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Creative inspiration behind Mack Outlaw series

JULY TRUCK OF THE MONTH: Bushrangers were known to be operating around the Tamworth region in the 1800s and it seems the ‘Outlaws’ are still present today in the form of highly accessorised Mack Super-Liners

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The Outlaw Mack Super-Liner you see here, along with three Macks preceding it and reportedly another six following it, are all the brainchild of John Saint.

John is the dealer principal for JT Fossey Trucks in Tamworth. Anyone familiar with the New England area will no doubt have heard of JT Fossey in some way or another. The company has been a part of the area’s landscape since before automatic transmissions and in-car air conditioning were available on the cars they sold – 1939 and 1940 respectively in case you were wondering.

It was 1937 when the JT Fossey first appeared on the scene in NSW north-western region. They spent the next 85 years servicing the motoring needs of those around Tamworth and Gunnedah while expanding their manufacturers repertoire.

The company began in cars and still has an extensive array of dealerships. Their foray into heavy vehicles came about in 1975 when they began selling the newly arrived Ford Louisville in the NSW area. Three years later they added the UD franchise to the books. In the year 2000 they added the Volvo brand, and in 2008 the Mack Bulldog also joined the fray.


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Among all these additions to the JT Fossey range, a young wool classer named John Saint joined the team. The young man was looking for some more reliable work that would see him home more than he was away and decided to try JT Fossey.

John began as a salesman in 1993, having never sold a thing before. Nearly 30 years later he has progressed from salesman to senior salesman, sales manager and eventually dealer principal. He now sits in the big office at the company’s Tamworth office. John worked from bottom to top and is still in the same office he started 29 years ago and he carries some major responsibilities.

The man behind the Outlaw series: dealer principal for JT Fossey Trucks, John Saint

With that kind of accountability comes the reward of having an employer that trusts his judgement and allows him to indulge a little. In John’s case he indulged in the creation of a limited edition ‘Outlaw Series’ Mack Super-Liner.

“The idea started about three years ago,” John explains. “I wanted to build a Super-Liner that had every possible option that we could fit on a truck.” He needed a platform that offered plenty of flexibility – and the Macks are John’s go to for that. “I wanted to build a truck that was special that no one else had done.”

After the birth of the initial idea, John involved his entire team at the Tamworth yard. The benefits of a small-town company are that’s it’s like a family and everyone chips in.

“We discussed doing a few trucks and tossed around ideas for the series name,” John says. “We had a few other alternatives but everyone agreed the Outlaw name worked best.”

Tamworth’s history is steeped in bushranger tradition, lending itself well to the Outlaw name as well as Mack’s staunch American history. It was a perfect fit.

The idea was to take a top-of-the-line specced Mack Super-Liner and pass it on to some of the best in the business when it comes to customising trucks.

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“We wanted to enhance the truck, enhance the look of it and add some more accessories to brighten it up and make it our own,” John continues.

The original plan was to build five Mack Outlaw Super-Liners. All five would be specced-up the same, with the same luxuries and personalised Outlaw branding. The only difference was they would be different colours. “We decided to start with a red one as we figured that would be the most popular colour,” John says.

A stock standard Super-Liner is already a magic sight on its own, so the idea of taking it next level must be tricky. So where do you begin?

“Ideas came from those involved. I wanted to rely on the people we employed to be part of this whole exercise, to put their own touch on it,” he confesses. “I built the truck, then I just relied on each person to put their individual touch on it so that it would become special in their own right, as well as the truck’s right.”

There are several notable contributors on board for the Outlaw series. One of the most obvious is King Bars who designed a very special tough as FUPS bar for the Super-Liners. The five-post bull bar is designed with larger tubing to give it a very staunch look.

Cardboard flooring isn’t standard but it’s what you have to deal with when you are sneaking photos in before pre-delivery

Bel Air Truck Spraypainting in Brisbane were the next cab of the rank. The team at Bel Air were tasked with painting all the tanks. This idea came about as an alternative to wrapping all the tanks and it allowed the colour theme of each individual Outlaw to rise.

As you can see, Outlaw 4 is a beautiful green. Outlaw 1 was red, then Outlaw 2 was black and Outlaw 3 blue. The next one, Outlaw 5 is going to look amazing in … sorry, it’s top secret.

Big on bling

The factory 58-inch high-rise bunk came off the truck and went to Joe Bradley Fibreglass in Brisbane where it had an interior makeover. Custom shelving was designed to fit around all the added extras in the truck, like the stand-up fridge, microwave, invertor, TV and DVD player.

The two factory seats were sent off to Hunter Valley Seat Specialists where they got the custom Outlaw branding stitched in and were colour matched for each Outlaw.

Each Outlaw truck has custom colour matching seats with Outlaw branding and bulldog stitching

Haultech Engineering fitted their top-of-the-line Icepack system and, with the exception of Outlaw 1, the trucks also spent time getting pumping gear fitted at Mr Wong Hydraulics in Brisbane.

The final stages of the build were all about the aesthetics and the Outlaw branding. To do that, step number one was Ryan Northcott at Bling HQ in Brisbane. Ryan had previously worked on a few trucks for John and was honoured to be a part of the Outlaw series.

“It was about making it special and John was open to anything I had in mind to make it special,” Ryan enthuses, while explaining the challenges he faced.

“I had to think of things I hadn’t done on standard Super-Liners or Tridents. The biggest thing for me was to look for the dead space you never work in, to do something in an area you don’t normally do something in.”

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One of the best examples of this is the full custom bunk trim, across the entire rear end of the sleeper with the Outlaw name cut in and illuminated.

The use of the Outlaw name was something Ryan had to accommodate into his work without going over the top. As well as on the bunk trim, Ryan incorporated the title into the specially designed custom facia plates behind the steer tyres. I feel for Ryan though, he now gets a lot of requests for some of the custom parts he designed for the Outlaw Macks.

“You can’t afford to turn down work, but the thing is the Outlaw brand only appears on the Outlaw trucks.” For example, he may do more facia plates, but the Outlaw name appears only on John’s Outlaw Macks.

After nearly 400 hours of work in the Bling HQ shed the truck was sent down to Showman Signs where ‘Showie’ sets about adding the final touches. With the exception of the painted tanks from Bel Air, the rest of the colour comes from Showie and his team. All the lines and scroll work is done by hand, with all four trucks carrying the same style and top-class finish.

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All up, the whole process is about a three-month project, from the moment it rolls out of the Wacol factory until the day it’s parked in the Tamworth yard ready for John to sell.

“The first one we did was done very much behind the scenes, “John says. “We built the truck and had it all worked on without telling anyone. It only got announced when we were ready to sell it.”

Outlaw 1, the red Outlaw Mack, barely had time to let the engine cool down in JT Fossey’s front yard before it was spotted and snapped up. The reception to and the interest in the Outlaw-themed custom trucks was exceptional. Not just locally mind you, in fact by the time Outlaw 2, the Black Outlaw, was ready it had been snapped up and headed all the way over to the other side of the country. It is now hauling a low loader in and out of Western Australia.

Another Tamworth local procured Outlaw 3, the Blue Outlaw. I don’t even think it made it to JT Fossey’s front yard before it was sold. Outlaw 4, the beautiful green one you see before you, was sold before pre-delivery.

The popularity and quality of the Outlaw-themed trucks is ensuring they get snapped up quicker and quicker with each one. In fact, Outlaw 5 was sold before it has even made it off the production line. Can’t wait to see that one and its secret colour.

MJR Haulage of Yallaroi took possession of Outlaw 4 and put it straight to work

“Originally we had planned for five Outlaws,” John says. But he now confesses they have the colour schemes set up for 10. The feedback he has received from Mack as well has been extremely supportive and, like John himself, they are extremely proud of the trucks when they hit the road.

“I get a real thrill out of seeing them completed and on the road,” John says. “It’s been amazing.”

John’s vision for these trucks was to let everyone involved get creative and put their best foot forward and they all nailed it. From the impressive bar on the front to the remarkable shine and finish of Bling HQ, from the outstanding lines and scrolls to the high-end custom interior. These state-of-the-art trucks look a million dollars.

John’s vision for a custom series of Super-Liners is spot on– well done!

For more on the Outlaw Mack Series, see OwnerDriver magazine’s July 2022 edition.

 

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