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Antique, celebrity and special-duty Macks in a city eyeing the future

When reporters were at Mack Trucks' Allentown, PA customer facility recently, what the Mack folks didn't say was that they were going to slip in some of the really neat stuff: historic trucks, patriotic trucks and one with a very bad attitude.

It's especially significant in Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley, which hosted a painful chapter in American industrial history not long ago about 10 mi. east of Allentown. Mack's story is an important part of American industry that's become ingrained in the culture; even if they don't know much about the brand, anyone can tell you a Mack is a big, tough, American truck.

Mack has been a presence in Allentown since several years into the 20th century, and remains there now as the city is undergoing a major redevelopment and reinvestment particularly in the downtown and riverfront areas. About 10 mi. in the other direction to the southwest in Macungie, PA, you'll find Mack trucks rolling off the assembly line. The company announced a $70 million, three-year investment plan earlier this year that will include a 75,000 sq. ft. plant expansion.

"Mack has a very rich heritage. We were born ready in Brooklyn, NY in 1900, and we moved here to the Allentown area in 1905," says John Walsh, vice president of global marketing for Mack Trucks. "Over the course of our 116-year history, we've worked hard to earn a reputation for durability, for reliability and for power.

"In that process, 'built like a Mack truck' and 'hit by a Mack truck' have become part of the American lexicon," he adds.

So here's a look at some of the company's historic trucks and a few much more recent specialty trucks. If you were at the Pennsylvania 400 Aug. 1 at the Pocono Raceway, you'd have seen one player in this slideshow, "Jack," shown in the Mack photo on the right. Jack is a souped-up, custom-built Granite mega crew cab tuned to 800 hp and wearing patriotic graphics accented by industrial-looking black trim. The truck hearkens to John M. "Jack" Mack, one of the company's co-founders, and led ceremonial laps at the race.

And about that Mack with a bad attitude (see slideshow)... you might recognize it in this clip below:



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