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

'Pretty Black Tow Trucks'


Since 1985, S&R Towing, with eight locations in northern San Diego County, Calif., has evolved significantly, now with 40 trucks in its extensive fleet. At the recent Tow Industry Week at the American Towman ShowPlace-Las Vegas, S&R showcased one of their newer heavy-duty black trucks, a 2012 Peterbilt with a Century 1040 rotator in the wrecker pageant.

Their all-black trucks have made a huge impact.

"Everybody knows us as the company with the black tow trucks. When we started out, everyone had a white truck. As a AAA-preferred provider, we were encouraged to adopt their blue-and-white image, but we decided to stick to our black colors," Russell said. "One AAA representative even said, 'You guys are the ones with the pretty black tow trucks.' "

It's a beautiful all-black truck with a strong logo that stands out above the rest.

"The logo started as an airbrushed S&R and changed throughout the years to a hand-painted one, evolving into what it is today with an arch in it," said owner Rusty Russell. "We found that the silver has the look that we were trying to get from the gold, and the blue stripe is reflectorized. [At] night, it just lights up."

"Pretty black tow trucks" are only part of the success story of S&R's journey from a one-truck operation. One key factor to their success was innovation.

"Like everybody in the business, it's an every-day challenge. You have to change with the times and be innovative," said Russell. "In early '90s, we were the only company in the area that had mobile data terminals in the trucks, working off of an 800 two-way radio. I could see back then that if I could get each truck to do one more tow a day, it would be cost-effective to purchase that kind of a system."

Russell keeps a hands-on involvement with the company.

"By getting into the truck, my employees can count on me to assist, knowing that I've got their back. They know they are not going to be working alone, which creates a tighter bond between us," Russell said.

S&R may be back to AT ShowPlace-Las Vegas next year.

"Vegas is a good place to have a show because there is so much to do outside of a tow show," Russell said. "If you want to bring your family, you can, because there are other things the family can do."

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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!

Stellar Wrap Makes Unit Pop!

0 821baBy George L. Nitti

In July 2015, Autohaus Towing of Sherwood, Ore., brought their silver-based 2000 Kenworth W900/ Holmes DTU to wrap specialist PDX Wraps.

According to PDX Communication Liaison Alex Hanlon, "Wraps have really started to hit the mainstream. Today, it is insane what you can do. Your possibilities are endless."

Hanlon was referring to the wide variety of color films and reflective lettering that are available, the larger printing formats such as the 64"-wide printer, cutting-edge software and a new breed of graphic designers who have embraced new technology.

The red, white and black wraps created for Autohaus are stunning examples of cutting-edge technology.

"When they came to us they wanted something clean and sharp, industrial-like," Hanlon said.

Part of the design process drew on the taste of Autohaus owner Keith Fisher, who brought in some photos of muscle cars and old-school hot rods he's owned in the past.

"There's a scalloped effect we created at the front end of the Kenworth which pulls your eye towards it," Hanlon said, "just like in the sharp lines you will find on race cars."

In the powerful and gigantic diagonal logo of Autohaus on the sides of the unit, "the edges are beveled making it look 3-D," Hanlon said. "What also makes it unique is that we welded the 'T,' 'H,' and 'O' together. You are not going to miss it when towing a motor home. You can see the unit a mile away."

A brushed texture effect, reflective lettering around the logo and complementary colors also help this unit pop.

Visibility of graphics should be a key consideration for anyone wrapping their units.

"Small businesses are difficult to advertise," Scanlon said, "but your tow trucks can get thousands of impressions out on the road, multiplied by the number of trucks you have in your fleet. Over time, people will call because they have seen your truck and remember it."

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.