Parts or Restore? 1962 Mack B61

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So, consider me surprised: restored Mack B61 trucks command a decent price when restored, upwards of $20,000 or more. Does that make this project-grade example a bargain at $2,400? I’m not sure, but I’ll bet one our resident Mack experts could help confirm. It looks like the seller has more than a few to choose from, but just the yellow one is up for grabs here on craigslist and located near Salisbury, Massachusetts. 

I think it’s safe to say even if you didn’t know this was a Mack beforehand, plenty of people will recognize this familiar face. If nothing else, you’ve seen a B61 terrorize unsuspecting motorists in Maximum Overdrive if you’re a fan of horrible 80s movies. No matter what, whether a possessed self-driving rig or a firetruck, the B61 is a famous face.

The seller doesn’t provide much in the way of detail about this example, other than it’s a non-runner for parts or restoration. The cab looks complete, with a seemingly unmodified dash and decent seating surfaces. To me, the most interesting opportunity for this Mack would be the blank canvas it presents for creating a period-correct working rig, or a pristine school bus or firetruck.

The frame appears solid in this photo, but that’s all we have to go on – and if this Mack worked through many Massachusetts winters, further verification of its structural soundness will be required. Based on what you can see in the photos, would you take a run at this one or wait for one of the others in the picture to pop up for sale? Thanks to Barn Finds reader AMXBrian for the find.

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  1. geomechs geomechsMember

    There are some of these being restored by determined and dedicated people. I overhauled the fuel injection system on one of these for a guy who was restoring the very truck his dad drove new. It was a 56 model B61 and he was giving it the entire business which included punching out all the rivets in the frame, cleaning every piece spotless and riveting it all back together. Last time I saw the truck the frame was back together and the axles were in place. Most of the bodywork was complete on the cab but it was going to be a while before it got set back in place. Still a lot of enthusiasts out there…

    Like 14
    • HoA Howard AMember

      Hi geomechs, B models are neat trucks, as long as you don’t spend day and night in one. This one looks a bit rough to restore, but surely worth it in parts. I see no evidence of a 5th wheel, and a double frame and PTO on the dash means it probably was a tandem dump truck. Speculating on the power, 237, 250 maybe, not a 300, unless dropped in later. 5×3 or 5×4 transmissions were the norm. Camelback suspension will leave lasting memories too, and even has a tattletale ( or “pimp” we called them) tach or speedograph on the dash, to keep tabs on you lazy drivers ( what’d he say?) Cool truck, too far gone for a restoration, but fear not, it could return as a resto-mod on a Dodge chassis.
      Speaking of Mack fuel injection, I heard, a Mack injection pump is like a small motor almost, with little pistons and a crank. Judging by the worn out throttle pedal, this injection pump was held wide open for years.

      Like 3
      • geomechs geomechsMember

        Hi Howard. Looking at these old trucks, I really have to give credit to the drivers of yesteryear. They had their work cut out for them. Can you imagine driving 10+ hours straight in something like that, in 100 degree weather? How about those two guys in the Cannonball series? I missed the stool pigeon; there were a lot of those back in the day.
        The injection pump has got a lot of pieces but it isn’t as complicated as some think. It has a camshaft, followers and the pumping element itself which consists of a barrel-plunger, a delivery valve, and a couple of springs. A Cat system is similar. Some years ago (1935-1938 to be exact), International made a system for the TD-35/40 and WD-40. There were 28 parts to each pumping element, compared to just 7 in the Mack or Cat. And no matter what kind of a system was used, you could count on it being used to the max…

        Like 2
    • Robert thomas

      Hi I’m from Australia and I have a fully restored 1964 b61 with a 237 turbo motor in it , I’m looking for a full power steering setup to fit it , I have the air assit ram on it but nothing else , any help locating full setup would be appreciated

      Like 0
  2. john

    If I could find a running single axle with a 5+4 for $2400, I’d be tempted to make it a daily driver.

    Like 0
    • HoA Howard AMember

      Good luck. A quick search around the country on this “search tempest” ( searches all of CL) a single axle came up in Colorado, similar condition, they want $9 for it ( they’re nuts) and then this dump truck in Nashville, which is probably what the feature truck looked like, but pretty slim pickens on the Beeper. I suggest a fire engine somewhere, they come up from time to time, and pull the fire stuff off and go that route.

      Like 2
  3. michael h streuly

    Engine hours 6664

    Like 2
  4. J Liu

    As geomechs remarks about the drivers, I too wonder who they were, where they traveled, what they experienced on the road and about their families. These guys were real truck drivers.
    I hope someone does restore these rugged and handsome trucks as they are important historical rigs of an era long gone. If they could only talk.

    Like 5
    • HoA Howard AMember

      Hi J, well, fire away, you’re talking to one. While the B model Mack was a bit before my time, I rattled around in tin cans like this for 35 years, now retired. I was primarily a midwest regional driver, home every night ( mostly, sometimes not for long) lots of experiences, not your typical 9-5 job, dump trucks, like this truck, were the most intense. They were loud, rough riding, smelly, dirty, oily and spent many a time under a truck trying to get it going. Tools were imperative. There were no cell phones, you were on your own. ( I’ve fixed many broken hoses with tape and a clamp to get back) Lot of long hours, and it eventually took it’s toll on my family life, but had a lot of fun, had good trucker friends, that would go out of their way for you, and visa-versa, and quite honestly, it’s a good thing these trucks can’t talk,, :)

      Like 12
    • Chuck Stemple

      I drove one back in the 50ys .had a sleeper cab and 2 drivers. drove from south Florida to New york and back every week.we drove 4 hours on and 4 hours off 24 seven.

      Like 0
  5. HoA Howard AMember

    Apparently, the blue and red ones are for sale to on a different CL listing. $2,500 for either one. The red one looks like the best deal. BTW, the blue road tractor is a very rare truck. It has the concave rear cab, and when trailers had the round front, you could haul a slightly bigger trailer, and get it right up to the window. Length laws were very strict back then. The blue one is cool if for no other reason..

    Like 1
    • HoA Howard AMember

      Oh, btw, the other blue truck appears to be an early 60’s White 9000.

      Like 0
    • gaspumpchas

      Hey Howard thanks for all the great info. ACME markets used that style and they were blue in color. Northeast region.

      Like 0
  6. FordGuy1972 Fordguy1972Member

    I did drive a B Model Mack a few times, though a long time ago. It was during the early ’90s so it was old then. I never spent a lot of hours in it and I was glad I didn’t. It was a ten-wheel dump, probably similar to this one here and a rough ride for sure. Tough truck, though; it never quit. Like Howard A commented, you always had the throttle wide open, that’s just how it was. I spent quite a few year driving a ’78 14-wheel RD Mack dump and my hearing has never been the same since. You boiled in the summer and froze in the winter but again, a tough, dependable truck. Don’t miss those days at all.

    It would be nice to see this one restored, B Model Macks are good looking rigs. Freshly painted yellow and black with all those nice chrome bits would be a real beauty.

    Like 4
  7. scottymac

    $10,000 just for tires?

    Like 0
    • HoA Howard AMember

      Sounds a bit steep. Truck tires are still $3-$400 dollars a piece.

      Like 0
    • geomechs geomechsMember

      I’m in agreement; you should be able to get everything you need for less than half that. And that’s good tires, not the off-shore garbage that’s leaving more ‘alligators’ on the highway than run-of-the-mile recaps…

      Like 3
  8. Wrong Way

    It’s worth what is being asked for sure! If it wasn’t on the communist side of the USA I would jump on it myself! Too far to truck for me!

    Like 0
  9. Gaspumpchas

    Pretty maids all in a row! Sure would love to take one on. Good luck to the new owner!!


    Like 0
  10. Martin

    There is one local to me still working hard. He has a later four valve engine and 48000 diffs.

    Like 0
  11. Eric_13cars Eric_10carsMember

    Howard, Geo, FordGuy, the second I saw this, I knew you guys would be all over it like white on rice. Always enjoy your comments and the detailed technicallia (I just made up that word) y’all bring. As a kid I daydreamed of being a trucker (read books such as “T-Model Tommy” and “Gasoline Alley”), but life and reality intervened. You’ll like this: I heard in interview with Terry Gross on “Fresh Air’ with an author/driver named Finn Murphy. He wrote a fantastic book called “The Long Haul: a trucker’s tales of life on the road”. Funny, thoughtful, detailed, and remarkably informative about the trucking business. He was a “bedbugger” driving a “roach coach”(moving van) and I suspect y’all were freighthaulers….possibly “parking lot attendants” (car haulers) or “skate boarders” (flat beds) or “chicken chokers” (animal haulers) or “reefers” (cold boxes) or “suicide jockeys” (hazmat haulers). :=) He discusses the hierarchy of drivers with the bedbuggers being held in the most contempt by others because they load and unload themselves (but make the most money too).
    He has bunches of funny stories about his bosses and customers. I’d be interested in whether y’all could confirm any of his experiences.

    Like 5
  12. Cap10

    Back in the sixties, my late Dad worked for the Township of New Berlin, near the Catskills of New York. They built and repaired the roads in good weather, then fitted their rigs with sanders and snow plows/wings for late Fall, Winter, Early Spring.

    Dad drove his share of Brockways, Fords, Internationals, Oshkoshes, and Macks (even a military surplus duece and a quarter 6×6), but he preferred the Macks. My favorite memory was riding with him as a kid in the 1958 B-Series “Twin-Stick” Mack. I was mezmorized watching him driving that fully-loaded rig down the road, double-clutching and orchestrating those twin-sticks like a conductor without missing a beat.

    He’d snort with a grin and remark, “Ain’t nuthin’ to it!”

    Oh, the stories he would tell us when he finally got home after hours of plowing with that ol’ Mack through those upstate New York blizzards.

    As a professional illustrator, I’ve hand-painted over two dozen t-shirts for him through the years and that ol’ B-Series is on a lot of them! ;-)

    Like 2
    • Bob

      I hav got a B61 in my shed I bought it 2008 and restored it I had a B61 in 1976 sold it in 79 2 get married

      Like 0

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