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Trucking Aficionado

18-Jul-2011

American Trucker host parlays childhood passion into customized role

July 1, 2011  | by: Randy Grider


Who is trucking’s biggest fan? Arguably, Robb Mariani would be a shoe-in for the title. His energy and enthusiasm for trucks, truckers and the trucking lifestyle are unmatched.

Robb Mariani bought his 1974 Ford W9000 a few years ago in Tennessee. He initially wanted to build a replica of the "Blue Mule" truck in homage to the 1975 film White Line Fever but says he may go with another color scheme.

 Within a minute of pulling in the lot of Bill’s Truck Repair in Sanford, Fla., Mariani is showing off his pride and joy, a black 1974 Ford W9000. But his enthusiasm isn’t limited to his personal property. He is just as pumped as he introduces me to the shop’s owner, Bill Goolsby, and chief mechanic, Lew Bailey. He chats about the trucks in the shop for repairs and shows me the back lot of older trucks and trailers.

While Mariani, host (and one of three executive producers) of television series American Trucker on the Speed Channel, isn’t a trucker or a certified diesel mechanic, his passion for all things trucking is well received. Truckers seem pleased to have someone carrying the torch for them, and American Trucker has been picked up for a second season with new shows airing this month.

So how did the 43-year-old interior designer and artist become the chief ambassador for trucking? Well, it’s not exactly a straight path to overnight success. Just like a trucker who shows up for delivery across the country, Mariani traveled a road chock-full of curves and obstacles.

Mariani credits Truckers News’ sister publication Overdrive magazine, trucking movies like White Line Fever and Smokey and the Bandit and an adventurous upbringing as the foundation for his love of trucking.

“Growing up in Milwaukee, I had a grandfather who drove for Schlitz and another grandfather who drove for Gateway and Yellow,” Mariani says. “One of my grandfathers had a subscription to Overdrive that I read religiously and that fueled passion for trucks and truckers. That was my inspiration.”

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