Good Mack from Waikanae

In Top Truck, October 20228 MinutesBy Craig McCauleyNovember 20, 2022

Mack Trucks has been dominant in the Kiwi heavy-haulage industry since it arrived under Motor Truck Distributors in 1972. Kapiti Coast contractor Goodmans has used the Bulldog breed to shift its civil- engineering machinery for almost 25 years.

Goodmans’ history goes back to the decade before Ron Carpenter took what could only be described as a bold move, establishing the Mack truck brand in New Zealand under his Motor Truck Distributors business.

In 1963, brothers Rick and Tony Goodman were running the family farm. Their father, who worked for the then-Ministry of Works housing division, mentioned the possibility of work being available on the construction of new subdivisions in nearby Cannon’s Creek, a suburb of Porirua.

With a true Kiwi can-do attitude, the brothers loaded their Fordson CD50 bulldozer onto a newly purchased Bedford truck and, in the same vein as Ron Carpenter would go on to do, set about building a business.

Marcello Giacon drives the Titan and enjoys heavy haulage.

Goodman Earthmovers grew during the ensuing years, amassing a fleet of machinery, working throughout the lower North Island. Contracts included major earthworks relating to the electrification of the North Island main trunk railway line.

In the mid-1990s, the company re-structured. Rick and his wife Helen bought out Tony, and the couple’s four children joined the business over time.

The current Goodman Contractors operation is owned by siblings Stan, Lance, Vaughan and Marianne (Archer) and operates more than 150 pieces of earthmoving machinery from its Waikanae base.

Until the late 1990s, the company used external operators to relocate its machinery. With the railway work in its heyday at this time, a lot of machinery needed to be relocated between sites and Vaughan says the cost nearly outweighed the job’s income at times.

One of the original 284kW (380hp) 3406A Caterpillar-powered Mack Super-Liners (owned originally by late Taupo trucking identity Denis Cronin) was purchased from its then-owner AF Porter.

Vaughan recalls taking his wife to collect the truck from Hamilton and her displeasure regarding the lack of comfort offered by the Super-Liner on the trip south.

The turn of the millennium heralded a new era in heavy haulage for Goodmans, with the Super-Liner replaced with a truck of similar historical significance.

Motor Truck Distributors built three special-edition Macks in 1997 to celebrate its 25th anniversary – an MH, a CH and a CL, the latter owned originally by McCarthy Transport Contractors.

Set up originally as a rigid tipper, the CL had been traded to Motor Truck Distributors and was on the lot in Palmerston North for sale.

Once in Goodmans’ ownership, it was shortened to a tractor unit and went to work in front of an MTE three-rows-of-four low-loader trailer for a while until the size of machinery dictated the purchase of a larger three-rows-of-eight trailer.

The TRT-built five-rows-of-eight trailer is well-suited for moving Goodmans’ largest motor scrapers.

Powered by Mack’s famed 429kW (575hp) E9 V8 engine, the CL served Goodmans well until the arrival of a new-generation Mack CLX 6×4 Super-Liner in mid-2013.

At the time, the company was heavily involved in the construction of the 18km expressway between MacKays Crossing, near Paekakariki, and Peka Peka. The new Super-Liner spent a fair proportion of its early life shifting machinery between worksites on the project.

A TRT five-rows-of-eight widening trailer was added to the Goodman arsenal in 2017. Coupled to the Super-Liner, and rated at 130-tonne GCM, the combination had the capacity to carry the company’s largest machines with ease.

Mack’s ‘big dog’, in the form of a CXXT 6×4 Titan, joined the CL and Super-Liner in 2020, purchased for its lower ratio gearing, heavier drive train and an increased GCM of 165 tonnes.

The Titan is certainly not short on thrust, with power and torque peaks of 511kW (685hp) and 3120Nm (2300lb/ft) produced by the Mack MP10 SCR Euro-5 engine. The combination of Mack’s TMD12AO23 mDRIVE transmission and an Eaton-Fuller two-speed ancillary transmission (‘joey box’) transmit the power to a 23,500kg-rated pair of 4.3:1 Dana D52-190 rear axles.

Goodmans’ philosophy regarding fitting the joey box was to make life easier on the clutch and when running gear in tight situations, soft ground conditions, and on steep hills, where the truck may have trouble getting moving with a decent load on.

Says Vaughan: “The Titan really crawls along in deep reduction. It gives you a lot of confidence operating the unit that you won’t end up stranded in an awkward spot.”

Operating the Titan is a man who has been around the Mack product in New Zealand since he was a youngster – Marcello Giacon.

Goodmans’ Caribbean Green livery is contrasted with plenty of polished stainless

Marcello spent plenty of time in the passenger’s seat of the Mack Ultra-Liners operated by his father, Lou, a well-known Mainfreight contractor from the Capital.

His own career began in an R-Model belonging to Paraparaumu trucking identity Clive Taylor. After a stint on one of Clive’s CHs he joined John Ray Ltd, piloting firstly an RB and latterly a Trident, before joining Goodmans.

Presentation is a hallmark of the Goodman operation, and it’s embodied all over the Titan. A King Bars Hume Metro bull bar and Bling Man stainless visor are fitted up-front, along with stainless air intakes, exhaust shrouds, and custom-made side skirts. They all contrast nicely against the unique Caribbean Green paintwork.

Practicality hasn’t gone amiss either. The 36-inch Mid- Rise sleeper features a rear window for enhanced visibility, VDO Kimax 1 load indicators help keep axle weights in check and lubrication is taken care of by a Groeneveld lube system.

New Zealand Trucking magazine went looking for something special in honour of MTD’s 50th anniversary – open this month’s Top Truck poster and enjoy.