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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingAugust 23 - August 29, 2017

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.

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!

Retro Style Design Marks Flatbed

0 3b2a5By George L. Nitti

One of the most basic elements of graphic design is that the lettering be clearly legible; a fact sometimes overlooked.

According to Dino Lawrence of Carolina Signworks in Rockingham, N.C., he often sees trucks compromised with lettering that can't be read.

"The whole point of lettering is that you are able to read it," said Lawrence. "That's one of the problems of many of the wrapped trucks that I see. You can't read the lettering."

With nearly 50 years as an experienced signmaker, his art and craft has evolved, as found on Rockingham Towing's 1996 International T444E with a Champion 19' flatbed.
"They came to me for original work and effects," Lawrence said. "Creative sign men are proficient at hand lettering."

The lettering on this unit clearly stands out as an example of originality, rooted in a form of art called "Jersey-style," popularized in the '60s and '70s.

"This style took off when California drag racers brought their race cars to the East Coast, where they were worked on in shops," Lawrence said. "They picked up on the lettering and it took off."

Lawrence described his own work on the International/Champion unit.

"The font is hand drawn and then worked on in Photoshop, where it is further developed through hours of editing and airbrushing," he said. "Today, too many of the fonts I see come out of font libraries, making everything look the same."

The finished lettering is then printed on top of reflective Scotchcal striping tape, and blends together with other elements of the unit's design; most notably the glossy warm yellow, orange, pink, blue and candy apple colors that are applied to the unit.

To create this, Lawrence draws on the House of Kolor pearl and candy effects that add depth and dimension.

"Using transparent inks on top of Scotch reflective tape mimics House of Kolor pearl and candy apple paint. Over the years my tools have expanded, blending techniques to make for a completely original design," Lawrence said.

The tribal flames on the front side of the unit further add to this retro theme while the fabricated hood—with the hot rod-like projectile—solidifies this compelling vintage design.

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.