Truck of the Month

February 2019
Dan Millar's 1985 Mack RW613 Superliner
Dan Millar's 1985 Mack Superliner
WRITTEN BY:
  • Mark Harter
PHOTOS COURTESY OF:
  • Dan Millar

This month we head west to the "Jet City" of Seattle, Washington, home of the Boeing Co., builder of some of the biggest and most famous airliners in the world. For Seattle based trucker Dan Millar, a retired Alaska Airlines 737 Captain, he now pilots a different kind of "Liner", a Mack Superliner!

A pilot most of his life, Dan learned to fly in the U.S. Navy on T-34s, although never flew in the fleet, instead staying involved with the training squadron. After moving on from the Navy, Dan flew corporate jets for GTE (now Verizon) and in 1991, hired on with Alaska Airlines as a flight engineer for the 3rd seat on the Boeing 727, eventually upgrading to co-pilot on that model. But as the 727 was a noisy airliner and due to their high fuel consumption, these classic airliners were phased out of the Alaska fleet and Dan moved on to the 737, flying right seat on that airplane, eventually becoming a Captain on the 737 for the last 7 years of his career until retirement when he turned 60 years old.

Dan Millar's 1985 Mack Superliner
Dan Millar's 1985 Mack Superliner

As with many of us in the trucking industry though, we found a love of big trucks at an early age and for Dan, it's been in his blood his entire life, telling us a funny story as a kid, "When I was 5 years old, my grandparents gave me a tractor-trailer logging truck for Christmas, but I was furious that neither the tractor nor the trailer had tandem axles!" and as Dan continued, "Needless to say, my grandparents had no idea at all what I was angry about!"

Dan attributes much of his love for trucks and heavy machinery to his father, who both encouraged and entrusted Dan to handle tractors and other heavy equipment on their farm growing up. But when Dan turned 19, he got his dream job, driving a Mack B-Model tractor-trailer dump truck for an operator in the New Jersey area. "I was only 19, and wasn't allowed to leave the state behind the wheel of a truck due to the laws, but the owner trusted me enough to do so, and I am forever grateful to him for that opportunity" Dan told us.

While a pilot most of his life, Dan was still in love with trucks and decided to go trucking for a while, although on his terms, telling us "I knew after retirement from flying that I could not be an employee as I wanted to do so many other things, nor did I want to be chained to full-time trucking either. So that meant that I had to become an owner-operator."

Dan Millar' 1985 Mack Superliner

Since Dan was from the "Old School", he wanted to work an older truck and his first love and thought was finding and putting a classic Mack H-Model to work, which he considers the most beautiful truck ever built. But climbing in and out of an old cabover at his age, he decided against that. Dan thought about a new truck, but couldn't get excited about them. "I feel that the newer trucks are all cookie cutters, they all look so similar that their character has been completely lost, though it must be said that they have all achieved aerodynamic efficiency."

Enter the Mack Superliner.

While shopping around for an older truck to put to work, a Big Black Bulldog Mack caught Dan's attention. "When I saw the Superliner, its esthetics immediately appealed to me. It was bold, commanding and had a classic look and thought it was really beautiful."

And Dan's 1985 Mack RW613 Superliner is just that, a classic truck working in a world of cookie cutters nowadays. Powered by a Mack E6 Econodyne rated at 350 HP and mated to a 9-Speed Mack Transmission, Dan's big Superliner will comfortably cruise down the highway at 70 MPH turning 1700 RPM in 9th gear.

The Superliner has a factory installed 36" Able Body sleeper and is equipped with an Espar diesel powered heater. Dan loves his old Mack and two years ago had the entire cab and sleeper upholstery redone as well as installing a Kenwood CD player to enjoy his tunes, everything from Bach to the Grateful Dead, while cruising down the highway.

Dan Millar's 1985 Mack Superliner
Dan Millar's 1985 Mack Superliner

Operating mostly in the Northwest and within a 400 mile radius of Seattle, Dan's Superliner pulls a 53' dry van and hauls a wide variety of commodities. Everything from bed mattresses, nursery plants, beer and wine, glass bottles and much more. Recently Dan said that "I have been hauling concert lighting and sound equipment to venues all over the northwest."

Outside of trucking, Dan plays a lot of racquetball and has been a student of the piano the last 6 years, even rigging up a system in the sleeper of the Mack so he could take his keyboard along and practice and play while on long layovers.

Dan has been to the island of Cuba several times during the past decade and has a love of cigars and everything Cuban, telling us that his company name is based on this. "When I started my business I thought hard about a name and logo. It so happened that I love all things Cuban, and the Cuban people, having visited the island nation three times in the last ten years. I decided to name my company after a friendly Cuban revolutionary, Camilo Cienfuegos, who died in an airplane crash soon after the revolution in 1959."

Dan then asked an artist in the Seattle area to work on designs for the logo, telling us "She came up with a nice rendering, the name of the company surrounding a Cuban tobacco farm."

Now at 71, Dan feels he has enjoyed his time trucking and is considering selling his big, beautiful Mack Superliner and concentrating on other hobbies and interests at this point in his life. While Dan may stop trucking, it will always be in his blood and no matter what, he will always be a trucker at heart!

EDITOR'S NOTE:
  • Special thanks to Dan for sharing his story and his Mack Superliner with us!
  • Do you own a unique rig? Get your truck featured here on our website and show-it-off to the world! Click Here to contact us and tell us about your truck!

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