Boss of the old Hume: Roger Marchetti

Roger Marchetti, co-organiser of the Crawlin’ the Hume classic truck run, tells Tamara Whitsed about the S1974 White Road Boss he hopes to restore in time for the April event


Roger Marchetti has his heart set on driving his 1974 White Road Boss in the Crawlin’ the Hume classic truck run on Saturday, April 16.

The biennial event traces bypassed Victorian sections of the old Hume Highway from Melbourne to Albury.

Restoration of the White was still underway when we spoke to Roger recently.

“It’s a truck that my uncle had from new, and I drove that truck myself. So it’s a personal attachment,” says Roger, who is organising the third Crawlin’ the Hume with Robert French.

“Years ago, even in the 1980s when I was driving it, I always said I’d like to buy it, because it’s unique.

“It was always known in the family as ‘the little Road Boss’ because it was such a short bonnet and just different.”

Roger’s Road Boss was one of three demonstration models built in Queensland in 1974.

“My uncle Frank Marchetti got one of them. One of them went to Brambles and was written off a couple of years later, and the third one went to New South Wales somewhere.

“Its current location and condition is unknown,” he says. “We don’t even know whether it still exists.”

The demonstration model was the predecessor of the Road Boss produced by White in Australia from 1977, featuring a longer bonnet.

Frank Marchetti used his Road Boss predominantly to cart freight between Melbourne and Brisbane.

It also ran to Adelaide and Sydney, before Roger began driving it around Melbourne while working for Frank Marchetti Transport in the early 1980s.

The Road Boss was in need of repair when Roger bought it from Frank in 2013.

Sadly Frank passed away in 2014 before the restoration was finished.

Roger piggybacked the Road Boss behind Grub Campagnolo’s Kenworth in the 2015 Haulin’ the Hume from Sydney to Yass, and he is determined to have the Road Boss travelling under its own steam in time for the 2016 Crawlin’ the Hume in Victoria.


The 1974 White Road Boss pictured in 1989 when Roger drove it for Frank Marchetti Transport.



Roger, who lives in Mansfield, Victoria, is busy with his work at Benalla Mansfield Toyota and organising the necessary road permits for Crawlin’ the Hume, so he has sought help from mechanic Steve Ellis to restore the White.

Mechanical work is progressing well on the truck, which has a Cummins 903 Natural engine and 10-speed Spicer gearbox.

Roger says he is looking forward to seeing smoke from the stacks: “It’s full steam ahead and I want to get it going and have some fun in it.”

Fortunately the truck’s body is in good repair, since it takes months to source parts from the United States.

“It had an accident in 1979 and it took three or four months for one of the quarter guards to come out from America,” Roger says.

“I’m very protective of that little truck because I know it’s very difficult to get body parts for it now.”

Roger was inspired to help plan the first Crawlin’ the Hume in 2012, after attending Haulin’ the Hume in NSW the previous year, which was organised by Bruce Gunter and the Western Sydney Historical Truck Club.

“I think Bruce Gunter, when he started the first Haulin’ the Hume, just set the goal for the old truck movement and Robert and I just followed his lead,” Roger says.

“Both Robert and I have been on every Crawlin’ and Haulin’ so far, and we intend to keep Crawlin’ and Haulin’ for a long time.

“Anyone who has a truck that is 25 years or older is more than welcome to come along,” he continues.

“[Drive] along the old highway, reminisce through the towns, tell a few wild stories, have dinner on the Saturday night and catch up with people that you haven’t seen for a long time, or meet new people.

“There’s a lot of pretty towns along the way.”


Roger’s father Albert Marchetti carted logs with this Commer in the mid-1950s.


Marchetti Brothers

Roger spent much of his childhood travelling the old Hume with his late father, Albert Marchetti.

Albert worked as a diesel mechanic in France before arriving in Australia with two of his brothers, Frank and John. The three brothers worked on the construction of Lake Eildon.

Afterwards Albert bought a Commer Knocker to cart logs to a mill at Alexandra.

“Dad was making money on trucks, so John and Frank bought a truck,” Roger explains.

The three brothers went on to have long trucking careers.

Albert travelled Highway 31 regularly in the 1970s.

He owned a B Model Mack and subcontracted for Hartridge Transport.

Roger was born in 1961 and spent much of his childhood in a truck with his father, eventually becoming a truck driver himself.

His varied career has included stints with Brimac Transport and Peters Ice Cream.

He also drove coaches to the snow fields and on the Hume.

Between jobs he could always rely on getting work with Frank Marchetti Transport, usually driving the 1974 White.

Roger witnessed the gradual construction of the modern Hume Freeway.

If the restoration goes to plan, driving the White Road Boss through the bypassed towns during Crawlin’ the Hume will be a nostalgic journey indeed.


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Robert French (above) admits he is obsessed about trucks, the Hume Highway and Peterbilts.

He has driven his 1964 Peterbilt 351 in every Haulin’ the Hume and Crawlin’ the Hume since 2011, and plans to drive it again in the 2016 Crawlin’.

Robert, who is organising the event with Roger Marchetti, also owns a 1994 Peterbilt, which he drives interstate.

His late father, James French, drove trucks before Robert was born.

Robert’s fascination for classic trucks developed at a used truck yard he frequented during his childhood.


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Book Before You Crawl

Crawlin’ the Hume has been capped at 200 trucks, and only 400 tickets are available for the catered meal at Albury Racecourse.

It is possible the popular event will be booked out before the official deadline on February 7, so don’t delay obtaining an entry form by emailing Roger Marchetti at or visiting the Crawlin’ the Hume 2016 Facebook page.

Crawlin’ the Hume begins at the Ford Factory, Campbellfield, with registered vehicles assembling from 6am on April 16.

Thousands of truck lovers are expected to line the streets along the route, which passes through Kalkallo, Wallan, Kilmore, Broadford, Tallarook, Seymour, Mangalore, Avenel, Locksley, Longwood, Euroa, Violet Town, Benalla, Winton, Glenrowan, Wangaratta, Chiltern, Barnawartha, Wodonga and finally Albury.

The lunch stop at Winton Raceway will provide a perfect opportunity for truck lovers to admire the trucks.

The event concludes on Sunday morning, April 17, when trucks will gather for a static display at the Albury Racecourse from about 8am.




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