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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingDecember 06 - December 12, 2017
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Sporting a Fleet of Vintage Iron

0 09874By George L. Nitti

Wayne Plunske, founder of Plunske's Garage in Wallingford, Conn., purchased this red and black 1941 Dodge Power Wagon/Holmes 440 in 1959.

Plunske, who passed away in 2015, started the business in 1949, leaving his two sons Dan and Jim to carry on his legacy of collecting and maintaining a fleet of vintage tow trucks that continue to be used.

"My father started the towing business to bring cars into the garage for repair," Jim said. "As the towing business grew, he saw that it had a life of its own and kept adding to the fleet. He was one of the first to own a flatbed in '73."

Regarding the '41 Dodge, he said, "In the days before power lifts, hand cranks were used to lift the vehicles onto the trucks. By '65, the cranks were replaced by an early Holmes unit, and then again replaced in 1990 with the 440 where an electric front winch was added.

"It's a show piece," he said. "We had it in a vintage truck show in Bethlehem, Connecticut, this weekend. We loaded it on the bed of another one of our vintage trucks from 1987 and drove it there. You don't see a lot of 76-year-old trucks running around anymore."

With a fleet of 42 trucks, more than 20 of them are classics, enhancing their image and setting them apart from their competition.

"People think it's cool," Jim said of their vintage trucks. "Anybody can buy a new truck. These trucks are well taken care of, like kids."

His father's favorite was a 1955 Ford F-250.

"It was a wreck-chaser because it had a 390 Thunderbird engine," Jim said. "Back in the day, the first tow truck on scene got the work."

A couple of other classic units in their fleet includes a WWII-vintage 1941 Diamond T used for hauling tractors, which has two axles on the back, and a 1958 International with a 40-ton Weld-Built Boom.

The company takes pride in keeping their fleet in tiptop shape.

"My father was a Navy man," Jim said. "If it didn't move, he painted it. He always liked things painted and clean."

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