"R-Model Mack Truck Restoration"
The R Model Mack has played a vital role in the history of Mack Trucks. It has become a veritable time capsule of a time when Mack raised truck building to an art form. R Model Mack restoration has become increasingly popular as the truckers who drove them grow nostalgic for their trucks, and as a new generation of drivers rediscovers what made them so unique.
If you're looking to get your R Model restored, you've found the right person and place to get your R Model Mack back to its former glory. Mickey Delia, a truck restorer with decades of experience, will take the time to talk with you and guide you every step of the way in helping you complete your very own piece of the Mack Truck time capsule you own. If you're new to the R Model or if you've somehow forgotten what made them so unique, read on; you'll learn plenty about the place of the R Model in Mack history, and Mack Restoration by Mickey Delia's unique role in bringing several of them to show-worthy condition.
R Model Mack Truck Restoration by Mickey Delia
963 Rt 519
King Wood, NJ
To explain why restoration by Mickey Delia is so popular, it would help to take a step backward in time, going past even the R Model itself. Part of the R Model’s popularity, believe it or not, actually stems from the success of its older brother, the B Model.
B Model trucks were destined to be legendary practically from the day they were introduced. When the first trucks rolled off the lines in 1953 as a transition away from Mack's L Model trucks and tractors, it was already clear that they were a more than worthy successor to the L Model, and would cement Mack’s reputation for quality and dependability.
For the next 13 years, until the last B Model was built in 1966, they did just that. Like their predecessors, the B Model would be the basis for tractors, fire trucks, delivery trucks, heavy haul trucks, and nearly everything else that needed a reliable truck for its backbone. As with previous Macks, the B's were also available as highly successful export models.
When the time came to introduce the next generation of Mack trucks, the company’s designers could probably have been forgiven for a bit of trepidation. The B Model, after all, had been a phenomenal success, and left some big shoes to fill. Improving on the "B" would be easier said than done.
But do it, they did. The rounded lines of the B gave way to a more square-ish look with a single-piece fiberglass hood. Double-walled sheet metal in the cab added protection and strength. New engine options were introduced. But some of the biggest changes came in the cab. Drivers who’d spent time in B Models appreciated their reliability, but didn’t always appreciate the trucks’ relatively cramped quarters; whatever else it may have been, nobody who’s driven a B Model would call its cab spacious. The R Model traded those close confines for a redesigned cab that improved visibility while also introducing a new “amenity” – leg room, thanks to a redesigned cab and adjustable seat. Macks had always been sturdy, reliable trucks, but the R Model introduced a level of comfort that generations of truckers came to appreciate.
But Mack was about substance, not just style. And that meant that as with every other successful line of Mack trucks, the R Models would become a versatile platform for a variety of uses. That’s because in addition to the "standard" R Model Mack, Mack offered several variants of the R model. The RB featured a setback front axle. The RM was a specialized 4x4 municipal model. The RMM was the RM's 6WD variation. The RW (Western) also came in RS (steel frame) and RL (aluminum frame) versions. The U featured a short hood and offset cab that provided excellent visibility, while the DM was the heavy-duty version of the U and the DMM was the DM's AWD variant. Finally, there was the RD, the heavy duty "R"that would be the mainstay of the line 'til the Granite was introduced for 2006.
One measure of the R Model's success can be explained with one interesting bit of trivia. Henry Ford's Model T automobile -- widely credited with popularizing car ownership and making the auto industry a viable force -- was produced for nineteen years. The big "R" doubled that; its production run lasted 38 years, from the time the first big "R" rolled off the lines at Allentown in 1965, to the last RD produced in 2003. The R Model, thanks to export versions and a robust used trucks, became a truly global phenomenon. Of course, it also doesn’t hurt that of the 360,000 or so R Models that were produced, somewhere over half are estimated to still be in use today.
That’s one reason that R Models remain popular to this day. For some enthusiasts, they're still a highly capable workhorse. Their durability doesn't hurt, certainly. The other factor is the R's mechanical engines – like the EM6, EM7, E6, E7, E9, and E-TECH – are easier to maintain, easier to tinker with, and far more reliable than their later computerized counterparts from CAT, Cummins or Detroit. That's not the only reason R Model Mack restoration is becoming increasingly popular as well, because the R Model is coming into its own as a collectable trucks in the same way its predecessors, like the "L" and "B", have long been.
Of course, you don't want to leave restoration to just anyone. What should you look for when you're having your truck restored? It’s more than just a coat of paint (unless you get very, very lucky), and even there, it’s a challenge; we’ve all seen an otherwise competent restoration that was ruined by a cheap, careless paint job. But restoration is so much more than that. It often involves some or all of the following: mechanics, frame work, extensive body work, re-upholstery, electronics, and a host of other issues large and small. A good restorer will be able to do many, or even most, of these things; the best ones know when to bring in outside experts to complement their own skill sets. If a truck is worth restoring, after all, it’s worth doing right the first time.
Just ask veteran truck restorer Mickey Delia, who's seen just about every wrong way a Mack truck can be restored. Inferior aftermarket parts, ignorance about the guts of the R Model, and period incorrect restorations all get his goat. After all, when you've got an R Model for your blank canvas, why mess with perfection? Delia takes great care to stick to period correct details, sourcing original parts where ever possible, using only the highest-quality aftermarket parts when OEM options aren't available, and custom fabricating his own parts when all else fails.
Mr.Delia also does Mack Superliner Restoration for various series including MACK 90, MACK R700, MACK V8, MACK RW613 Mack Superliner Series.
Delia is clear on one thing: he's turned down jobs that would've been highly lucrative because the truck's owner wanted to cut corners to reduce costs, or because the types of modifications asked for would've ruined an otherwise great truck. If you're looking to alter your R Model beyond recognition, Mickey isn't your guy. But if you want your restoration to be one you can be proud of -- and if you want an end result that will justify the time and money spent -- well, the phone call is worth it.