First time for everything: Bearing witness to Junior Elmore’s 1977 Marmon cabover

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Updated Jan 11, 2021

Trucker-photographer Don Christner is chronicling the past and present of rigs he found parked in the former small fleet yard of Junior Elmore in Cheyenne, Wyo.  The journey began in the post at this link.     

Among specs of this Marmon cabover is NTC 350 Cummins power. To start it the key was turned on and then you pushed a starter button.Among specs of this Marmon cabover is NTC 350 Cummins power. To start it the key was turned on and then you pushed a starter button.

I was 19 years old and fresh off the farm, on one of my first trips to Lincoln, Neb., in 1985. I pulled the W900 Kenworth into Shoemaker’s Truck Stop in Lincoln mostly just to look around. There was a really sharp Marmon conventional there. It was painted black with lots of chrome and the aluminum wheels were all polished.

Whoa, best looking truck there that day!

Then the guy driving it opened the passenger door and a really pretty woman with blond hair all the way down to her waist and a diamond ring as big as the Marmon got out. They were really sharp in that truck. There wasn’t anything like that on the farm.

Although I saw very few Marmon trucks, I was a fan after that. Junior Elmore’s Marmon caught my eye right off as I’d never seen a Marmon cabover in the flesh before. Up close, it’s easy to see why a Marmon cabover was used in the movie “Transformers: Age of Extinction” as the Autobot Optimus Prime.

Junior Elmore’s Marmon COE #31 HDT-BC-86 was Manufactured 03/1977 in Garland, TX. This is a complete truck with no parts taken off. Still running when parked in 1999. A good honest work truck that’s nicely spec’d out.Junior Elmore’s Marmon COE #31 HDT-BC-86 was Manufactured  03/1977 in Garland, TX.  This is a complete truck with no parts taken off.  Still running when parked in 1999. A good honest work truck that’s nicely spec’d out.

The unit has an air-operated fan clutch, a starting fluid assist system with a electric switch in the cab. External in-line engine block heater. The RTO 12513 13-speed transmission worked well behind the Cummins engine. 12,000-lb. steer axle, 38,000-lb. rears riding on a Neway air ride suspension. Holland air slide fifth wheel, aluminum bumper, 11-24.5 tires with steel bud wheels that are chrome plated (looked like they would still polish up nicely). Air conditioner up on the roof.

Another nice touch is a light placed in the toe hold step on both sides so the driver and passenger could see where to step to get in or out of the cab at night.

A tachograph (on the gauge panel right of the logo in the middle of the steering wheel) typically indicates the truck was formerly used in a large fleet to record the driver’s handling of engine RPMs. (I have seen a tachograph before but have never run one.) No tilt or telescope wheel here, but it was generally set about right. All trucks of yesteryear had a big steering wheel for torque to be able to turn, even trucks with power steering. The size of the steering wheel would just dominate the cab.A tachograph (on the gauge panel right of the logo in the middle of the steering wheel) typically indicates the truck was formerly used in a large fleet to record the driver’s handling of engine RPMs. (I have seen a tachograph before but have never run one.) No tilt or telescope wheel here, but it was generally set about right. All trucks of yesteryear had a big steering wheel for torque to be able to turn, even trucks with power steering. The size of the steering wheel would just dominate the cab. Birds have made a mess after getting in through the passenger side window, which was left rolled down about 3 inches. The information plate said this truck had an RTO 12513 transmission, but there was only a Hi/Low on the shifter with no splitter.Birds have made a mess after getting in through the passenger side window, which was left rolled down about 3 inches.  The information plate said this truck had an RTO 12513 transmission, but there was only a Hi/Low on the shifter with no splitter. Here you can see the air conditioner on the roof with part of the venting system running back into the sleeper to keep it cool. Everything is right there for the driver, just a really good layout.Here you can see the air conditioner on the roof with part of the venting system running back into the sleeper to keep it cool. Everything is right there for the driver, just a really good layout. This Marmon is all there. I was told that it was running when parked close to 20 years ago. It would be great to see it restored and running again!This Marmon is all there. I was told that it was running when parked close to 20 years ago. It would be great to see it restored and running again!

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