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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingAugust 16 - August 22, 2017

A Carnival of Fun at the Pageant

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!

Inspired by NASCAR

0 bb0dfBy George L. Nitti

Some tow trucks are harder to replace than others, especially as they get older and the make and models disappear from the marketplace. Fox City Towing of Appleton, Wis., has a 1999 Ford F-550/Vulcan 892 that falls into this category.

"It would be hard to find another one like it," said owner Nicholas Van. "After 18 years, they rust out and become harder to find."

This beautiful electric-blue unit was purchased in the south where the paint job was customized, and then brought back to Wisconsin where its clean and elegant appearance now turns heads.

"It's a workhorse and my oldest truck and that's why we keep it up pretty well," Van said.

The unique flames on the hood turn gold, purple or blue depending on the sun. Coated with a special DuPont paint called Chrome Illusion, the colors change in the light.

"I'm a huge Jeff Gordon NASCAR fan," Van related. "He had a race car and it was done up in a Chrome Illusion paint. I call this unit the 'Jeff Gordon Edition Tow Truck.' "

"Most tow trucks are not painted like that because it is absolutely expensive," said Van. "It's about 250 bucks for a quart of paint."

As a result, it catches most eyes.

"It's a pretty sharp looking truck," he said.

As for Fox City's logo and the quarter-like moon that sits just under it, that inspiration stemmed from Van's stock-car racing hobby.

"I race stock cars in Wisconsin," Van said. "I sponsor myself. I wanted something to fit under the corner panel and I used that logo design, which has carried over onto this truck."

Van has his MBA, and decided he enjoyed towing for a living and has stuck with it since he bought his father's company in 2015.

As a result of Van's business background and other factors, the company is growing beyond expectations. He said that the American Towman ShowPlace-Las Vegas in May will be one of the targets in growing his company.

"A lot is happening in a short period of time," Van said. "I'm reinvesting and buying more equipment. Now I'm looking for our first purchase of a heavy-duty truck."

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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© 2017  Tow Industry Week/American Towman Media, Inc.