Evel Knievel was one of the most well known human beings on Earth during the 1970s. His insane jumps and feats of daring endeared him to fans of all ages and in virtually every corner of the globe. Like all performers, he and his stuff had to get from place to place and since Evel had a little bit of an ego, his rig had to be special. As the story goes, Evel had Kenworth trucks until he and Kenworth had a falling out and he knocked on Mack’s door. Mack, seeing the PR opportunity of all time welcomed Knievel with open arms and told ol’ Evel they could do whatever he wanted.
As it turns out, he wanted one of the wildest big rigs ever built. The 1974 FS786LST truck was like none other build before or since. The wheelbase was stretched what looks to be double, plus some over a normal tractor and on top of that was an office/lounge/living quarters for Evel. Behind the huge tractor was the trailer that held all of his bikes and the equipment necessary to build the ramps that would launch he and his excessively heavy Harley-Davidson jump bikes into the wild blue yonder. There are stories that Knievel had to get special permits to run the truck through some states because of its length, but we cannot verify the truth of those.
We’re telling you all of this because there is an effort to restore this truck, now that it has been discovered and brought to light by Robb Mariani of SPEED Channel’s American Trucker fame. Mariani was captivated by this truck as a kid and came up with the idea of tracking the truck down for an episode of his show. He worked the phones and his connections and that led him to Florida and to the door of a guy named Jeff Lowe who is the manager for Robbie Knievel and who is also the owner of the rig.
One thing has led to another and Robb is spearheading an effort to have the truck restored to its former glory for the public to enjoy. When you hit the link below to see the site that is promoting and following the resto, watch the five minute clip from the American Trucker episode about the truck. It shows Mariani inside the camper/living quarters and he actually finds a set of Evel’s old leathers hanging in a closet and Lowe claims that they have been there since the truck was parked in the mid-1970s. He is as flabbergasted as we would be when touching such an iconic piece of Americana.
As you might suspect, the truck is in tough shape currently, but a truck restoration shop called Brad’s Classic Trucks has the big Mack now and is beginning what will most likely be a long process to breathe life back into the old girl! This is an awesome project and we’re sure pulling for them to get this truck done and on the show circuit!