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BangShift Approved Mega Project: The Restoration of Evel Knievel’s Massive 1974 Mack Hauler

BangShift Approved Mega Project: The Restoration of Evel Knievel’s Massive 1974 Mack Hauler

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.

Evel Knievel's rig in all of its glory

Evel Knievel's rig in all of its glory

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!

LINK: Evel Knievel 1974 Mack Restoration page

Evel Knievel's original rig

Evel Knievel's original rig

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10 thoughts on “BangShift Approved Mega Project: The Restoration of Evel Knievel’s Massive 1974 Mack Hauler

  1. Knuckahed

    The guy that used to drive Evel’s rig and set up his stunts lives on Acton, CA. John Hood. He has some wild stories about being on the road with the showman’s showman.

  2. Greg

    That thing is rough. They would be better off getting a decent F model Mack and doing a clone. All that rust and rotted wood…there will be nothing left when they get done cutting.

  3. hotrodcharlie

    I actually saw this rig parked in Las Vegas in a back lot in 1990. It looked alot better then, lol. I have some pictures I will scan and add later. Evel was my childhood idol, so you can imagine my surprise when we walked up on that rig.

  4. KJ

    Robb has also had on his show a Smokey And The Bandit truck replica, the real trucks from Movin On and B.J. And The Bear……..pretty good series

  5. Patrick Schacht

    What is in this Mack for an engine? By the looks of one of the interior photos, there must be an automatic transmission in the truck. Is this correct? Be nice to put this truck back together with Mack Air-ride suspension and Mack drivetrain. Looking forward to seeing more updates on this restoration.

  6. ButteDareDargster

    Evel was my greatest childhood idol. He is from my home town Butte Montana and as a child, I remember this trucks well. This makes me sad to see it in bad shape. Evel attended most of our 4th of July parades with his trucks,cars, and cycles. He would often have a smaller truck towing a ramp that he would jump them both in the parade. He would also do wheelies up and down the parade route. Cool memories
    I also have memories of him in the same local taverns our fathers attended,he would give us posters, bronze coins, etc. I have an autographed poster from him durring the shoot of the movie Evel Knievel starring george Hamilton, Cannot wait to see the restoration.

  7. Mike Draper

    I can verify that we had to have permits and also rented trucks to haul the trailer across state lines being over-length. Most all of the states back east had a 55ft. length, we were 61/10in. long. Have a citation from Pennsylvania from it.

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