Doggone it: This is a Tough Company
This is a company started by a teenage runaway that lasted long enough to become a cliché of the English language: “Built like a Mack truck.” How did it get that reputation?
Part of it is their enduring logo: an English Bulldog.
The best story of how the 1916 AC Mack truck first started that symbol: Allied soldiers in World War I who thought that year’s model resembled the flat nose and face of…
…An English Bulldog, which they saw during fighting in Europe.
Most truckers and non-truckers are familiar with the toughness and durability that led to the “Mack truck” cliché. But fewer perhaps have heard of the bulldog story.
The Encyclopedia Britannica says this about the dog reference more than a century ago:
“Legend has it that a British officer, trying to free an artillery piece that was mired in mud, coined the name ‘bulldog’ when he called out to a Mack driver, ‘Bring that bulldog over here.’ “
Mack management heard the story. Liked it. And in 1932, Mack began putting the bulldog emblem on the front of all trucks.
But the bulldog had other uses as well.
In the 1960s, in an apparent effort to raise morale, Mack started producing company products such as carpets, T-shirts and others.
Mack Trucks over its more than a century of existence have also been famed in the movies.
For example, the duck on the hood of Rubber Duck’s Kris Kristofferson, in the movie “Convoy.” And it was also a hood ornament on Stuntman Mike’s (Kurt Russell) car in Quentin Tarantino’s “Death Proof.”
But Mack has also played a part in America’s real life history, too, of course.
In addition to being part of the everyday language, it had a role in our present-day highway system.