eBay Finds – 1956 Mack B61T

So you want to get into the towing business but you want to do it with a classic rig, none of these fancy triaxle rotators for you. You want old school. You want a Monorail Wrecker. Have you been saving your change? A 1956 Mack B61T is making the rounds on eBay right now with a low starting price of just 20,000 dollars. At first glance that might seem like a cool wad of cash to part with but from what I can see there is a lot of truck here for the money. On the surface you are bidding on a well maintained and perfectly capable Mack B-Model. Reading the well documented history of this truck from the eBay listing you soon learn that this truck is a rolling and working piece of towing history. It served in 1973 during the great fog accident that took place on the NJ Turnpike that involved over 113 trucks while tragically claiming the lives of three State Troopers. It also hauled a destroyed FDNY ladder truck to the 9-11 museum. This Mack has been in numerous truck shows and has the trophies to back up its pedigree of style.

B-Model Mack

The list of modifications, repairs and upgrades to this truck are lengthy and well documented. Check out the official link by clicking here. Bidding closes Monday the 21st at 2:45PM EST.

For posterity’s sake I have copied the sellers original description. It is too detailed and telling of the truck to be lost to history once the sale concludes.

This truck began life in Houston Texas… Sold New at Mack Trucks Washington Ave. Houston Texas….  In April of 1956 to The Houston Lumber & Hardware Co…. It was a special ordered B61T as a Long Wheelbase Single Axle Tractor.. It was then outfitted with a Rolling Tailboard (which is still the original one still on the truck) a Tulsa Wide Spool Drag Winch and a Gin Pole Boom and Fifth Wheel…  It was originally powered By a END673 Thermodyne with a Woodward (Woody) Hydraulic Govenor Injection Pump and a 10 Speed Duplex…  Other special ordered options were: Dual Fuel Tanks (Since replaced with specially built larger Polished Aluminum Tanks..  Split Bench Seat.. Cigar Lighter, Air Horns (yes an Option then), Bendix Front Brake Multi Position Limiter,  and a Larger Bone Colored Steering Wheel (These are a Rare Mack Optional Steering Wheel)… No it has No Power Steering It has ” Arm Strong Power Steering ” Yep the driver….. Tires are All 90 % or better and are All Virgin 1100 22.5 Matched Radials….  The 10 Speed Duplex was replaced by the original owners with a Mack 5 Speed Main Trans with a Spicer Brownlipe (Brownie) Behind it… Also Known as a 3 Way Brownie… 15 Speed… Around Feb. of 1961 the truck was pulling it’s trailer on the NJ Turnpike when the Aux Trans failed, We were called to tow it in, and while at our shop, we were asked to replace the aux. trans with a used one so it could be driven home… We did as we were asked, the owners mentioned they were trading it in when they got home for a New Mack B61… My Dad and Uncle made arrangements to buy the truck,  my uncle flew to Houston, Texas and drove it home…. Once home we installed a Brand New Spicer Brownlipe Overdrive 3 Speed Aux. Trans, we removed the 5th. Wheel, fabricated a floor and built the Round Arch Booms…. The Booms were Cold Rolled in Brooklyn, NY so as to not weaken the Steel… We replaced Tulsa Winch with a New Larger One and the Truck has been in continued daily service from October of 1961 up until 2 years ago when the Business was sold…. The original 160 HP Thermodyne was removed in the Mid 80’s and Replaced with a Completely Rebuilt ENDT676 Turbo 300 HP Maxidyne Engine…..  Which Currently still Inhabits the Engine Compartment…  Other Up Grades Include: Heated Mirrors… Air Dryer… Alcohol Injection bottle which keeps all the Air Lines from ever Freezing…  Late Model Rear End (Installed Brand New in 1983) with New Double Reduction 4:63 Ratio Rear End… 75 + MPH… Series 30 Maxi Brakes… All Spin Type Oil Filters… It has a Thermostate in the Engine  and an Adjustable Shutter Stat Valve that opens the Shutters 5 degrees before the Thermostate Opens…  The PTO That Drives the Winch is a Dual Shaft System… One Shaft off the Main Trans Drives a Counter Shaft that Drives the Winch, giving it strength and Reliability… The Winch is Run off the Main Trans giving it 5 Reductions (speeds) in Either Direction… Power Tower… There are (2) Drive Shafts in the Truck… One Shaft Between the Main & Aux. Trans… and a second Shaft between the Aux and Rear End….. The Aux. Trans Sits Under the Winch, Making the Drive Line  Very Stout and Bulletproof and Vibration free…. Frame is a Double Rail Frame that has also been Fish Plated from the Front Axle Rear Spring Hangers back to the End Making it incredibly Strong the Frame is Clean and has No Spreading at all… Chrome Includes: Front Bumper & Radiator Protector.. Air Filter.. Rad Cowl.. Air Filter.. Battery Boxes.. Cab Vent Door.. Headlight Panels.. Front Fender Tops.. Front Wheel Clamps and Nuts… Luberfiner.. Inside Door Hinge Covers.. Defroster Ducts.. Holmes Hand Rails on Body.. Front Hub Caps.. Polished Aluminum Fuel Tanks.. Dual Exhaust.. and losts of Polished Aluminum Diamond Plate… Cab has a Fiberglass Sun Visor over Windshield also.. The Headliner is in Like New Condition… as is the Mack Full Insulated Rubber Floor Matt… Seats are in great rip free condition as well… Interior Firewall is carpeted in Black and so is the Cab Back.. Heat works good.. Wipers work as the should as do all the Lights… It has a Motorola 2 Way High Band FM Radio with Outdoor PA Speaker that will go with the Truck…  

 

This Truck has been Featured in countless Towing Publications…  The American Towman and Tow Times to  name a few.. It has appeared in Magazines in other Countries as well… It was at One of the First American Towman Expo’s held in Baltimore back in the 80’s… It has Won Every Show it was entered in at the US Diesel Nationals in Englishtown, NJ in the Show Class and Racing Class… It has Won Awards in NY, DE, NJ, MA, PA and MD Tow Shows over the past 40 years… It was also at the Florida Tow Show in Orlando Disney World back in 2005… This Truck has worked many Historic Recoveries… Namely the Great Fog Accident on the NJ Turnpike in 1973 which involved 113 Trucks and over a Dozen cars…. It Lifted and Towed the Bus and Dump Truck that Killed 3 NJ State Troopers and Now have Bridges named after them in There Honor…. It Participated in the Ground Zero Rescue 911 Effort… For Anyone ever at the 911 Museum This Truck Winched and Moved the Hook and Ladder Fire Engine that is displayed there… 

 

MonoRail Home Built Wreckers were the Industry Standard in the Day…. Not many towers could afford or wanted to afford a Factory Built Wrecker… These Trucks are such a Big Part of Our History and Evolution of the Towing Industry.. This truck has Towed and Up Righted more Trucks Than Most could Ever Hope To…  How Many Wreckers do you know that has worked in a Daily  High Volume Towing & Recovery Operation for over 50 Years and still be in shape for Perhaps another 50?   This truck will Lift and Tow Loaded Packers, Dumpers and Rolloffs All Day Long… The truck comes totally ready and equippted…  Holmes Scoth Blocks.. Snatch Blocks… Aluminum Angle Irons.. Aluminum Flat Plate for Chrome Bumpers.. 300 Feet of  3/4 Wire Rope cable with a Crosby Hook (4 Years Old)… Service Air Lines.. Trailer Air Lines.. Tow Lights.. Holmes 5/8 Grade 80 Recovery Tow Chains.. Chain Binders.. Air Hoses, Air Fittings.. Pry Bars.. Wood… Has a Full Set of Snow Chains & Binders that Hang from Brackets inside of Body.. Assorted chain and Tools.. The Tow Bar is an Ortiz Super Heavy Duty Tow Bar that works Great and in my opinion does a better job of Not leaving chain dings on the bottom of bumpers…  

 

I was Planning on Removing the Boom and Making it a Goose Neck Trailer Tooter in it’s Retirement…. But I almost hate to break it up…. I think this truck is a Major Part of Our Towing Industry and how Wreckers have Evolved… It is a Fantastic Show and Go Truck… It is Still Very Usable… I used it for Rear Towing Tractor Swaps, Rolloffs with Steel Bumpers, Car Carriers, Switchers and of course on Winch Outs, Rollovers and etc… I am offering…… I have Tons of Documentation for the truck… I have the Original Line Setting and Letters From Mack Trucks inviting me to Display it in the Mack Museum in PA….  Thanks  for Looking I will answer all Questions…Drive this Truck absolutely Anywhere in Complete Confidence….  The Truck Runs and Drives Great… It Has Great Brakes and If you Drive in a Manor Consistent with Towing a Loaded Rolloff,  it Stops Just Fine…  The Truck has Been Meticulously Maintained, It still has the original  Kin Pins in it, as it has been Religiously Serviced and Greased…  Good Luck Bidding…. 

 

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2 Responses to eBay Finds – 1956 Mack B61T

  1. Randy Purtteman says:

    Does anyone know if this unit sold?

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