Brockway Rescue, April 23, 2010
By Dan Renovetz
Shortly after the first of the year, I began hearing from a younger ATHS acquaintance in New York about a Brockway in Michigan that needed to be rescued. I first met this New York man, Dave Mueller, at a fuel stop in Salamanca, New York while returning to Ohio from the Marlboro, Mass. ATHS convention in 1990. He was traveling with Don and Jean Thrasher who also had been at the Marlboro show. It was a coincidence that we all stopped at this fuel stop at the same time returning home from this convention.
It turned out that Dave was a student at Ohio Diesel Tech, had been working at Cleveland Mack and being a devout Brockway fan, had gone to Burton to look at a neat Brockway dump owned by Mike Hill. One thing led to another and Dave met Don and helped him change a cylinder head on Don's Autocar to get it running.
It turned out that Dave’s home was in Delhi, New York. just 60 miles from my roots. so naturally a friendship started and I visited with him and his parents several times over the years. (Note: Jan and I still visit with Dave and his family, wife Carolynne and daughters, Stella and Camille when we go back to our woodlot in upstate NY). When Dave mentioned that he was stopping at Thrasher’s in late April on his way to Michigan, I volunteered to help him if need be. Date for trip coincided with Lakeside Sand and Gravel's open house which we both wanted to attend. I met Dave at 5 am. on April 23rd at I 480 and Ridge Road, hopped in his semi with detachable gooseneck trailer. A nice ride west along Rt. 2, then up through the dreaded Detroit traffic to Warren,Michigan. The Brockway owner had given Dave great directions and we arrived in a residential neighborhood where the 1974 Brockway 360 had been lounging the past several years. It turned out that the 83 year old second owner retired the 4 axle dump truck less than 2 years ago when he stopped hauling stone after several decades. The owner had the truck running when we arrived and after introductions, Dave proceeded to separate the gooseneck from the trailer. It turned out that there was a spare engine to be loaded on the tailboard of the trailer first. Fortunately the seller had a pretty stout Ford tractor loader to load the Cat 1693 double overhead cam engine. During this time, a crowd had appeared from various residences up and down the street and I asked a couple of ladies to pose “1970‘s style“ perched on the hood of Dave’s semi (Note: Who else but Dan would go to this extreme!!). It reminded me of the Overdrive magazine cover pictures and other truck advertisements of that era. After that, we proceeded to chain down the dump truck, reconnect the trailer and head back to Ohio.
It was a nice experience to ride in Dave’s 1972 Brockway 361, rescue the 1974 Brockway dump truck and spare engine, all with the original 425 horse 1693 legendary Cat engine. Trip eastbound was uneventful until I got dropped off at Ridge Road ramp to walk back to my pickup. The heavens opened and I got soaked in the sudden downpour BUT it was all worth it. I even made it to Lakeside the next day!!