An old star shines coast-to-coast

Updated Oct 27, 2010

1979 Transtarmarchinsideback2Montana6108 0071Owner-operator Mike Long delivers high-tech factory equipment and new machinery for factory upgrades from the Midwest to the Pacific Northwest. But the rig that hauls the high-tech gizmos is anything but new.

Long, a 40-year-old native and resident of Marion, Ind., told OverdriveRetro about restoring his 1979 IH Transtar 4070B nearly six years ago. He’s been driving the rig ever since on hauls going to 48 states. Long’s truck, on the right, is shown next to similar model, Transtar II, which was in a March 1979 Overdrive advertisement.

He comes by his passion for trucks naturally, being part of a three-generations trucking family. At age 5, he rode with his father, Dale Long, in his 1969 R Model Mack. “He drove for nearly 45 years,” Long says, noting that his dad was an owner-operator and later a company driver who taught him trucking skills. “It’s pretty neat because my dad drove for so long and it looks like I’m going to do the same thing.”

Long’s maternal grandfather, Adrian “Chick” Wolf, owned a Mack dealership in Marion in the 1960s and “was a real sharp mechanic,” Long says. In the 1960s, his great-uncle moved the dealership to nearby Kokomo, Ind., where it continues in operation.

Like his granddad, Long is a wrench-turner as well. As a high-school freshman, he worked afternoons and evenings five days a week as a truck mechanic. “I’d go to class with grease in my fingernails every morning,” he recalls. Leased to Landstar Ranger, he says he enjoyed restoring the ’79 Transtar. Among other custom work, he restored the truck’s wheelbase to its original 164 inches.

He’s read Overdrive a long time, too: “Those were my Bibles when I was growing up.”

Read the full story at Readers Remember on OverdriveRetro.