When you are in the market for a used truck, sometimes finding exactly what you are looking for can prove time-consuming and learning the art of patience. For Mark Clark, he found the truck he was looking for, but the owner wasn’t looking to sell the truck, so Mark played the waiting game until the owner finally called and was willing to sell.
Born and raised in the Alamo, GA area with no background in the trucking industry, Mark grew up on a farm in a rural part of Georgia. Bobby Brown, a good friend of Mark’s father, was a diesel mechanic and also had trucks of his own. Mark was friends with Bobby’s kids, so he spent plenty of time playing at their place. As Mark got older, he started working part time for Bobby, and that is where his interest in trucking sparked. He always liked trucks, heavy equipment, and farming, so he figured he would end up doing something in the heavy equipment or trucking industry. Mark went on to say, he really never had an interest in doing anything else.
At age 18, Mark obtained his CDL, which was a requirement by the utilities company he was employed with, in order to drive the line truck. His first real truck driving job happened thanks to Bobby, who gave him a chance behind the wheel of a tractor-trailer combination. Mark purchased his first truck, a cabover, in 1995 to start hauling logs. With being a forestry product, hauling logs doesn’t require you to have your authority or be leased to a company. All you need is your own equipment, a DOT number, the required insurance, and proper tags. On June 16, 2001, he married his wife Kim and, fast forward to 2008, Mark started his company, M. Clark Logging LLC.
The 1989 Peterbilt 379 seen here was a local truck to Mark, which he had his eye on for a while, but when he finally approached the owner, a local farmer, to see if he could buy it, as previously mentioned, the owner was unwilling to sell. Eventually, the owner approached Mark to see if he was still interested. Of course, Mark jumped at the opportunity and didn’t even think to do any haggling on the price. One of the understandings between the two men was that Mark was purchasing the truck to restore it. This transaction took place in November of 2018 with the intention all along for Mark to make this truck into something really nice that was on a whole different level to take to some truck shows.
The truck you see today sports stripes that are a combination of several different stripe patterns. Originally, the solid color truck was burgundy, but with the new paint work performed by Stanley Lafavor of Lafavor’s Body Shop in McRae, GA, it closely resembles the colors of one of the trucks Mark used to have. The truck has a CAT 3406B under the hood which you need to see in person, a 15-Over transmission, 3.55 rears, and a 285-inch wheelbase. Along with the basics, the truck has 8-inch Lincoln Chrome stacks, a bumper from Southern Stamping, a RoadWorks visor, Trux Accessories headlight assemblies, and Hogebuilt half fenders. All of the chrome accessories and custom pieces came from the Great American Chrome Shop in Lake Park, GA.
Between Mark, Stanley Lafavor and Mark’s mechanic Jody Baggett, countless hours were spent getting the truck to where it is today. 2018 was the year Mark took a truck to a truck show (not this one) for the first time, which was the Shine In The Pines Truck Show. Fast forward three years and Mark brought this daycab to showcase for the first time at that same show in 2021. I asked Mark if he had advice for someone looking to restore their own truck and the first thing that came to his mind was patience. He said, “If you are going to be in a rush, don’t do a restoration. If you do this, do it right the first time.”
A question I regularly ask in my interviews is, “What kind of advice would you give someone looking to start their own trucking company?” Mark’s response was simple but straight to the point. He said it is tough and you have to be willing to work very hard. Insurance premiums are very costly, and it is hard to find good quality drivers (he feels very fortunate to currently have some great drivers). Mark also said that these are extremely challenging times to be in the trucking industry, and with fuel costs on the rise, you have to haul good freight, not cheap freight, and be sure to find yourself consistent work.
Today, Mark (47) and his wife Kim have two daughters, Karmin (17) and Kamrin (12). Kim has a full-time job as the tax commissioner for the county they reside in, plus she helps Mark with the bookkeeping for the company. The company runs seven trucks, including two that pull hopper bottoms full time, hauling products such as peanuts and corn. The rest of the trucks are out in the woods hauling logs and occasionally the company does some local heavy hauling. The pictured 379 won’t be seen hauling any logs, but it was specifically set up with the addition of the third axle to haul heavy equipment when the need arises. Mark said he doesn’t anticipate restoring another truck to the extent they went through with this one.
I first saw this truck back in May at the 2021 Shine In The Pines Truck Show in Dublin, GA and the uniqueness of this rig caught my eye. Everyone can agree that the colors on the truck are popular, but the way the colors have been put together is definitely unique and classy. I had the opportunity to speak to Mark briefly at the show where we exchanged phone numbers so I could contact him at a later date. The day I photographed the truck, I was also able to meet Mark’s wife, daughters, and his parents.
Alamo has a small-town charm, but the beauty is found when you get on the highway and head out of town. Locations were plentiful, including Mark’s parent’s land, which had beautiful landscapes, a guest house, and even some nice-looking ponds. We also photographed the truck at Mark’s brother’s house.
Thank you to the Clark family for your time, having the truck ready, and for the privilege of telling your story. Sometimes the waiting game tests our patience, but most times, it pays off in the end. As always, to all the drivers out there doing the deal, truck safe.