By Fred Hendricks Note: This feature is in the March TT&C 2014 issue.
Michael is holding two of his favorite customized model truck tractors.
This large collection of scale model trucks is smartly displayed in Michael’sTrucking garage. Display shelves go from floor to ceiling. Available wall space is adorned with license plates from all 50 states and truck memorabilia.
This 1939 Peterbilt Model 360 with diesel power was originally by Franklin Mint. It started as a stake body truck with the bed removed. The entire outfit is finished out in 1:32 scale.
A special tractor-trailer in Michael Alamorian’s trove is this 1973 Dodge Big Horn cab mounted to a First Gear 1:34 scale Kenworth bullnose frame. This replica shows the original paint scheme offered by Dodge.
As they say in the trucking business, “Once a trucker, always a trucker.” And so it is with Michael Alamorian, a trucker for life. For Michael, trucking began at a young age. “My early play toys were Tonka and Hubley trucks. They took a beating under heavy play in the yard. Many did not survive. I especially liked the Winross trucks with realistic and popular common carrier logos. I complained to my dad because they lacked detail. A few basic features, including; windows, exhaust and breather stacks along with mud flaps would have made them more realistic. Dad stopped buying those and switched to Motorific models. These trucks were cool as they had realistic F-700 Mack COE and Gindy exterior post van trailers. As a kid, trucks were my favorites, for which I had many. Trucks that survived those youthful workdays in the yard have been passed along to my children. I still have several Hess trucks in mint condition. They were gifts from my parents and now stored away in safekeeping,” Michael reflected. His discretionary taste at this young age would serve Michael well late in life. Those long playful hours operating toy trucks became Michael’s passion for the road beasts that transport our country’s goods. Michael commented, “While still quite young, my neighbor, John Pagano, hauled steel with a 1970 Mack Model R700L Western and composite Transcraft flatbed trailer. This well-equipped rig was all black with a red frame and running gear. It had a polished aluminum Mercury sleeper, a 500-hp V-8 Mack engine and a 16-speed Spicer transmission with New Way air ride. I always admired John’s truck and often helped wash it on weekends. Finally, on my 13th birthday, John took me on a trip to Chicago. With that experience, I was hooked on trucks for good. John later taught me how to drive his truck.
Hobby Launch Although Michael had a deep passion for trucks, he would never have dreamed of a hobby with highly customized replicas. “As an admirer of large commercial trucks I began assembling 1:25 scale styrene plastic truck models. My first kit was a Peterbilt Model 359 made by AMT in 1969. I faithfully collected and assembled AMT kits until 1978 when Monogram released the 1:32 scale Snaptite replica truck line. I next transitioned into 1:34 scale die-cast trucks built by First Gear. With their high detail, these became nicer display models. “My current collection numbers over 450 pieces, primarily First Gear units. When First Gear’s new tooling releases began to slow in 2009, I switched to customizing their stock units. I typically disassemble the First Gear truck and swap parts to replicate actual trucks I had driven or worked around,” he stated.
Want to read the rest of the story? It's available in the March TT&C 2014 magazine! Download here: MARCH TT&C 2014