Few names conjure up equal parts nostalgia, excitement and face pinching pain as Evel Knievel. Evel was one of the original stuntmen who brought epic scale drama to the casino crowd and fly over country alike.
Evel began in the entertainment business in 1966. He had a touring daredevil show that would thrill crowds before car races or during county and state fairs. He came to national attention when he persuaded the owners of Caesars Palace in Las Vegas to let him jump their fountain on New Year’s Eve 1967, which was filmed for ABC. Knievel entered history by botching the landing and treating the national TV audience to a horrifying wreck. The crash put him into a coma for 29 days, but he emerged to a new life of high spectacle entertainment and legions of adoring fans.
In his career heyday, Knievel’s nationally televised motorcycle jumps were four of the twenty most-watched ABC’s Wide World of Sports events to date.
Part of Evel Knievel’s spectacle was his custom touring rig. This 1974 Mack FS700L cabover was painted in Knievel’s signature red, white and blue stars and stripes, along with his big #1 logo appointed in large type on the back of the payload. Since Evel’s death in 2007, many of his more famous show biz tools went on to display in various museums and private collections. Knievel’s ’74 Mack now joins the ranks, as custom truck designer and restoration expert Brad Wike decided to patch up the old road warrior to put on proper display.
It’s a job that’s still being done currently. Wike says that the Mack truck has been in a Florida yard collecting about a foot deep’s worth of pine needles for more than 20 years.” But as of March 2012, he’s nearly finished.
So have a look at all he’s done. We’re sure you’ll be impressed. The video is courtesy of Overdrive Online.
Til next time, truckers!