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MDOT holds media event highlighting first responder safety
Creativity and eccentricity are the themes of this unit
Are you holding your own against the industry changes?
Towman gets ’em to the church on time
Capacities of 16-20,000 lbs. allow lifts to service most trucks
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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingNovember 14 - November 20, 2018

A Carnival of Fun

ill.12.4.13By GEORGE L. NITTI

In the year 2000, Michael Risoldi of Risoldi's Automotive, located in East Hampton and Trenton, N.J., bought a red 14-ton wrecker with flames on it.

"One of my competitors said the flames made the truck look clownish. Then he said that I looked like a clown," Risoldi said.

That comment led to an idea. Soon, Risoldi came up with his new brand. He's purchased several trucks since and adds clowns to them.

"We were trying to figure out what to do with our trucks. That comment stuck with me," said Risoldi.

In 2006, he went to American Towman's Baltimore Exposition and became interested in one of the trucks entered in the American Wrecker Pageant. The truck had a graphic of the Hulk on it. At the time it wasn't for sale, but Risoldi wanted it and waited patiently, eventually purchasing the truck in 2011 from its previous owner.

"We really didn't know how we were going to pay for it. We had it for a while before a tire blew out and did a lot of damage to the hood. So we ended up redoing the entire truck. Out of that came the new graphics, which were airbrushed. Building the new graphics around the old image of the Hulk, the truck became the 'Freak Show.' "

Currently it's a featured truck in BAFF, an automotive calendar circulated to motor shops across the country. It was also recently a third-place winner in the rotator class at the American Wrecker Pageant.

Clowns and freak shows go hand-in-hand, their escapades best found at the circus. On Risoldi's truck, a 2006 Kenworth T800 with an NRC 50/65 sliding rotator, the circus is the setting with the Hulk taking center stage. On one side, he is depicted as being controlled by the ringleader. On the other, he has broken free.

There are other graphics depicting a carnival scene as well as eerie graphics of abandoned amusement parks. The custom blue and green colors stand out against the white background of the truck. On the hood you will find the orange flames that resemble a clown.

You also discover the quote, "Still giving them something to talk about," and the name of the truck, "The Freak Show," on the rotator equipment. Risoldi's name looms large going up the full length of their enormous boom.

Their ain't no clowning around when it comes to heavy-duty work.

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Should your truck be featured here? Send a few pics and your contact information to the editor at You might even be selected to go in print, too, in American Towman magazine!


0-towcasso5 copy 98312By George L. Nitti

Tow truck restoration rarely crosses the threshold of functionality into the realm of abstract art. However, a vintage restoration eight years ago by Herrera's Towing and Recovery of Vidor, Texas, does just that: going beyond the conventional into the truly idiosyncratic.

Their 1962 Chevrolet pick-up with a homemade wrecker body built in-house, was a first-place winner at the Tow Expo-Dallas in August, and could be characterized as a work of art.

Owner Ronnie Herrera said, "It's called the 'Rat Wrecker' or 'Rat Rod'. It's like a Picasso. My daughter calls it TowCasso."

The unique design was inspired by Herrera's long-abiding interest in hot rods and antique restoration.

At its core is what Herrera said are "pieces here and pieces there and a lot of little bitty things."

Many of the pieces are welded on and comprise a hodgepodge of memorabilia and other assorted oddities.

Being a Texas-bred tow company, the longhorns, plow and sombrero are some of the symbols on the hood and front of the unit that stand out.

The restoration also contains a stainless-steel crowbar that holds ample lighting. It includes a couple of fire engine lights and a megaphone. In another broad stroke of creativity and eccentricity, the hood is glued to the back of the wrecker body while a beer cake serves as the fuel tank.

"It's old school, vintage-type stuff," Herrera said. "It's not something we use, but it's operable. If I had to pick something up, I could--but I wouldn't want to."

The restoration is custom-painted in black and blue, coated with an old-style brush stroke called patina, giving it an effect of fading and aging. Colorful pin stripes add accent around the bright orange "Herrera" name standing out on the side.

Part marketing, part fun, it is frequently entered in car shows and parades and wows audiences with its spectacle of outlandishness.

"I enjoyed watching the responses of people who saw it at the tow show and scratched their heads and went 'Huh?'," Herrera stated. "My grandkids love to ride in it. They have a blast."

Brag @ TIW!
Should your truck be featured here? Send a few pics and your contact information to the editor at You might even be selected to go in print, too, in American Towman magazine!
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© 2018  Tow Industry Week/American Towman Media, Inc.