“My next truck will definitely be a Mack.”
Have you ever wondered how all the fresh vegetables in your supermarket or greengrocer got there? Dallas Fabian explains all, and why Mack is the truck he uses.
Up in the hills behind New South Wales’s Central Coast you’ll find Fabian Farm. Nestled on a plateau in Mangrove Mountain, Fabian Farm specialises in growing and delivering seedlings for commercial growers.
“We grow seedlings for vegetables and flowers, mainly to order,” says Dallas Fabian, “and we deliver them within a radias of a few hundred kilometres, five days a week. We only grow for the farmers and we deliver direct to the farm.”
Stability is paramount
Unlike many other cargoes where speed is of the essence, with seedlings it’s all about the stability of the ride.
“A seedling tray doesn’t have great balance,” says Dallas, “so you need to take it fairly easy. Airbag suspension is probably the best thing that’s ever happened for us, because if you cart them in a truck on springs, by the time you arrive the load’s all over the place.”
Delicate but valuable
It’s not surprising that seedlings are delicate and require careful handling, but they’re a surprisingly high-value cargo.
“There are almost 200 seedlings in a tray,” says Dallas, “ranging in price from 10 cents to $1.50 per seedling, and we’re regularly providing anything from five to ten thousand, even up to 30,000 seedlings per customer, per delivery, so it’s important to take care of the cargo.”
Bitten by the bug
“I got bitten by the Mack bug when I was eleven years old—I saw an old B-Model,” says Dallas. “I bought one when I was 17 and spent a lot of time, effort and money tidying it up. She’s still registered and working today and she pays her way.”
The most recent addition to the Fabian fleet is a brand-new Mack Granite configured as a rigid day cab with a 9-metre Tautliner.
The Granite is fitted with the mDRIVE automated manual transmission and an MP8 500 horsepower engine, all configured with the Gold Bulldog all-Mack powertrain. The truck is 12.4 metres long overall and has room for 14½ pallets.
Easier on the arm
Like many manual drivers, Dallas was sceptical about the new gearbox at first, but he soon warmed to the mDRIVE.
“I swore I’d never buy an automatic,” he says, “but it’s beautiful to drive, and most of all very smooth. I wouldn’t cart seedlings in the old Super-Liner anymore, they’d be rattled around too much, but with the Granite on airbag suspension everything arrives in place.”
And more to come
As a dedicated Mack fan, Dallas sees a bright future for Macks in the Fabian Farm fleet.
“Overall I think Mack’s the best truck on the road quality-wise,” he says, “and the technology in them has improved amazingly. As someone who regularly steps from a 1958 B-Model to a 1986 Super-Liner and then into a 2014 Granite, I can tell you, there’s been a big step forward. I’ll probably run my Super-Liner for twelve or eighteen months and then I’ll look at buying a new Super-Liner,” says Dallas, “either way, my next truck will definitely be a Mack: they’re the best truck out there.”