Classic Mack on his final bucket list

By: Tamara Whitsed

Buckley 3932 Gillian Buckley (right) with her daughter Karah and granddaughter Lexi. Buckley 3932
Buckley 3803 The restoration is finished and the Mack is back on the Buckleys’ Strathbogie farm. Buckley 3803
Buckley 3822 Gillian Buckley with Mario Grosso and Emil Barbic who completed the restoration. Buckley 3822
Buckley 5569 The Mack’s first outing was to the Alexandra Truck Show in June. Buckley 5569
Buckley 3785 Brian Buckley at the 2016 Euroa Show and Shine with one of his R Model Macks. Buckley 3785

Despite his illness, Brian Buckley had every intention of restoring his R Model Mack


Brian Buckley of Strathbogie, Victoria, didn’t live to see his R Model Mack fully restored, but the bucket-list project brought joy to his final months.

Even from his hospital bed, the 60-year-old continued to exchange messages with the restorers, Emil Barbic and Mario Grosso of Oaklands Junction, Victoria.

Brian passed away in April, 2017 – only six weeks after he took the Mack to Emil and Mario for restoration.

Gillian Buckley, says the truck was "in a million pieces" when her husband died. After some thought, she decided to proceed with the restoration.

Brian worked as an owner-driver for most of his career and later had a fly-in fly-out job, driving a fuel truck along Nacap pipeline construction sites.

But when he learned he had bowel cancer in 2014, Brian bought an excavator and established Strathbogie Tableland Earthworks.

Brian also renewed his passion for Mack trucks. He bought four R models and wanted to restore one of them as a replica of a log truck he once owned.

Emil completed most of the restoration at Oaklands Junction. Mario helped when his truck-driving commitments allowed. They also outsourced part of the work.

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In keeping with Brian’s wishes, there were a few minor customisations to the interior. But Brian wanted the exterior to look authentic.

"We replicated it the way it would have been when it came out of the assembly line of Mack in Brisbane when it was brand new," Mario says. "The bull bar is original. The wheels are original – no chrome on the wheels. The fuel tanks are all original, and the single exhaust."

Brian’s friend Neil Lemen drove the R Model in a convoy from Yarck to the Victorian Truck Drivers’ Memorial at Alexandra in June. Brian’s name was added to the memorial wall during the annual memorial service.

Now the Buckley family is pleased to have the truck back on their Strathbogie farm.

Read the full story in the August 2018 issue of Owner//Driver.

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