It’s no big surprise where New Zealand’s first two Mack Anthems – the very latest breed of Bulldog – have found their homes.
That is….within the HW Richardson Group. It is, after all, a fleet that’s been running Macks for almost half a century…and which currently boasts around 240 examples of the make.
The pair of early production models, fresh from a quick (COVID-curtailed) roadshow tour, have now gone to work – one in Southern Transport colours, working around Southland….
And a Tauranga-based twin sister – our Giti Big Test truck this month, in bold Allied Bulk blue and red.
The new-age Anthem was introduced in North America in 2018 and has since been engineered by Mack Trucks in Queensland for right-hand-drive and Down Under road conditions – and was duly launched in Australia earlier this year.
The HWR duo went on the road here in July – as the star attractions of the Mack Evolution promo tour….designed to give Kiwi operators their first opportunity to see the newly-styled Mack in the flesh.
It’s another lockdown truck launch. The Mack Anthem was revealed in North America back in September 2017, but we haven’t seen this new breed of an old bulldog until now.
All I have had to go by is some photos on social media and comments from my Australian journalist friends who had the chance to test the truck in America back in 2018.
COVID made the Brisbane Truck Show too risky to attend – for the threat of being locked out of my own country – and then a Delta lockdown shortened the New Zealand roadshow. That means this is my first in-person contact with the new Anthem.
There’s a fairly big visual change with this truck launch and while some like the look of the new breed, it’s fair to say some don’t. But just like I have experienced in the past, as more units hit the road, they will start to blend into the NZ trucking scene and become accepted.
We catch up with regular driver Haua in Tauranga for a run over to Rotorua and back to Te Puke. That’s where I get my turn to drive – after the truck has been loaded at the Poplar Lane quarry with 12 tonnes of mix fines in the truck and 19t of concrete aggregate in the trailer, giving an all-up weight of 49t.