Superliner and Convoy
One question that has always been unanswered publicly
was why Mack chose to promote the RS700L long
hood western conventional in Convoy as opposed to
the new Superliner RW700 that debuted in 1978. The
simple reason is that in early 1977 when the trucks were
cast and Convoy was filmed, Mack did not even have a
Superliner on the drawing board.
Brockway, a wholly owned subsidiary of Mack, was in the midst of trying
times due to the economy, the truck market and the onslaught of
development costs due to a series of new federal regulations, including the
"121" anti-lock brake fiasco. Brockway was always a direct competitor for
Mack, pitting the two lines often in a bitter battle for east-coast clients. In an
effort to compete with Mack on its west coast, Brockway began developing
a series of designs that refined their traditionally rugged tractor into a more
western style conventional. Having already started an effort to promote their
assembly, Brockway looked to make an even more bold statement by
replacing their Mack-cabbed Model 760 and 761 conventionals with a new
design called the "Super-Liner". This truck would be the direct competitor to
the Mack Western RS700L.
Amidst this development process, Brockway was stricken with a crippling
labor dispute, effectively closing the Cortland, NY factory. With the
exception of the close-out of a final order for overseas, Brockway ceased
production in February 1977. Although several attempts were made to sell
the company, they all ultimately fell through and Mack closed Brockway for
good in the summer of 1977, liquidating the assets.
One concept that Mack didn't liquidate, however, was the Super-Liner. Mack
engineers quietly took the nearly complete prototypes and adopted them as
their own. Although the set-back axle (761) Super-Liner was not carried
forward, Mack adopted the set forward axle Super-Liner (760) virtually
unchanged as the Mack Superliner RW700. Using the squared-off upper
cowl from Brockway and box-shaped hood, Mack made only subtle tweaks
to the design. The biggest advantage of the Super-Liner was the ability for
the larger hood to accomodate larger radiators needed for the 450+hp
diesels of the late 1970's. The RS700 could not accomodate the cooling
needed and was therefore limited in its powerplant choices.
Mack had already made the decision to not re-insert the Brockway after the
unscripted crash in Bernalillo. By the time the Super-Liner take over was
underway, filming Convoy had already been largely completed and replacing
the RS700L with a new prototype Mack Superliner RW700 was out of the
question. Mack had rigorously pursued Convoy as a national and
international marketing tool, but they soon realized that their new high-profile
western truck was nowhere to be seen in the film. Consequently, Mack made
a concerted effort to insert images of the new RW700 Superliner into
promotional materials and product tie-ins wherever possible.
In the end, thanks to the demise of Brockway, Mack wound up putting
significant effort into showcasing a truck that would no longer be able to be
ordered by the very customers they were showcasing the truck to. As some
salvage, however, the appearance of the 60" Able Body sleeper in the movie
caught a significant amount of attention, prompting frequent use of the 60"
Able Body on Mack Superliners prior to its official inclusion as a catalog item.