ThrowBack Thursday: 1970s Trucking Films

Happy Thursday Trucking Nation. The week is almost to an end, and it’s a holiday weekend coming up, so I know you are excited about that. Before your Memorial Day celebrations kick off, join me for this week’s ExpressTruckTax Throwback Thursday!

It’s trucking history that never ends, and I really think you will enjoy this trip, we’re going back to the 70s. You read it right truckers, we’re going back to the decade that launched the trucking industry in to main stream popularity. With a little help from Hollywood, and Jerry Reed, a trucker became a symbol for the new American Outlaw. And what two films brought trucking life to movie theaters around the world?

Can’t you already hear the theme song starting to play? This magical addition to cinema history was debuted in 1978. In this film “Rubber Duck” – along with his fellow truckers “Pig Pen” and “Spider Mike”, are entrapped by unscrupulous Sheriff Lyle “Cottonmouth” Wallace using a CB radio. As “Rubber Duck” and his fellow truckers go on the run to New Mexico, they are joined by other truckers to follow their convoy as a show of support. The main truck driven by our hero, Rubber Duck,was a 1977 Mack RS-712LST. There were 2 other Macks used in filming – the ’73 Mack RS-797LST and the Mack RS731LST.

“Convoy” Fun Facts:
– The truck used for the shootout scene on the bridge had been damaged so badly, that it broke down right before filming and had to be pushed across the bridge by a bulldozer to finish the scene.
– After Rubber Duck and Pig Pen’s trucks crashed through the jail, the grill guard on Rubber Duck’s truck is missing. It mysteriously came back for the end of the movie.
– Trucker convoys were created due to the 55 mph speed limit that was enforced on US Highways. As a result, multiple trucks started driving together at a higher speed, thinking that the police speed traps would only be able to pull over one (if any) of the trucks.

scene from Convoy
A scene shot from the beginning of “Convoy”. photo credit: berglitruckstop

“Convoy” wasn’t the only major motion picture to tell the story of an American Trucker. One other movie brought together a great theme song, and amazing action stunts…”Smokey and The Bandit”!

“Smokey and The Bandit”
The entire nation in 1977 fell for this action comedy where the good guys out run Sheriff Buford T. Justice to win the dare proposed by Big and Little Enos in epic trucker style, and do some pretty awesome car chases in between. Snowman (Jerry Reed) drove his ’73 Kenworth W-900A with his trusty dog, Fred to claim trucker glory in the final scene and “do what they say can’t be done”.
Every year for Thanksgiving when I get together with my family in Tennessee, we watch “Smokey and The Bandit” and my grandfather retells his favorite trucking stories from his trucker days with this ending line, “If I had bandit as my partner, I would have never been pulled over.” 

smokey and the bandit truck
                                                                                                                     photo credit: 18wheelbeauties

Well, it’s time to leave this 70s throwback, I know it’s sad. The 70s were such a great time for trucking in pop culture. I really enjoy seeing Mack and Kenworth trucks from that era. Be sure to come back, you never know where we will go next. For more ThrowBack Thursday excitement, check out more of our special edition blogs:

ThrowBack Thursday: National Transportation Week 
ThrowBack Thursday: Trucking in the 1950s

ThrowBack Thursday: Mid America Trucking Show


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