Mack in Black: OEM offers limited edition as drivers show off fuel savings

Oct. 29, 2019
Two years after Anthem’s debut, Mack is producing 500 all-black trucks while showcasing how two Anthem drivers are staying in the black.

ATLANTA — Mack Trucks is focusing on how it can keep its customers operating in the black. From a social media campaign to show how drivers are getting better fuel efficiency with the Anthem to limited edition Mack Black Anthem that was unveiled during the North American Commercial Vehicle (NACV) show.

Featuring a blacked-out exterior trim package — that features the first black bulldog on a Mack hood — and additional interior features, the OEM is only producing 500 of the trucks.

“The most badass truck on the road just got even badder,” John Walsh, Mack Trucks vice president of marketing, said during Mack’s press conference to open Day 2 of the international show at the Georgia World Congress Center in downtown Atlanta on Oct. 28.

Mack’s designers started with a 70” stand-up sleeper model painted Mack Black and spec’d with Mack’s black exterior trim package. They then added a number of unique styling features, including a bold black Mack wordmark across the grille. Cab steps and deck plates are powder-coated in black, and flat black trim stripes are added to the air intakes on each side of the hood. Black mudflap brackets, black aluminum fuel tanks, Alcoa Durablack aluminum wheels and a limited edition Anthem doorplate add to the distinctive look.

“Who’s the audience for this truck? What’s the market? For us, it’s about customers looking to make a bold statement — to stand out from the crowd,” Walsh said. 

He said the truck could be a great way for fleets to reward their best drivers. 

“We showed a blacked-out concept at the launch of the Anthem in 2017 and received incredible feedback from drivers,” said Roy Horton, Mack Trucks director of product strategy. “We took their feedback, combined the unique exterior treatments with special interior features and created the Mack Black Anthem you see today.”

The Mack Black Anthem interior begins with a blacked-out version of Mack’s Ultra interior trim level and adds special black wood accents to the dash and door panels, along with black-painted gauge bezels in the instrument cluster. The industry-first flat-bottomed black leather-wrapped steering wheel features black spokes and gray stitching. The Sears Seating-developed seats are covered in black ultra-leather in a diamond-stitched pattern and also include an embroidered black Mack Bulldog logo on the headrest. The same diamond-stitched ultra-leather is also found on each door panel, as well as the sleeper cab’s side and rear wall trims. A limited-edition Anthem dash plate is included as well.

Each Mack Black Anthem also comes with a YETI cooler packed with commemorative memorabilia, including a custom Mack watch, a diecast Mack Black Anthem, a black Mack Bulldog keychain and more. 

The new limited edition Mack Black Anthem is available for order now.


Two years after the Anthem debuted in North America, the OEM is touting its fuel efficiency through the eyes — and tweets — of two drivers who are chronicling their journies with the tractor. 

Jamie Hagen, owner of Stratford, SD-based Hell Bent Xpress, and Joel Morrow, senior driver and vice president for fleet equipment procurement at Ploger Transportation in Norwalk, OH, are halfway through a year-long test drive of the Anthem. 

Hagen, a bulk hauler who pulls mostly food-grade tankers, and Morrow, who hauls general freight in dry van trailers, have been capturing vehicle performance data over thousands of miles and posting the results to social media using #Mackonomics hashtag. Mack provided Hagen and Morrow the Anthems in exchange for their endorsement and promotion of their fuel efficiency efforts.

“Fuel cost is not only one of our customers’ largest expenses, but also one that can be highly variable,” Walsh said. “That variability is certainly seen in fuel price fluctuations, but how a truck is spec’d and operated also impacts results. #Mackonomics sheds light on the Mack product innovations that make every drop of fuel count, and Jamie and Joel are demonstrating that committed drivers can really help squeeze the most out of a tank without sacrificing productivity.”

Both Mack Anthem models are spec’d with Mack’s HE+ efficiency package that combines the 13-liter Mack MP8HE engine with Mack Energy Recovery Technology, to deliver up to 9.5% improvement in fuel efficiency. Both trucks are also equipped with Mack’s 6x2 Liftable Pusher Axle, which automatically lifts the pusher axle based on trailer weight.

“Mission accomplished, and the #Mackonomics look damn good,” Morrow said. “A personal goal of mine has been to see 10 mpg lifetime average while pulling mostly non-aero trailers. Currently, my 30-day average of pulling 100% non-aero trailers is 10.75 mpg.”

As each Anthem adds up the miles and the MP8HE engines are broken in, fuel efficiency has further improved.

“With 64,000 miles on the Mack Anthem, I’m starting to see daily double digits for economy,” Hagen said. “I have to admit I become more impressed with this truck every day I run it.”

For the remainder of their test drives, Hagen and Morrow will continue to track loads, driving distances, routes, weather and more in evaluating how their Mack Anthem models stack up on fuel efficiency. 

You can follow Hagen (Twitter) and Morrow (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter) are regularly posting updates, videos and other content to show #Mackonomics in action. Content from Hagen and Morrow is also featured on Mack’s social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube).

Anthem and Pinnacle add Bendix Wingman

Bendix Wingman Fusion with enhanced features is now available on Mack’s Anthem and Pinnacle models, the truckmaker also announced at NACV. The camera- and radar-based driving assistance solution helps reduce the potential for accidents, improving highway safety for travelers on the roadway.

Now in its second generation, Bendix Wingman Fusion offers collision mitigation, adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning. The enhanced version improves automatic emergency braking (AEB), lane-keeping support, multi-lane continuation of AEB and driver awareness support.

About the Author

Josh Fisher | Editor-in-Chief

Editor-in-Chief Josh Fisher has been with FleetOwner since 2017, covering everything from modern fleet management to operational efficiency, artificial intelligence, autonomous trucking, regulations, and emerging transportation technology. He is based in Maryland. 

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