For many people growing up with a family business, one of the greatest feelings is when the next generation carries on the family business and their legacy. For Tami Stanton-Gallagher, the family business may not still be around, but the legacy in the trucking industry continues. Tami’s dad, Bill Gallagher, owned and operated George Transfer in Parkton, Maryland. George Transfer was a flatbed and side kit, covered wagon, company that serviced the lower 48 states, had 40 terminals in 24 states, and over 400 drivers. George Transfer had contracts with some well-known companies such as Alcoa Aluminum and Bethlehem Steel, and was bought out by Malone Freight Lines in 1996.
After graduating high-school and going off to business school, Tami had intentions of getting into the medical field, but she never was able to get too far from the family business. Bill wasn’t only her dad, but also her mentor – he taught her everything he knew about the trucking industry, teaching her not only how the customers of the company should be treated, but the drivers, as well. Bill believed that the drivers should be treated with respect and lived by the motto, “Make the driver happy, and the driver will make your customers happy.” To this day, Tami still lives by those sage words.
Currently living with her husband of 12 years Dave Mitchell and her two daughters, Lily and Alyssa, Tami has been an agent for West Motor Freight for the past 8 years, operating Starry Night Transport, doing flatbed, stepdeck and oversized work with a fleet of 12 owner operators working for her, including Dave himself. Dave and Tami are a normal sight at the local truck show scene in the northeast, going to many different antique truck shows, as well as Make-A-Wish events. This is where I met them many years ago, and they have since become family to me. This is where my role in this story begins.
In July 2016, Dave and Tami traveled to New Jersey to purchase the 1961 Mack B42 that you see here from a friend of ours, John Walsh. The truck, which came from Wiegers Inc. out of Clifton, New Jersey, was used to move moving van trailers around. Sometime in the early 70s, the factory drivetrain in the B42 blew up, so they took the factory gas engine out of the truck and replaced it with a 185 V8 Cummins, hooked to a 5-speed New Process transmission and a two-speed Eaton rear end, which had been taken out of a rolled over Ford box truck. So, to the Mack purists, this truck is a Mutt. However, Dave and Tami bought the truck from John to build a show piece in honor of Tami’s dad and his company, George Transfer.
Over the course of the next two years, Dave slowly worked on various parts of the truck, attempting to do a driveway restoration, but due to the time involved in being an owner operator, plus helping out with the 11 other owner operators working for Tami, time was always on the short side. Then, in 2018, after I finished the build of my 1980 Kenworth W900A show truck, which was featured in the January 2019 edition of 10-4 Magazine, Dave and Tami approached me to finish the restoration for them. Little did I know at the time that this “little” project, that started out as basic cleanup restoration with a small budget, would turn into a complete frame-off, ground-up, every nut and bolt touched, complete restoration of the truck, which now graces these pages.
After agreeing to do the build, the B-model Mack was dropped off at the shop I have at Mark T Boyle Welding & Sandblasting, located in Tamaqua, Pennsylvania, in October 2018. Being that this was the very first B-model (and Mack for that matter) I had ever worked on to this level, it was quite a learning experience. The truck was taken fully apart, and then the frame was completely sandblasted. The original cab and doors were in such bad shape that they were beyond being saved. Thanks to the help of a friend, Paul Stanchio, he was able to find a nearly perfect, never mounted, cab and doors that were purchased from Kevin All for the project.
After the chassis was fully blasted, the rear end was torn apart to clean out decades worth of sludge from the inside of the housing, which was then resealed with new gaskets, seals, and bearings. The transmission was also opened up and checked, cleaned, and fitted with new seals and gaskets. The motor was stripped down fully, resealed, and new rods and main bearings were installed. Finding the engine parts for a motor that old was no easy task, but Andy at Engines Inc. in Northampton, PA was up for the challenge.
Parts were another issue that came up multiple times during this project. The engine vibration dampener, which is no longer made, had to be sent out to get fully rebuilt and restored. Thanks to Google, I was able to find a gentleman who specialized in restoring vibration dampeners (who even knew that was a thing)! Other hard-to-find parts were the kingpins for the front axle. For whatever reason, no one could find the correct ones, or the brass sleeve bushings, but thanks to one of the most well-respected people in the Mack field, Herb Maney, he was able to track down not only the kingpins and bushings, but also the brake spring kits for the front axle and the brake mounting hardware, which was like finding a needle in a haystack.
After months of hard work on the undercarriage and drivetrain, the chassis was finally finished and sprayed in gloss black, along with the fully painted and detailed engine. That’s when the fun started. The body work on the fenders, hood panels, and cab seemed to take forever. The fenders, which were original to the truck, were in poor condition, and it took a lot of pounding and filler to get them as straight as possible, for what they were. Finally, after a couple months of work, the body panels were ready for color – a beautiful Nissan Daytona Blue Pearl, which is actually the same color as Tami’s car. The interior of the cab was also painted a really nice gunmetal gray, instead of the factory Mack green.
Once the paint cured, the truck was wet sanded, buffed, and polished to a beautiful shine. Stan Stanek of Ironton Autobody was called to use two heavy wreckers to lift the cab up perfectly and set it back down on the chassis without damaging the fresh paint. Putting the cab back together was a labor-intensive process because there was no wiring or plumbing in the entire cab. Completely from scratch, a wiring harness and fuse panel were made, along with all new air lines, coolant lines and all the other plumbing. The entire interior was then covered with two layers of HushMat insulation, and then finished off with a complete interior kit from Quiet Ride Solutions in California. This was the first kit they ever made for a B-model Mack, and it turned out great.
Buttoning up the interior were a set of air-ride Mack seats, out of a Mack MR trash truck, with low mount bases, blue LED lights in the gauges and dome lights, blue powder coated dash panels, and other accent trim pieces. The exterior of the truck was also finished up with a custom-bent aluminum front bumper on modified factory mounts, a chrome grill surround, all LED bulbs inside all the exterior lights, custom powder coated aluminum deck plate, dual 4” Dynaflex stacks with rain caps mounted to a custom exhaust rack, stainless Mack 1/4 fenders, and color-matched painted tail light housings. The front and rear hubs were also painted to match, along with white powder coated rims, and new Mack mud flaps, front and rear.
Once the restoration was done, a phone call was made to Lettering By Peach, who came out and laid down some beautiful hand pinstriped additions to the truck. The name “Billy” (which is the truck’s name in honor of Tami’s dad Bill Gallagher) was put on the rear air tank, as well as the glove box door on the dash. The air cleaner features three stars to represent Tami and her two daughters, along with her nickname “Sunshine” on the driver’s door, along with a few other touches throughout the truck.
In January 2020, Dave and Tami arrived at my shop to pick it up. What was the most fun about this project was, until the truck was completed, Tami never saw it in person except for the week after the blue was painted, so the unveiling was an emotional moment.
This project pushed me on several different levels, as it was a brand of truck I had never worked on before with parts that were not very easy to find. From the tear down, body work, plumbing, wiring, painting, assembly, and every single hand-polished stainless bolt that was used, there is no part of this truck that I didn’t touch. I want to take a moment to say thank you to a few people who, without their knowledge and expertise in the Mack world, I wouldn’t have got this truck done for Tami. Thank you to Matt Pfahl, Mickey Delia, Herb Maney, The King Of Chrome, JPC Fabrication, and Smulligan Glass. Also, big thanks to my friend Colin Kund for providing these fantastic pictures of the Mack.
Little did we know in January, that most of the events we had planned to show the truck would be canceled, due to everything happening in 2020. But, finally, on October 2-3, 2020, at the Gerhart Machinery Company for the annual Mack Days 2020 in Central PA, the truck was unveiled to the public for the first time since being completed. So, after almost two years and thousands of hours of work (and a bit over the original budget), the fully restored 1961 Mack B42 was completed and out there for everyone to see and enjoy.
The highlight of the show was when a former driver of George Transfer saw the truck and then talked to Tami for an hour, reminiscing about her dad and the company. If you see “Billy” at a show in 2021 and see a smiling redhead nearby, don’t be shy – stop and say hello. Like the Mack itself and the legacy it represents, Tami might be small in size, but she’s got a giant heart.