Some things just happen out of the blue. Back in March of 2019, I attended the Piston Powered Show at the I-X Center in Cleveland, OH. If a piston makes it go, it’s in this show. With a million square feet of space, you can see aircraft, boats, motorcycles, military equipment, custom cars, pickup trucks, vans, farm tractors and even some big rigs. People come from all over to show their vehicles at this event because of the vast amount of space and the number of people there. Such was the case for Wayne Mickley – owner of the two cool cabovers featured here – who I met out of the blue at this event.
Being a truck nut, I tend to head straight to the area that has the semis. The Northeast Ohio Chapter of the ATHS had an area set aside to display some of their member’s vehicles, which included trucks with trailers, bobtails and construction equipment. Members from other chapters of the ATHS (ones in Michigan, Pennsylvania and other parts of Ohio) also brought their equipment. March is still a dicey time regarding the weather in Cleveland, so some members were reluctant to bring out their trucks. But, even with that in mind, the show still had a good turnout.
Walking around and checking out the trucks, I noticed a two-tone blue Freightliner cabover. I ran into my old friend Harvey Stephens, and he saw that I had some interest in this cabover. He told me he knew the guy who owns it, and pretty soon I was getting introduced to Wayne Mickley, who proceeded to tell me all about the truck, how long he has had it and what he has done to it. So, I take a few pictures of it. Later, after the show, I uploaded a picture that I took with my phone on Instagram and I was shocked at how many “likes” it got – it was the most I ever had on a post at the time. Obviously, I was not the only one who liked this neat classic rig.
Little did I know, when I attended the 2018 Piston Powered Show, Wayne was there with another cool older truck he owns – a 1979 Kenworth K100. It was parked next to Tony Hylton’s 1977 A-model (our September 2017 cover feature), so I must have been distracted. Somewhere along the line, while talking this year about the Freightliner, out of the blue he mentions that he owns a blue, white and black 1979 Kenworth cabover with silver accents, as well. I went back and looked at my pictures from 2018, and sure enough, I had taken pictures of the Kenworth. And now, a year later, here are I am meeting the owner. With two cool cabovers, both painted blue, I decided to meet up with Wayne to get more pictures and info for a feature.
Making his home in Plain Grove, PA with his beautiful wife Aliscia of almost 30 years, the couple has three children – Aryana, Amanda and Cole. Wayne (50) is a mechanic by trade and currently works for Eagle Express Lines of South Holland, IL. Servicing U.S. Postal routes at locations across the country, Eagle Express is the largest postal contractor in the U.S. Wayne has been at their terminal in Warrendale, PA for three years, and before that he was a mechanic at Estes Express Lines in West Middlesex, PA for 13 years.
Burning the candle at both ends, Wayne would turn wrenches all day and then, after his shift ended, go trucking in his T600 KW, hauling veneer (3 or 4 loads a week), to make some extra cash for the family and to help pay for his expensive hobbies. Wayne not only likes classic trucks and trailers, but he also enjoys farm equipment. Owning two Oliver farm tractors, which he loves, he brought them to the Piston Powered Show, as well. One of these tractors is powered by a 3208 Cat and the other with a 4-53 Detroit. Wayne not only shows his tractors, but also takes them to local county fairs to compete in the “Farm Stock” class at tractor pulls.
Riding shotgun with his father Howard, in the summertime and after school, fueled his fire to drive trucks. Howard got a 1964 GMC “Crackerbox” in 1970 and drove that same truck up to 2004 when he retired from trucking. Howard stopped by while I was doing the photo shoot of Wayne’s trucks, and was a pleasure to meet. Wayne’s Uncle Robert also drove truck, further adding to Wayne’s trucking addiction. At 17 years old, Wayne started driving with his uncle in an old GMC Astro with a 318 Detroit, hauling steel for South Coast Transport in Mineral Ridge, OH – until he got caught for speeding. Then, he had to lay low for a while.
The two-tone blue and white 1980 Freightliner cabover has a 96-inch bunk, an 8V-92 Detroit rated at 475 hp, 7-inch straight pipes, a 15-speed transmission and 4:11 rears. Wayne has owned this truck for nine years. His second cool cabover is a 1979 Kenworth K100 with a 108-inch bunk, a 400 Cummins, 5-inch straight exhaust, a 13-speed and 3:90 rears. He has owned the KW for even longer than the Freightliner – 15 years! The Kenworth got some fresh new paint for the 2018 show, which made it look even better. The interesting thing is that when Wayne had the Kenworth painted with the “Salem” paint scheme, instead of using gold for the accents, which is normally done, he opted for silver instead, and it turned out great.
Based on these two trucks, you might think that blue is Wayne’s favorite color – but it isn’t. He likes green. I told him that his next project should get green paint, so we will see. Wayne is currently working on a 1985 W900B that he is trying to get running, and hopes to put it to work, pulling an end dump, sometime soon. He also plans to buy his old T600, the one he used to haul that veneer for extra cash, back from a family member. This truck is red, and it is still in very good condition for its age (1987).
Working long and hard is nothing new for Wayne. Between growing up on a farm, working on a dairy, wrenching on trucks and driving them, too, his success did not come from out of the blue – it came from having a great work ethic and a true love of trucks (which just happen to be blue). If you’re in the Cleveland, OH area between March 13-15, 2020, check out the Piston Power Show at the I-X Center. You won’t be disappointed. And, while there, you just might get to meet Wayne Mickley out of the blue, and see his cool cabovers, as well.