off because I didn’t do a trade in.”

“I needed to have a 3,000 quid deposit and had to pay it off within three years. At 245 quid a month, you had to work pretty hard.

“When the boss would tell you what to do, away you’d go and do it,” explained Sunny. “You needed the money.”

The B-Model came complete with a 211hp 711 thermodyne engine and an 18-speed Quadruplex twin-stick transmission. 

“It’s also got a 64 m/h diff, which should be around 108 km/h.”

Sunny was also persuaded to add on a pair of West Coast mirrors, a sun visor, blinkers and a turntable.

As was done back in those days, the deal was finalised with a smile, a handshake and after some convincing, a promise of regular work. 

Sunny soon took up a job with Frigmobile, hauling the company’s own trailers and the trailers owned by Streets Ice Cream.

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The Mack prior to start of restoration

“I used to go all over, wherever they wanted to send me,” he says.

“It’s a big learning curve going from a farmer to a truck driver. 

“But the thing is, it’s not hard if you set your mind at what you want to do.

“If you want to achieve something, you have to set your mind to that and if something goes wrong, just be determined and think positively.”

Sunny and his Mack travelled around Australia for years, clocking in over 1.5 million miles.

“When I told people I’d had the truck since 1965 they would think I sounded a bit silly.

“A friend of mine told me that you should upgrade your truck every three or four years, but honestly I was pretty happy with what my truck could do. 

Slowly bringing back the cherry red colour

“I achieved with my truck what I wanted to do, and I made a darn good living out of it,” he says.

After a lifetime on the road, Sunny decided to give the truck a much-deserved break and retired it to his shed. 

As the years went on, despite regular maintenance from Sunny, the Mack began to show her age and was in need of a refresh.

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The rig was completely stripped down

“A fella said to me, ‘oh you should paint it all up and put it back how it was.

“And so we did.”

Restoring the rig was a team effort, using the help and expertise from Matt Stephenson and Mick Drew of MLS Truck Repairs in Riverstone, as well as David Chapman of Northwest Truck repairs, Steve Brown and Bruce Gunter. 

The team behind the makeover

“There was a little bit of rust in it, so that had to be cut out. They basically took the whole thing apart and made it brand new again. It was a full restoration.”

Three years later, after having caught the resto bug, Sunny decided to spruce her up even more with a new paint job and chrome work. 

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Nearly done!

One of the main goals was giving it back its cherry red paint, stripping away the old TNT colours and making it stand out once more.

“I got the mirrors chromed, and the radiator chromed, and I put a bull bar on,” he says.

“It was as flash as a rat with a gold tooth.

“Between you and I, it looks more flash now than it did when I bought it.”

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Taken 49 years apart! They both still look well, even though both are registered as vintage now

Sunny now enjoys showing her off on the truck show circuit, with his wife saying the duo are both registered as vintage.

“It is a big thing when someone compliments you, it’s like having a flash car,” Sunny says. 

“It’s great to know that you have something that people think is pretty special.

“I appreciate what I’ve got. And I think I’m pretty lucky to still have it. And that’s a big thing, that’s a big incentive for me to get out of bed in the morning.”

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