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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingJune 21 - June 27, 2017

Candy Graphics for 'Nightmare'

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By George L. Nitti

"Some trucks are better seen in person than they are through pictures," said graphic designer Tom Spangler of Redding, Calif.-based Tom Cat Graphics.

That may be the case with a candy-colored truck owned by Premier Towing of Anderson, Calif.

"When you see it in person, you will see its vibrancy, like the candy apple it got its name from," said Spangler.

Not only do pictures sometimes fail to convey brightness and vibrancy; sometimes the truck itself fails to communicate the painstaking process involved in bringing its graphics to fruition.

Over a four-month period, Spangler used a candy-coat technique he acquired from his interest in art and hot rods to help transform what was at first an all-black 2015 Dodge 5500 with a Chevron 408 TA Self-Loader into a work of art.

"It was first sprayed a base coat of maroon, after being pulled apart," Spangler said. "Then I received it and went to work on the process. Each area was taped off and sprayed with a silver metallic paint. Finally, the candy colors were added, giving the truck its eye-popping appearance."

Rob Lien, the owner of Premier Towing, was instrumental in the design process, giving Spangler his vision for the truck.

"I wanted something different," said Lien, "and took it to my friend Tom. Candy graphics are unlike anything else because you have to get it right the first time you do it. You can't touch it up. It's a one-shot deal."

Unlike the flames that are a popular theme throughout the industry, candy-coated designs are a rarity.

"This was no easy task," Lien said. "There's a lot that goes into this. The truck gets stripped and painted with the base coat. Then the graphics are sprayed, then back to the body shop for clear coat and reassembly."

This truck's stellar graphic design stands out for a couple of other reasons, such as the abstract design on the hood and the side that covers part of the flames. Also attracting attention are the chrome-plated wrecker elements and the polished Alcoa wheels.

Lastly, at the back of the wrecker, you will find an airbrushed painting of a skeleton pulling at its head.

"It's an inside joke," said Lien. "The truck's called 'Nightmare.' "

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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!

Classical Themes

0 eec56By George L. Nitti

When Larry L. Perez, owner of Larry Perez Signs and Graphix in Round Rock, Texas, was offered the project to wrap Temple Towing's mighty Peterbilt 359/Century 60-ton rotator, he said the vision came to him in about five minutes, as the company name "Temple" conjured visions of the Roman Coliseum and Greek temples.

Starting with that idea and inspired by favorite period movies like "Braveheart" and others, Perez constructed a classically themed design to turn heads and captivate.

"That's how the shield came about," Perez said, referring to the large shield on the side of Temple's unit that serves as the company logo. "It started as a clip art. I gave it a metalized look as I was reminded of swords and warriors. I wanted it to really stand out. You will also see rubies in the shield."

The choice of a chiseled font for the "Temple Towing" along the side fits perfectly with this classical theme. Perez turned to a unique serif from "Lord of the Rings" that conveys power and serves as the primary font on the unit. An enlarged "T" on both words adds distinction.

On the unit's side is a smaller altered version of the same font bent into an arching shape adding contrast; a more elegant tertiary font on the front side adds a unique touch.

"You begin with a primary font," Perez said, "then you can put four or five different fonts together as you continue downward from primary to secondary."

Although the T-Wrecks dinosaur font on the boom was a departure in terms of a traditional, classical look, it adds a second level to this design that even surprised Perez.

"I wasn't sure about the dinosaur thing going on there, but you might say that it connects to Greek mythology. You will discover a dragon skin under that lettering."

The choice of the white, black and burgundy colors defines the body of this wrecker and was rooted in Perez's consciousness, all part of what he calls "the forensics" of his art form.

Drawing on his understanding of complementary colors that work well together, the influence of certain colors that attract money and the football colors of Texas Tech figured into this truck's anatomy.

Perez attributes his success to his formative years as a sign painter where he learned his craft working for his uncle at age nine; he's kept at it for 48 years, putting in 16-hour days.

"I've got a couple of guys that work for me with Master's Degrees in graphic design that help bring together the commercial with graphic art," Perez said. "I also learn by looking at what others are doing out there and the many designs that I see. I find one good one in a hundred and keep trying to step it up a notch in my own work.

"As they say, you are only as good as your last picture."

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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