By Tudor Van Hampton for PickupTrucks.com
What comes to mind when you think of a Mack truck? It’s big, it’s noisy and you better get out of its way, right?
For a short while prior to World War II, Mack ventured into lighter trucks that were less intimidating but tough enough to wear the chrome bulldog.
Enthusiasts usually talk about the Mack Jr., which was made in Lansing, Mich., by the Reo Truck Co. Between 1936 and 1938, Mack dealers sold 4,974 Reo-built trucks, ranging from one half- to two-and-a-half tons.
Few people know that Mack went on to build its own pickup. From 1938 to 1944, Mack produced 2,686 Model ED trucks, rated at three-quarter tons.
Less than 50 or so EDs are thought to exist. We spotted this 1938 last month at an exhibit for the Mack Trucks Historical Museum in Allentown, Pa. Owned by Gary Mahan of Basking Ridge, N.J., it wears Mack’s stock-green paint.
Costing about $600 new, a Mack ED today could fetch between $20,000 and $50,000, says Don Schumaker, the museum’s curator.
Designed to be tougher than other pickups, some EDs went into the hands of heavy-duty Mack users, while others were enlisted for the war. Art-deco touches included an aerodynamic grille, a box with rounded corners and teardrop fenders. For whatever reason, Mack decided to cancel production and focus on big trucks.
The ED came standard with a flathead straight-six, 209 cubic-inch, Continental engine rated at 67 horsepower. A 226 ci with 72 horses could also be had. Both used a three-speed or optional four-speed manual transmission.
Synchronized shifting? A fantasy.
The ED could typically haul more than three-quarter tons but not very quickly. Schumaker owns a dump-equipped ED that weighs 4,000 pounds and carries up to 7,000 gross. He is lucky to get it up to 50 mph.
“It’s a little bit better than a farm tractor,” Schumaker says, with a laugh. The ED was the lightest truck ever built by Mack, he notes.