Who is Robb Mariani?
Before I could walk, my parents had a motor home and would take me and
my brothers and sisters all over the USA during the late 60's &- mid
80's. My earliest memories were of being on the US Interstates and
seeing all the "golden era" big rigs on the road - not to mention seeing
them parked at the truck stops. Something struck a chord deep in my
soul. The trucks were so unique. Each one was different from the next
and seemed to take on an identity of power and freedom. Each truck
driver I would see was like seeing a super hero &- their rig was their
I began drawing at a very early age - somewhere around 4. I developed an
inclination for pleasing an audience through artistic expression, and
drawing diesel trucks was always my first choice, namely because it was
all I had on my mind.
In my boyhood years, I developed an insatiable appetite for scale model
building. My main passion was for big rig kits, as I wanted to be a
trucker when I "grew up." I would work for my Grandma - save newspapers
and aluminum cans from her tavern, mow lawns, paint garages &- whatever I
could in order to finance the big rig model kits I had to have. Each one
became an extension of my "over-the-road" desires. Kenworths,
Peterbilts, White Freightliners, Internationals, Macks &- I had my own
fleet and could see myself driving them all over the nation.
In high school, I received recognition for one of my pencil drawings. It
was published in a state calendar (one of twelve winning entries). I
also earned honors for numerous art contests from around my home state
of Wisconsin, and even got in a national competition in New York City. I
liked being competitive in the creative arts, and strived for more.
After high school, I studied graphic design for three years in college.
When I was in school, I got a job at a local trucking company as a
loader &- a job I hated, yet loved! I once had a load of glass fall off a
truck and smash over my head! I thought I was going to die, I'll never
forget it! Working on a dock is serious business. The main reason I
wanted that job was the high wage it paid, and the chance to be around
all the trucks! I was taught how to drive the rigs in order to hook up
the tractors to the correct trailers for loading. The first truck I ever
drove was a 1975 Mack Cruiseliner with a 300 Maxidyne and a 5 speed. I
thought I was Cool in that cab over Mack!
Needless to say, my plans for becoming a trucker took an exit. I
followed my art skills and made it my career, but never lost my fervor
for American big rigs.
With the advent of the internet, I found myself scouring every site or
chat room in search of my favorite trucker films, truck pictures, truck
stories, trucker items &- you name it, I went after it! But then I
decided that the pictures and information were no longer enough.
Considering that I loved the movie White Line Fever from 1975 and the
"Blue Mule" Ford cab-over that co-starred along with Jan Michael
Vincent, I set my sights on finding that movie truck, or one just like
it. Why? I was not a trucker, I did not own a trucking company, but it
did not matter - I needed a Ford W Series big rig! Years went by and I
found one for sale in Tennessee and bought it! I guess I just wanted to
restore the truck in order to preserve a portion of my childhood.
Considering that the trucking industry had changed so dramatically from
my motor home traveling days, somehow that old truck called to me. I'm a
renaissance man for the golden era of American Trucking. Old trucks
sitting in a field once played a vital role in the lives of American
families. Someone once designed the trucks; people were employed to
build the trucks; someone made a living selling the trucks; truckers
took out a loan to purchase the trucks. Countless hours were spent
driving the trucks, delivering untold amounts of goods to untold
destinations &- most of it completely anonymously. The stories of the
truckers that maintained the trucks mile after mile go on and on.
Perhaps one of those old rigs now sits and rusts? I (and thousands of
others that feel the way I do about trucks) wanted to do something to
preserve those old road ghosts &- those old American big rigs and all the
stories of the American Trucker.