I wanted to switch gears this month and share a little bit of the past with the 10-4 family. Maks Wood Products, a lumber sales company founded in Eugene, Oregon, became very noticeable during the 70’s and 80’s throughout the western states. Sure, they had competitive lumber prices, but what really stood out were all of those ultra cool light yellow, green and brown company rigs that hauled all that wood. Their goal was to sell lumber, and the more they could haul per truckload, the more they could sell. So, Maks Wood Products went to great measures to spec their equipment as light as they could without taking anything away from the “cool” factor for that era – aluminum frames and cross-members were a must all the way through the mid 1980’s. Maks’ trucks usually had dual everything, polished wheels from front to rear, and their trademark “M” in lights on the back of their trailers. Maks also had drivers who usually had no problem keeping the “shiny” stuff shiny, while still getting the loads to their destinations right on time – no matter what they weighed out at! Maks Wood Products ran many truck and pull trailer combinations, but they also had a lot of semis (and even a few 40-20 maxi setups). Petes, Freightliners and Kenworths, both cabovers and conventionals, graced this fleet – as long as they looked good and didn’t weigh much, they were welcome. Having such a fine fleet required an exceptional truck shop and, thankfully, Maks had that. From complete engine and drivetrain rebuilds, tire work, body and paint and trailer repairs, Maks managed to handle all of it themselves – they even had the equipment needed to rebuild their own brake shoes! Maks Wood Products decided to sell their trucks in the late 1980’s, but still operates a top-notch lumber sales business to this very day. I want to give special thanks to Jeff Patterson, who appeared in one of our past “Show-On-The-Road” features, for all of his help in rounding up these pictures. Jeff’s first driving job after high school was for Maks Wood Products, and his first truck, one of the Peterbilt conventionals seen here, was purchased from them. Unfortunately, many of the old drivers that made Maks such a great company are now gone, and when they passed, they took their stories with them. I hope you enjoy looking at these old tattered photos as much as I enjoyed getting them all together. Maks’ fleet of cool trucks may be gone, but I hope they won’t ever be forgotten.
Bryan Welsh’s love for trucking, both old and new, probably began while rolling around in his custom lit-up Radio Flyer wagon with chrome wheels when he was a kid. Over the years he has owned, built and driven several trucks and his involvement and pride in the trucking industry has only grown. Bryan, who writes from both “the road” and his home in Junction City, Oregon, has been a regular contributor to 10-4 Magazine since October 2009.