Given the vastly different operating conditions and regulations on the West Coast back in the 1940’s and 1950’s, like most of the big truck manufacturers, Mack had a special truck designed and built to meet those conditions, the LT. The basic cab was shared with the smaller and shorter L-Series, which was a hugely successful truck on the eastern half of the country. But the LT has dual rear axles, longer wheelbases, and a bigger and longer hood, along with other unique elements.
The LT was a hit out west, with long haul truckers as well as loggers, thanks to Mack’s legendary ruggedness and durability. Here’s a few shots of these handsome trucks when they roamed the wide open spaces and forests of the West, starting with this one that has a most suitable name on its trailer.
As a frame of reference, here’s an L-series Mack, in a typical configuration with what is likely a 35′ trailer to meet the restrictive overall length limits in most of the states east of the Rockies. Both the L and Lt first arrived in 1940. The LT was built through 1956.
There were numerous variants in the LT line, mainly having to do with light weight aluminum components to maximize payload.
Straight trucks with trailers were a popular configuration out west.
Loggers stall wax eloquently over their LT’s, thanks to their durability. Engines were either Mack’s own diesels or gas, as well as Cummins diesels. In 1953, the new Thermodyne diesel replaced the previous Lenova indirect injection diesels.
Here’s some wonderful snapshots by Joe Wanchera, a trucker and photographer, shot on a long car trip out West.
This one is sporting some serious home-brew modifications, including an apparent turbocharger. What a beast!
Nice, that turbo version pulling the bottom dump trailer looks like a hard working unit, Rigid trucks pulling trailers are very popular here just with more axles 4 on the prime mover and 4 or 5 on the trailer, 4 axles on each unit is what Im driving currently so only 46,500kg max
Perfect timing: I’m watching Violent Road (1958) on TCM, and one of the trucks is identified as a Sterling with a Mack L series cab: https://www.imcdb.org/vehicle_1170496.html
Highly impressive, I had the pleasure to see one in the metal, six years ago. Cummins powered.
Another legend of the Old West. Mack made a cabover counterpart known as the W71.
1950 LJSW originally from Colorado
My first opportunity to drive a tractor-trailer combo was a 50’s Mack L-series. My dad was a tank trucker for an east coast company called Chemical-Leaman in the 70’s.
As a way of picking up extra cash, he used to drive for a local auto wrecker who had an early 50’s Mack L-series with a huge 6 cylinder gas engine and duplex trans that he used to haul junked engines in an old dump trailer.
You can’t imagine what it was like to be a teenager, accompanying your dad at work, and he asks if you’d like to try driving this beast.
The L-series wasn’t built for speed or comfort, but man could it pull some weight, (hitting the scales, I was amazed we were over 60k).
With manual steering and a 22 inch steering wheel, I was immediately schooled on why early truck drivers were usually very bulky in the upper body, especially the shoulders.
My dad and I would reminisce about these “learning sessions” on more than one occasion.
Good looking trucks .
I love those old trucks