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Vintage Brass Mack Truck Bulldog Hood Ornament
The hood ornament is a quintessential symbol of American Trucking with a history that dates back to the first Mack Truck bulldog hood ornament, crafted in 1932. Over the past nearly 90 years, it has become a symbol of great cultural significance and America’s industry. The coveted gold bulldog hood ornament signifies that the Mack truck it adorns is USA made, original Mack engine, Maxi-Torque Transmission, and rear axles. (The Chrome version of the hood ornament indicates that at least some of the truck’s parts are internationally-made.) Over the years the mascot has evolved- In 1979, Mack trimmed the ears and tail to provide a smoother surface to avoid accidents when opening the hood. (Artist stylized, sandblasted, chrome removed, Black Mack: silhouette from before 1979, Gold Mack silhouette after 1979).
For over 100 years, the Mack Truck name has been synonymous with formidable and enduring power and quality, known as a leading force in the production of heavy-duty vehicles in the Western World. Mack Trucks have their origins in the purchase of a carriage manufacturer by Jack and Gus Mack in 1893. After a period of experimentation with engine-powered carriages, the brothers opened the Mack Brothers Co. in Brooklyn, NY in 1900, with the vision to make the “most durable and powerful heavy-duty trucks and engines in the world.” In 1900, they successfully produced their first motorized vehicle, a 40-horsepower, 20-passenger bus, named “Old No. 9”, built for sightseeing tours in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. It was the first bus in history and drove for some 750,000 miles in its 23 years of operation. The success of “Old No. 9” launched the “Mack Brothers Co.” onto the transportation innovation scene, catalyzing over a century of unparalleled truck development and pioneering leadership in the industry.
Mack Engines were introduced with their second vehicle, establishing the Mack Trucks tradition of “balanced design” that eventually maximized performance via the integration of the powertrain and vehicle design. In 1905, the headquarters was moved to meet their expanding needs to Allentown, PA, where it remained until 2010.
Over the decades, Mack Trucks has produced a huge range of vehicles from a variety of buses and fire apparatuses (including fire trucks) to rail cars, locomotives and, of course, heavy-duty trucks, providing necessary transportation to many of the nation’s industries. Locally, they were an indispensable resource for Bethlehem Steel, providing fire engines and heavy-duty transport for their daily operations. On the national and international level, they were an essential facet of the war effort during both world wars, providing over 4,500 trucks during WWI, over 35,000 heavy-duty vehicles to allied military forces in WWII, and necessary domestic transport for wartime supplies. It was during the first world war, that the new AC model Mack trucks earned the company its reputation for reliability and durability that persists to this day and resulted in the “Bulldog Mack” nickname that is the basis for their iconic company symbol and hood ornament. The company experienced unrelenting growth and success through the end of the 1970’s, due to their continuous commitment to pioneering design, innovative engineering, and Jack Mack’s founding goal to produce strong, reliable and durable vehicles fit to customer needs and specifications. Despite a period of challenge and loss in the 80’s and early 90’s, the company has experienced consistent growth since the mid-90’s, reclaiming its legacy as a pioneer and leader of the trucking industry.