Crusty Clas­sic

Dave Wil­lis and his F Model Macks

Deals on Wheels - - Contents -

In a pad­dock of stub­ble on a Rive­rina farm near Man­go­plah, New South Wales, Dave Wil­lis in­tro­duces Deals On Wheels to his favourite truck.

It is a 1970 Mack F700 he has af­fec­tion­ately dubbed ‘The Pizza Oven’. To­day it is at­tached to a tip­per loaded with wheat.

Dave is a me­chanic, grain car­rier and one of the or­gan­is­ers of the bi­en­nial Kyabram Mack Muster.

It is no sur­prise that his favourite truck is a Mack – it is the only brand he owns. But why does he pre­fer the Pizza Oven to his other work­horse, a V8 1983 Mack Su­per­liner which once carted fuel for Joe Bro­mage?

And what about his re­stored show ponies – the 1967 V8 R600 Flint­stone, and the blue-and-white 1970 F700 he calls ‘For­ever Young’?

“That was my first work truck,” Dave says, ex­plain­ing why the Pizza Oven is his favourite. “You jump in it and it’s just al­ways fa­mil­iar.”

The Pizza Oven was once used as a tow truck. Dave bought it in 2011, and planned to use it for a sin­gle grain har­vest. But it went so well he has used it for ev­ery har­vest since.

“It’s a good old truck. It’s head­ing up to 50 years old. I don’t know what that is in dog years.”

No prizes for guess­ing why he calls it the Pizza Oven: “It’s all steel in­side. It’s like sit­ting on a bar­be­cue and then pulling the hood over your­self.”

But it is me­chan­i­cally sound and re­li­able.

Work­ing it each har­vest helps fund Dave’s Bull­dog ad­dic­tion. He is up­front about his bias to­ward Mack trucks, but he hap­pily ser­vices all brands at Wil­lis Me­chan­i­cal.

“The main part of the work is lead­ing up to har­vest with truck and trailer road­wor­thies.”


Dave en­joys work­ing on old farm trucks: “They’re pretty easy to work on. They’ve got a lot more char­ac­ter than all the new stuff.

“A lot of them have been in the orig­i­nal own­ers’ hands from new, passed down a gen­er­a­tion or two.”

The old­est trucks he reg­u­larly ser­vices date back to the late 1960s – a Dodge 675 and Ford F600, which are still reg­is­tered and work­ing on lo­cal farms.

“There are a few guys that re­ally take pride in them. It’s good to see the old ones still around. That’s one of the best things about har­vest – you do see a lot of old trucks come out.”

This har­vest, Dave drove the Pizza Oven and em­ployed a driver for the Su­per­liner. They trav­elled as far west as Lock­hart and as far east as the Hume High­way.

Back in 2013, Dave drove the Pizza Oven from Syd­ney to Yass on the Haulin’ the Hume clas­sic truck run.

A high­light was over­tak­ing an old White as he climbed over Ra­zor­back. “Our Mack was a bit bet­ter suited to the hill, I think. It just went straight around this old White with a GM.”


He plans to t ake part in Haulin’ the Hume again on April 8. But this time he will leave the Pizza Oven be­hind and take an­other F700 he calls For­ever Young, which was first owned by Lind­say Brothers.

Dave’s fa­ther, Matt Wil­lis, bought For­ever Young

in 1999. They en­listed Gor­don McCracken for the paint­ing and scrolling; the restora­tion was fin­ished in time for the 2005 Na­tional Road Trans­port Hall of Fame Re­u­nion at Alice Springs.

Matt worked the truck for a while be­fore sell­ing it to Dave’s brother, Andy Wil­lis. Andy, who op­er­ates four tip­pers, sold For­ever Young to Dave last year.

“There are few lit­tle things I want to do to it be­fore Haulin’ just to make it a bit bet­ter to drive,” Dave says.

“I’ve got to lower the seat a lit­tle bit to make it a bit more com­fort­able, and speed it up a bit.

“At the mo­ment it’s flat out at 80km/h and prob­a­bly com­fort­able at about 70.”

He wants to man­age 90km/h with ease. “I’ll just put some quicker diffs in it.”

Restor­ing the Pizza Oven is also on Dave’s to-do list. But his next project is an FR795 which was once owned by Ken Archer.

Dave bought it from Jan­ice McCracken of Al­bury af­ter her hus­band Rick McCracken passed away.

“We’ve fixed the chassis on it and I’ve got the orig­i­nal engine back for it,” Dave says.

He ex­pects the restora­tion of the Archer Mack to take him a cou­ple of years, but he hopes to have it com­pleted in time for the Kyabram Mack Muster on March 17 and 18, 2018.

Dave will be spoilt for choice when he con­sid­ers which Macks to take to the muster.

He also has a re­stored red 1967 V8 R600 Flint­stone; an un­re­stored blue 1966 F700 once owned by Sporns; and an un­re­stored blue-and­white 1980 FR700, which was the first truck he drove af­ter ob­tain­ing his truck li­cence.

He plans to travel to next month’s White Truck Muster at Kyabram on March 18 and 19.

It is one of the many truck shows he wants to at­tend this year. But the most im­por­tant event in Dave’s 2017 cal­en­dar is his wed­ding to fi­ancée Liz in late April.

Dave’s 1983 Mack Su­per­liner took part in the 2016 Sylvia’s Gap Road Run

Dave’s col­lec­tion in­cludes this un­re­stored FR700 and F700

The Mack F700 dubbed ‘The Pizza Oven’ loaded with grain near Man­go­plah

Above: Dave Wil­lis with his 1967 Mack Flint­stone R600 at the bi­en­nial Kyabram Mack Muster, which is on again in March, 2018 Left: The 1983 Su­per­liner once carted fuel for Joe Bro­mage but now carts grain in the Rive­rina for Dave Wil­lis

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